France to provide Greece with three warships under defence deal

The deal was said to be worth several billion euro, amid rising tensions between Greece and Turkey.

The Greek and French leaders
The Greek and French leaders

France and Greece have announced a multibillion-euro defence deal, which will include the purchase of three French warships by the government in Athens.

French president Emmanuel Macron and Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a defence and security strategic partnership in a joint news conference in Paris.

“This partnership expresses our will to increase and intensify our cooperation … based on our mutual interests,” Mr Macron said.

France Greece
French president Emmanuel Macron (AP)

Greece will purchase three French frigates to be build by Naval Group in Lorient, in western France, Mr Macron said.

The deal includes an option for the acquisition of a fourth frigate, Mr Mitsotakis added.

The announcement comes at a key time for France after the loss this month of a 56 billion euro (£48 billion) deal to sell diesel-electric submarines to Australia, which instead chose to acquire nuclear-powered submarines provided by the US.

The two leaders
The two leaders meet at the Elysee Palace in Paris (AP)

The three-way strategic defence alliance announced by Australia, the UK and the US came as a shock to French officials.

Greece has already bought 18 French Rafale fighter jets and plans to purchase another six under a programme to modernise its armed forces amid tensions with neighbouring Turkey.

Mr Macron and Mr Mitsotakis did not disclose further details of the deal. A top French official said the deal was worth “several billion” euro.

Greek PM
Mr Mitsotakis delivers his speech after signing a deal to buy three French warships (AP)

Tensions between Greece and its historic regional rival Turkey have increased in recent years over gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean and waters between the two countries.

Greece had announced plans to upgrade its fleet, discussing potential frigate purchases with countries including France, the US and UK.

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