Washington [US], April 2, (ANI): US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin III spoke with his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos to reaffirm a mutual commitment to security in the Eastern Mediterranean and NATO's Southern Flank, the Defence Department said in a release on Thursday.
"Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone today with Greek Minister of Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos to reaffirm the strong and deepening security partnership between the United States and Greece," the release said. "The leaders committed to being vigilant regarding threats to stability in NATO's Southern Flank," as reported by Sputnik.
According to Sputnik, Austin welcomed the expansion of the US forces presence in Greece over the past year, including the homeporting of the USS Hershel "Woody" Williams expeditionary mobile base at Souda Bay, and attributed this to the 2019 update of the US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The US Defense Secretary also welcomed ongoing exploratory talks between NATO Allies Greece and Turkey and noted that Greece consistently exceeds NATO defence spending goals.
The leaders also discussed Russia's alleged "malign influence."
Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO's reckless military buildup in the region threatens to spark an unnecessary confrontation. (ANI)