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Monday, July 11, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Greece ready to sign military accord with Israel

ATHENS — The Athens government said Greece intends to sign an agreement with Israel for the expansion of defense and military cooperation.
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    Officials said this would include Israeli defense sales to the European Union member.

    In June, Greece cooperated with Israel's effort to prevent a flotilla of ships from reaching the Gaza Strip, under blockade since 2007. Greece was said to have intercepted three ships from the flotilla while detaining other vessels.

    "We will soon sign an agreement on military cooperation which will mainly involve the defense industry and supply of armaments," Greek Defense Minister Panos Beglitis said.

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    In an address to parliament on July 7, Beglitis did not specify what Greece would purchase from Israel. The defense minister said Athens deemed Israel important, but stressed that any military accord would not affect Greece's relations with neighboring Turkey or Arab states.

    Over the last year, Greece has improved defense and military cooperation with Israel. Officials cited the use by the Israel Air Force of Greece for long-range combat air exercises.

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