The defense ministries of France and Greece have both confirmed that a competing offer from the US will have no impact on an already “signed” and “final” multibillion deal to purchase French Belharra frigates.
France’s Ministry of Armed Forces stated on Saturday that a defense contract with Athens had already been “initialled a few days ago,” before the US State Department announced its approval of a potential sale of American frigates.
Since we have been in discussion with the Greeks, the American offer is no longer on the table… We also signed the contract with the Greeks.
Greece’s Defense Ministry also confirmed that the deal with Paris was “final,” since it had been negotiated at the “highest level possible” and “personally announced” by the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The finalized contracts are allegedly expected to be ratified by the Greek Parliament “soon.”
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Friday it had approved the sale for $6.9 billion of four Lockheed Martin combat frigates, and a separate $2.5 billion program to upgrade Greece’s MEKO class frigates.
The announcement triggered some concerns over the Athens-Paris agreement, especially after a long-existing submarine construction “deal of the century” between France and Australia was abruptly tanked by a bombshell AUKUS pact in September, without any prior warning. Outraged Paris accused Washington and Canberra of a “stab in the back”, while just two weeks later Macron took the stage with the Greek PM to personally announce the sale of at least three French warships to Athens for around $3.5 billion, saying it was time to “stop being naive” while touting the new deal as a sign of “Europe’s strategic autonomy and sovereignty.”
This time around, according to the French military, the US “had warned us that this announcement was going to come out” and that Americans allegedly had “no inclination to go further” with an actual sale of their frigates.