Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Monday announced plans for a second, reinforced naval base at Souda Bay in Crete, as well as the ratification of two agreements with the United States on a mutual fuel supply program for the air force and navy.
“This is in our plans, both because it is dictated by circumstances but also because our country must have a presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. For this happen, the Crete Naval Base needs to be upgraded and strengthened,” Panagiotopoulos said, adding that an amendment of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between Greece and the United States is expected in the next few days.
Briefing Parliament’s defense and foreign affairs committee at the ministry in Athens, Panagiotopoulos said that the issue of the new naval base is believed to have been the subject of discussions in the northern port city of Thessaloniki between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who will be visiting the US naval base at Souda Bay on Tuesday – and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“The Americans assign enormous strategic importance to Souda,” he said.
Panagiotopoulos said the new base at Souda will be a part of the government’s plan for upgrading the armed forces and enhancing their capabilities.