Oct. 7 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s weekend visit to Greece yielded a revised defense agreement and a warning to Turkey.
Greece has become a mainstay of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Pompeo announced his disapproval of Turkish drilling for hydrocarbons in the water, as well as its provocative actions in the economic zone of Cyprus, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.
“We have told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable and we’ll continue to take diplomatic actions to make sure that we do, as we do always, ensure that lawful activity takes place,” Pompeo said during a joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“We want to make sure that rules govern international exploration in the Mediterranean Sea’s energy resources and that no country can hold Europe hostage.”
Pompeo and Greek Prime Minister Kyrialos Mitsatakis also signed a protocol of amendment to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.
The amendment refers to use of two Greek air bases and the port of Alexandroupoli. It also allows the United States to further expand a deep-water naval base on the island of Crete, used by the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet on Crete and install fleets of drones at the air bases.
The work will benefit the Greek armed forces, which endured budget cuts during the country’s long-running debt crisis.
Greece, a NATO member state since 1952, has a new strategic importance as a key partner on Europe’s southern flank and the energy-rich Mediterranean Sea, officials say.