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Tuesday, September 6, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel signs security agreement with Greece
amid strains in ties with Turkey

TEL AVIV — Israel and Greece have signed a security cooperation accord.


The accord was signed by the defense ministers of Greece and Israel on Sept. 4 in Tel Aviv, Middle East Newsline reported. No details were provided of the security agreement. Over the last two years, Greece and Israel have significantly expanded defense and military cooperation at a time of growing strains in Israel's relations with the Islamist government of Turkey.

"We're pleased with the strengthened relationship between Greece and Israel in all aspects, including defense," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. "Both Greece and Israel are undergoing a difficult period in the world, and I believe we view each other positively."

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Barak signed the accord with his visiting Greek counterpart, Panagiotis Beglitis. The Israeli minister said Greece provided rapid assistance to Israel to fight a major fire in the spring of 2011.

Greece and Israel have conducted a series of naval and air force exercises meant to test Israel's long-range military capability.

"Looking ahead, the nations expect to see a deepening of the cooperation between the two governments, defense ministries and peoples," Barak said.

In June, Greece and Israel conducted a joint exercise in the Aegean Sea. The two air forces deployed such U.S.-origin helicopters as the S-70 Black Hawk and the AH-64 Apache.

"In recent years, the IAF has been training with many foreign armies however recently the cooperation between the Greek Army and the IDF grew significantly," an Israeli military statement said.

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