Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces will discuss the supply of four new generation Belharra frigates, the renovation of four Greek Hydra class frigates and the provision of “interim capacity,” during a visit to Athens on 25 March.
The French Minister will participate in a ceremony to observe the bicentenary of the proclamation of independence of Greece where she will meet with her Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
On this occasion, four French Rafale fighter planes will take part in the Greek military parade by flying over Athens. In addition, a French frigate (FREMM Languedoc ) is calling at the port of Piraeus.
Greece ordered 18 Rafale jets in 2020 as part of a growing defence relationship between Paris and Athens.
The “interim capacity,” referred to could be the French MoD’s proposal to provide Jean Bart (anti-aircraft warfare) and Latouche-Tréville (anti-submarine warfare) frigates commissioned in early 1990s to the Hellenic Navy if it orders the four new generation Belharra frigates to be built within a span of 7-8 years.
A press release from the French MoD observed, “French ships took part in the Battle of Navarino in 1827, facing the (Turkish) Ottoman fleet. A strategic turning point in the Greek War of Independence and in military history (the last great battle of the sailing navy), Navarin opened the way for the Morea expedition. In 1828, the French expeditionary force, 15,000 strong, more than 1,500 of whom died for the independence of Greece, was deployed to force the Egyptian and Ottoman troops to leave the Morea (the Peloponnese). The mission was completed in a year, with most of the French troops leaving Greece as early as 1829.”
The recall is relevant from the perspective of current tensions between Turkey and Greece over control of the Eastern Mediterranean which is seen as the key reason for a slew of Greek military procurement in recent years.