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Greece moves to postpone major arms purchase

December 26, 2022 at 1:30 pm

An Israeli F-16 jet takes off on December 9, 2014 at the Ovda airbase in the Negev Desert near Eilat, southern Israel [Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]

Greece has moved to postpone a major arms purchase from Israel, local media reported on Saturday.

Defense Ministry officials fear that the purchase of Spike NLOS missiles, a particularly desired system for the navy’s fast attack boats and the ground forces’ AH-64 attack helicopters, risk being postponed indefinitely, private broadcaster CNN Greece reported.

The country’s political leadership, however, reiterated that the process for the missile purchase could resume in April when a “misunderstanding” with military leadership is resolved and Athens’ questions to Israel are answered, it added.

If the decision is left to the next government after Greece’s upcoming summer 2023 elections, it might be too late, and Tel Aviv may sell the ready-to-deliver missiles to other willing customers, noted the report.

The government is not happy about the delay caused by military leadership, it concluded.

READ: Senior Israeli defense official set to visit Athens to discuss arms sale

Greece in recent years signed multiple big-ticket arms agreements, including a deal for drones from Israel, Rafale jets from France, and upgrades to its F-16 fleet from the US.

Athens has also approached Washington for the potential purchase of at least 20 F-35 stealth aircraft.

Amid heightened tensions with Türkiye, Ankara has repeatedly warned Athens against indulging in an arms race, offering instead to resolve all outstanding issues, including in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, and Cyprus, through dialogue.