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Greece, France to sign defense deal amid tension with Turkey in Mediterranean

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Greece will sign a wide-ranging defense deal with France in the coming months, the two countries’ defense ministers said on Monday, after a similar agreement was made between Athens and Washington, the Greek City Times news website reported.

“We have decided to reinforce bilateral defense and security cooperation in a very significant manner,” French Defense Minister, Florence Parly told reporters after talks with her Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, in Athens.

The agreement, which is expected to be signed by June, will include joint naval and land exercises, defense industry cooperation and an “increased” French naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, Panagiotopoulos said.

Parly also stated that France would stand by Greece and Cyprus, supporting them in their disputes with Turkey over maritime zones in the Mediterranean.

Tensions between Greece and Turkey are at a peak due to a number of issues ranging from maritime boundaries in the Aegean Sea to Turkey’s drilling off the coast of Cyprus.

“France intends to stand by Greece and help it to confront multiple tensions in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean,” Parly told the To Vima newspaper.

She added that French President, Emmanuel Macron was clear when he said after meeting with with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in late January that Paris and Athens were set to strengthen their defense cooperation.

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