Assistant US Secretary of State to Visit Greece and Cyprus, Discuss Security, Defense Issues



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According to an announcement issued on Wednesday by the US Department of State, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper will travel to Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria beginning on October 14, 2020, to meet with US allies and partners on expanding the security cooperation and defense trade that enhances the shared security of these nations.

In Greece, from October 14-18, Assistant Secretary Cooper will hold consultations with senior civilian and military officials in Athens on efforts to promote peace and stability, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Balkans.

Cooper will then visit the Naval Support Activity at Souda Bay, one of the key locations of U.S.-Greece defense cooperation, where the expanded Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement  fosters what the State Department called “our ever-growing collaboration with Greece and our NATO Allies.”

In Cyprus, from October 18-19, Assistant Secretary Cooper will meet with senior government officials in Nicosia to discuss security cooperation and defense trade, including plans to provide International Military Education and Training opportunities for Republic of Cyprus military personnel.

Cooper will also address the new regulations allowing expanded access to non-lethal US- origin defense articles and services, controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In Bulgaria, from October 20-22, Assistant Secretary Cooper will consult with senior civilian and military officials in Sofia on security cooperation and defense trade. Military modernization is a priority for Bulgaria, as seen in its historic procurement of eight F-16s in 2019.

The United States is supporting Bulgaria’s modernization effort with more than $100 million in Foreign Military Financing and investments since 2018 that are helping to improve Bulgaria’s combat effectiveness and interoperability with U.S. forces and other NATO Allies.

Assistant Secretary Cooper will also observe the joint air policing mission operating out of Graf Ignatievo Air Base.