France will boost its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean amid an escalating standoff between Greece and Turkey over oil and gas exploration in disputed waters.
France will send two Rafale fighter jets and the naval frigate ‘Lafayette’ to the region as part of plans to increase its military presence, the armed forces ministry said on Thursday.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the situation in the eastern Mediterranean “worrying”, and urged Turkey to stop its “unilateral” prospecting and “allow a peaceful dialogue” between the neighbouring NATO members.
“I have decided to temporarily reinforce the French military presence in the eastern Mediterranean in the coming days, in cooperation with European partners, including Greece,” Macron said on Twitter on Wednesday.
On ursday, the French military conducted training exercises with Greek forces off the southern island of Crete, Greek defence sources told Reuters news agency, as the first manifestation of Macron’s support.
“Emmanuel Macron is a true friend of Greece and a fervent defender of European values and international law,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted, in French, after a call with the French president.