France reinforces naval forces in Mediterranean

France said on Thursday it was “temporarily reinforcing” its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid tensions between neighbours Greece and Turkey over recently-discovered gas reserves.

The French military said two Rafale jets would arrive on Thursday on the island of Crete for a stay of “several days”, after having taken part in a military exercise in Cyprus earlier in the week.

The assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre (Thunder), en route to deliver aid to Beirut after last week’s deadly port explosion there, was joined overnight by the La Fayette frigate, previously deployed to Cyprus, and they took part in an exercise with the Greek navy.

“The purpose of this military presence is to strengthen the autonomous assessment of the situation and to affirm France’s commitment to free movement, to the security of maritime navigation in the Mediterranean and respect for international law,” said a Ministry statement.

Relations between France and Turkey have been icy as President Emmanuel Macron has accused Ankara of violating the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus — claims Turkey rejects.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 11:29:51 PM |

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