Greece will send some of its Patriot defense missiles to Saudi Arabia under a program involving the US, Britain and France, the government spokesman said earlier this week.
Athens will deploy the missiles at Saudi Arabia’s cost “to protect critical energy infrastructure,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.
“The deployment contributes to energy security, promotes our country as a factor of regional stability and strengthens our ties to Saudi Arabia,” Petsas said, adding that talks on the move began in October.
He did not give a date for the deployment.
The US, Britain and France are part of the same initiative and Italy is likely to join, the spokesman said.
“As a defensive system, this constitutes no threat to other countries in the area,” Petsas said.
Petsas said that “around 130 personnel” would accompany the missiles.
“This would be a Greek military presence outside the Mediterranean for the first time in decades,” leftist Eurodeputy Dimitris Papadimoulis tweeted in January.
The announcement came as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was on a Middle East tour for investment talks with the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He visited Riyadh on Monday and Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of satellites and its applications, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The MoU was co-signed by the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Space Authority Dr. Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh, and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis.