July 14, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Greece plans to return its Patriot air defense system from Saudi Arabia

The Greek leadership is considering returning the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system, which was loaned to Saudi Arabia last year, if necessary due to rising tensions with Turkey, Greek National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on October 17.

The minister made this statement in response to a question from a member of the right-wing opposition Elliniki Lisi party about a Patriot air defense battery that was previously rented by Saudi Arabia to ensure its security.

“The Ministry of National Defense has taken all necessary actions regarding operational planning and the availability of weapons systems so that the country’s air defenses remain fully operational and effective,” Panayotopoulos said.

“Currently, no changes are required in the current operational situation, however, if deemed appropriate, the return of the indicated Patriot air defense system battery can be carried out immediately,” the minister specified.

RecallApril 20, 2021 Head Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Defense Nikos Dendias and Nikos Panagiotopoulos during a visit to Saudi Arabia, they signed an “Agreement on the regulation of the status of the Greek Armed Forces on the territory of Saudi Arabia”, through which Patriot air defense systems and crews of systems consisting of 100-120 people will be delivered to the country.

For Athens, according to a statement by the Greek government, the participation of the Saudi air defense system is a political and operational priority, and Riyadh is particularly responsive to this plan. An example of Riyadh’s reaction is the participation of Saudi F-15s in exercises at Souda last March, as well as in May exercises.

Sources at the Ministry of National Defence, which drafted most of the agreement, indicated that the condition was that the Greek military aviation would be able to join the multinational force of the United States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, France, Italy, Jordan and Pakistan to help strengthen protecting Saudi Arabia from terrorism.

The cost of the contract was not reported.

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