Pompeo in Athens for the new Souda Bay agreement

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Athens for the official signing of the renewed defence agreement between the Greece-US on the status of Souda Bay Base.

The signing of the agreement is scheduled for October 6-7, according to a first unofficial statement. According to a report by the Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”, the government prefers at this point to extend the current status for one year instead of five that is the longstanding US request.

The exact dates of Pompeo’s visit to seal the deal have not yet been set, as the American side wishes to have all the details previously locked. Pompeo’s visit to Athens, as well as a possible meeting of Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Donald Trump in New York on the occasion of the UN General Assembly, were discussed at the meeting that Mr Mitsotakis had recently held at the Maximos House with the chairwoman of the Committee on Appropriations of the US House of Representatives Nita Lowey, in the presence of the US ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt.

Although no technical details were discussed at the meeting, special reference was made to the renewal of the agreement, as the committee chaired by Mrs Lowey has a say in how and where the US budget money is directed.

The revision of the agreement will be technical at this stage as the government chooses a transitional renewal of one year for the time being. This will be in order for both sides to have time to discuss a broader deal and in particular what the Greek side can request from the US in exchange for an upgraded agreement. The wider deal will be reportedly be signed about a year from now.