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Papandreou: Greece Won't Leave NATO

January 23, 1987|United Press International

ATHENS — Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou told Parliament today that Greece will not leave NATO and that he plans to renegotiate the presence of U.S. military bases in Greece.

During a debate on national defense, Greece's Socialist prime minister said, "We are not pulling out of NATO for reasons of national security and because with such a move, war with Turkey might become inevitable, and not because we believe in a future clash between East and West."

Papandreou said the agreement on the operation of U.S. military bases on Greek soil expires in December, 1988, and Greece is ready to negotiate a new agreement.

Greece's ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK, came to power in 1981 on a platform calling for an end to the presence of U.S. bases in Greece. PASOK had also made Greece's withdrawal from NATO one of its objectives.

Papandreou, who in 1983 signed a five-year agreement on the bases, said he is going to negotiate a new agreement.

"Our negotiations will start from zero point," he said.

Constantine Mitsotakis, leader of the main opposition party New Democracy, said his party supports the presence of the bases but asked the government to negotiate "to draw benefits necessary for our defense."

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