Athens will buy French frigates despite US offer

End of suspense! Greece is going to buy three warships from France, Athens confirmed this Saturday, December 11, easing a potential new diplomatic-military dispute between France and the United States after the crisis fell on a sub-contract. The sailors.

“The Greco-French agreement is in force and will be continued. This was done at the highest level possible. This was announced by the Greek Prime Minister himself.”, a source in the Greek defense ministry told AFP, following similar statements from the French ministry of the military.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis concluded with great fanfare at the Elysee Palace on 28 September the nearly three billion euro contract believed to protect and strengthen European sovereignty, which is dear to France.

But the United States stoked trouble Friday by announcing that it had cleared the possible sale of four warships to Greece in competition with Paris.

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“We signed the contract”

This announcement briefly raised fears of a new crisis between Paris and Washington after the submarines.

The United States entered into a Security Partnership (AUKUS) with Australia and the United Kingdom in September, which led to the sale of 12 French submarines to torpedoes – described as “Contract of the Century” – for more than 30 billion euros to the Australian Navy.

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Paris quickly cleared the ground on Saturday, explaining that the sale of the frigate to Greece was set in stone, the US offer had ended and Washington had done nothing behind its back.

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“Since we are discussing with the Greeks, the US offer is no longer on the table. We also signed the contract with the Greeks. It started a few days ago.”, the French Ministry of the Army told AFP.

The French government also underlined that it had been informed this time before the US announcement, where it had almost directly explored the AUKUS alliance. “They wrote to us, told us” ,After AUKUS problem, under our good relations, we are warning you, ,, we told the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

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“There is no inclination (on their part) to go ahead”Paris assured. “What happened there was the result of an administrative process (of the proposal) that was clearly complicated for them to stop from an administrative point of view”,

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“Blow in the Back”

In addition to the possible sale of new buildings, the United States also approved the modernization of Greek frigates of the MEKO class, which is estimated at $ 2.5 billion. In both cases, the contract “The winner of an international tender will be awarded” On the modernization of the Greek Navy, then referred to the US State Department.

According to the Franco-Greek agreement, three defense and intervention frigates (called Belharra for export) are to be built in Lorient (West) by the Naval Group in France, to be delivered to the Greek Navy in 2025 and 2026. The former settlement also included an optional fourth frigate.

The AUKUS agreement covers the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra. Australia thus broke its contract with France for the delivery of conventional submarines, angering Paris.

France then condemned a “Blow in the Back” of his allies and recalled his ambassadors to the United States and Australia. US President Joe Biden has since acknowledged that the United States could have communicated better with its longtime ally. And in Rome in late October, he attempted to turn the page during a reconciliation meeting with the French president. The two heads of state then announced their intention to launch “A Strategic Dialogue on Military Trade”, especially on export authorizations.

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