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US approves $2.4B Greek fighter jet deal

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 October 2017, 9:15 IST

The United States on 17 October approved a potential $2.4 billion upgrade of Greek F-16 fighter jets after a meeting between country's Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras and President Donald Trump.

Trump, who spoke alongside Tsipras in the White House Rose Garden after a working lunch, said the potential deal "would generate thousands of American jobs," The Hill report said.

"This proposed sale will contribute to U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally, which is an important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe. The upgrade of F-16 aircraft to an F-16 Block V configuration will bolster the Hellenic Air Force's ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the U.S. and the NATO alliance. It will also help Greece sustain operations in the future, thereby reducing the threat the alliance's enemies pose to the U.S. and the alliance," the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

The agency added that it had notified Congress of the possible sale on Monday.

Trump also praised Greece "for being one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least 2 percent of [gross domestic product] on defense" and called it "a land of tremendous potential."

NATO spending has been a hot-button issue for Trump, who frequently berates European allies for what he says is not enough contribution. 


First published: 18 October 2017, 9:15 IST