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August 23, 2019
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US request for Greek assistance in Persian Gulf

Washington has reportedly asked Greece to make a contribution to a multinational naval force that will monitor the Persian Gulf in order to protect the freedom of navigation.

Kathimerini understands that the American request, made a few days ago, referred to assistance either with a large naval unit – a frigate – or with an aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tool.

However, at the moment, Greece does not have sufficient means to meet its own air surveillance needs, and is, therefore, unable to cater to demands of third parties.

Moreover, after a series of meetings of the Greek Defense and Foreign ministries, it was decided, with regard to the request for naval assistance, that the Hellenic Navy cannot currently provide any frigates due to its standby situation in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Athens also said that it is already participating in all allied naval training exercises – as it did last week with the Aigaion frigate in the multinational drill off the Israeli coast, which simulated conditions created by a massive earthquake.

Greece did however say that it is making personnel already in the area (United Arab Emirates) available to the US military to participate in teams monitoring the wider Gulf region during this period of tension in the Strait of Hormuz.

The US request for a Greek contribution to a multinational naval force was made on a bilateral level, as there is no decision by the United Nations or any other international organization for action against Iran.

To date, major European countries, such as Germany, have refused to join a US-led naval force, and Paris has also made it clear that it will not waive its privilege of direct contacts with the Iranian leadership in Tehran.

Athens is reportedly not to keen on getting involved in areas like the Persian Gulf. At the same time, it is giving ample consideration to its response regarding future US requests, given the investment it has made in its relationship with Washington.

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