Govt exploiting defense for political gain: Opposition

Balkans
Wed, 11 Jan 2023 9:25 GMT
Government has been accused by the country's main opposition party of exploiting defense issues for domestic political gain, local media reported.
Govt exploiting defense for political gain: Opposition

Government has been accused by the country's main opposition party of exploiting defense issues for domestic political gain, local media reported.

The government of the conservative Nea Dimoktratia (ND) party must realize that being a "predictable ally" of the United States would neither solve the country's problems nor serve its interests, the main opposition SYRIZA-PS in a statement, the Left.gr news website reported.

Dismissing recent remarks by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos that the previous SYRIZA government in 2015-2019 did nothing to improve Greece's defense capabilities, the statement said many steps had been taken during that period, including the start of efforts to modernize the country's F-16 fighter jet fleet.

Stressing that it would respond to government propaganda with "arguments, facts and numbers," the party said: "We expect and hope that bravery, honesty and responsibility will prevail. No demagogic expediency will be tolerated by us on any issue and especially on national defense matters."

Meanwhile, Rizospastis, the official newspaper of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), claimed on Sunday that the U.S. had accelerated work to make its deployments at the Larissa Air Base in central Greece permanent.

U.S. military authorities recently issued tender notices to expand Washington's presence at the base, it stressed, warning that such developments could make Greece a target of rival imperialist centers.

Greek lawmakers ratified a revised version of the U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) on May 12.

The deal permits the U.S. to use the Georgula Barracks in Greece's central province of Volos and the Litochoro Training Ground and army barracks in the northeastern port city of Alexandroupoli (Dedeağaç), along with the naval base in Souda Bay in Crete, which the U.S. has operated since 1969.

The MDCA, first signed in 1990, has been renewed multiple times, with the last extension in 2019.

It was previously subject to annual renewal but later amendments allowed for five-year extensions.

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