Defense deal with France unacceptable in current state: Greek opposition party

Agreement risks sending Greek soldiers to dangerous conflict areas, arms race, says main opposition party SYRIZA.

Defense deal with France unacceptable in current state: Greek opposition party

Greece's main opposition party have decried a major defense agreement recently signed with France, saying it could not be accepted in its current state, according to local media.

SYRIZA's parliamentary group and political committee convened on Monday evening in the capital Athens to discuss the party's position on the deal signed on Sept. 28, among other issues as well, reported the news portal

Unless revised in various ways, the accord was deemed unacceptable by the party, said the its leader, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, addressing the meeting.

Tsipras demanded a clear statement from the government that under the deal, it would not risk sending Greek soldiers to any war-torn area away from Greek or French territory.

The sitting Nea Dimokratia (ND) government has deviated from established Greek foreign policy, bringing back an arms race, he said, referring to Athens' ongoing disputes with neighboring Turkey.

Tsipras also stressed that the purchase of the extra Rafale warplanes and three frigates from France was expensive and would be an extra burden on the shoulders of Greek taxpayers.

He also said that a recent deal with Israel for the establishment and operation of a pilot-training center by Tel Aviv in Greece's southern province of Kalatama, was three times overbudget and cost €1.8 billion.

Criticizing the deployment of Greek Patriot air defense systems along with 100 troops to Saudi Araba, Tsipras said the move risked involving Greece in a dangerous Middle Eastern conflict.

In a related development, the party's spokesman Nassos Iliopoulos also blasted the agreement with France and other foreign policy choices of the government.

Speaking to Radio Thessaloniki on Tuesday morning, Iliopoulos said the deal was unbalanced and dangerous for Greece.

So far, due to the country's sensitive geographical location, it has managed to steer clear of conflicts in the Arab world, he said, noting that the agreement would now risk its involvement in dangerous confrontations.

One article of the agreement in particular concerning joint military deployments under French command, Iliopoulos said, "changes the defense doctrine of the country."


Hüseyin Demir