Ahead of a scheduled meeting between Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis with French President Emmanuel Macron, in Paris next Wednesday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire referred to the close alliance between France and Greece and the relationship cultivated between two countries stressing in no uncertain terms that France would not tolerate any threats by Turkey against Greece and Cyprus in their dispute in the Mediterranean region.
In an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini, the French Minister said: “No threat to Cypriot and Greek sovereignty will be accepted,” referring to the importance of the EastMed pipeline to Europe, as well as the rising tensions created by the exploitation of natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. “Both France and the EU as a whole have strongly supported Athens and Nicosia against these threats,” the French minister stressed.
The Greek-French alliance is expected to be confirmed by the presence of the Dixmude (L9015), an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the French Navy which is expected to dock the port of Piraeus.
The military exercise “Alexander the Great” is held on an annual basis in winter with the participation of Greek and American marines in the Magnesia region. But this year, for the first time since the start of the drill, the French marines will also take part with the impressive Mistral helicopter carrier.
The impressive “FS Dixmude” will sail into the port of Piraeus, where it is expected to depart on Monday afternoon, to join the rest of the forces in the exercise on Tuesday, which for the first time this year will include disaster recovery scenarios. According to senior military sources, the presence and involvement of French warships and marines in Greek exercises are just the beginning. Paris has expressed a keen interest in continuing its presence over the coming months in a series of exercises designed and implemented by the Greek Armed Forces, such as “Medusa” and “Iniochos”.