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Greece to extend base access deal with US military

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Greece is extending a bilateral military agreement with the United States for five years, with officials from the country’s center-right government arguing that enhanced alliances within NATO will help stabilize the region rattled by Russia’s war in Ukraine and tension in the eastern Mediterranean, report informs via the Associated Press.

The agreement will grant the US military continued access to three bases in mainland Greece together with its long-standing naval presence on the island of Crete.

It replaces an annual review of the deal with a five-year rollover period.

US Ambassador George J. Tsunis met Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is traveling to Washington for a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday.

Last year, Greece also finalized a bilateral defense deal with France in the wake of a tense naval standoff with fellow-NATO member Turkey in 2020. The two countries are locked in a decades-old dispute on sea boundaries and mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking in parliament, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the alliances were key to the country’s defense strategy.

“We don’t have the luxury to be careless. We don’t have it. I wish we were Luxembourg, on national security issues. But we are not,” Dendias told lawmakers.

The main opposition party, the leftist Syriza, opposed the agreement, arguing that it didn’t provide Athens with sufficient security guarantees.

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Vice-speaker of Iranian Parliament visiting Azerbaijan

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A delegation led by Iran's First Vice-Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament) Ali Nikzad visited the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan on May 16, Report informs.

During the visit, the Iranian Vice-Speaker Ali Nikzad will meet with the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov. The officials will discuss the prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

Then Ali Nikzad and his delegation will leave Nakhchivan for Baku to attend the 3rd session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

During his two-day visit to Azerbaijan, the Vice-Speaker of the Iranian Parliament will hold several bilateral meetings.

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Stop calling Putin, Estonia’s PM says

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There is no point in talking to Vladimir Putin if we really want him to understand he is isolated, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told EURACTIV in what can be seen as a thinly veiled criticism of largely unsuccessful phone diplomacy with Moscow, Report informs.

“I feel that if everybody is constantly calling him, he doesn’t get the message that he’s isolated. So if we want to get the message through that actually ‘you are isolated’, don’t call him – there’s no point,” she repeated a message she had told an international audience the same day.

“He feels that he’s the center of attention because everybody wants to talk to him. But what do we get out of this? I don’t see any results, because after all these talks, Bucha happened, Irpin happened – we don’t see any signs of de-escalation,” she added.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been trying to negotiate a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, said earlier this week that Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a negotiated truce and that peace efforts would not be served by Russia’s “humiliation”.

Asked if it would make sense to ‘keep diplomatic channels open’, Kallas told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview said she personally does not see “any point in talking to him”.

Over the past few months, France and Germany have faced increased criticism for being responsible for a failed Minsk peace process, which has sought to halt the war in Ukraine’s east that began when Russia-backed separatists seized swaths of territory following Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

But years on, there has been no full political settlement and Ukrainian officials have made the diplomatic efforts responsible for opening the door to Russia’s 24 February invasion.

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Caspian Agro, InterFood Azerbaijan to involve 449 companies

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The organization of the 15th Azerbaijan International Agricultural Exhibition Caspian Agro and 27th Azerbaijan International Food Industry Exhibition InterFood Azerbaijan to be held in Baku on May 18-19 has been discussed at a press conference.

According to Report, it was noted during the event that the exhibitions would feature a record number of national and regional stands, with 449 companies from 24 countries to be involved.

The companies have been offered an area of more than 15 square meters.

Caspian Agro will feature 294 companies from 19 countries (Azerbaijan, USA, Germany, Belarus, Belgium, Great Britain, China, Finland, France, Georgia, India, Spain, Israel, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Turkiye, Japan, Greece). Inter Food Azerbaijan will involve 155 companies from 12 countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkiye).

Bahruz Hidayatzada, Executive Director of Caspian Event Organizers, an events organizer, noted that this year the Caspian Agro exhibition would cover such sections as smart village, artificial intelligence, IT services, unmanned aerial vehicles.

The conference "Smart Agro: promoting innovation in agriculture" will be held on May 18 to present projects that have already been launched and those that are planned to be implemented in the liberated territories.

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