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Greece To Buy Drones From US, Israel To Defend Against Another NATO Ally

Neer Varshney

Greece is buying three armed drones from the U.S. and another two from Israel, the country's defense minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said, according to British newspaper the Times.

What Happened

The Greek minister told the country's parliament that the drones will be used as a defense measure against Turkey in case its armed forces enter the Greek airspace, the Times reported.

"Rules of engagement have already been charted by [our] country's armed forces . . . to confront potential threats to our sovereignty . . . including [action] to [immobilize] Turkish drones," Panagiotopoulos said.

The announcement comes at a time when the U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of lifting arms embargo enforced on Greece in 1987, France 24 reported.

The House of Representatives had already voted in favor of lifting the restrictions, and President Donald Trump is also expected to sign it, the publication noted.

Why It Matters

Greece and Turkey have a long-standing turbulent relationship, but recent conflict over maritime borders has heightened the tensions between the two countries, both of which are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Turkey signed an agreement with the Government of National Accord in Libya In November, which claimed an island that Greece considers to be a part of its territory, as reported by Al Jazeera.

The Russian Federation and most NATO allies including the U.S. and the E.U. have denounced the agreement as infringing on Greece's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Turkey has continued its advancement into the norther Cyprus region, including deploying a drone last week, Al Jazeera noted.
Panagiotopoulos assured the Greek parliament that the government was prepared to "do whatever it takes to defend its national sovereignty," as reported by the Times.

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