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U.S. To Close Air Station On Crete

March 12, 1993

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ The United States will close its Iraklion Air Station on the island of Crete as part of its worldwide cost-cutting program, the Greek government said Friday.

The base, at Gournes near the city of Iraklion, is one of two major U.S. facilities in Greece. The other is the Souda Bay naval support facility, farther west on the same Mediterranean island.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Iraklion base was being closed ″in the context of the reduction of American forces and restructuring of their bases worldwide.″

The air station, primarily a communications relay center, will be returned to the Greek government by June 1994, said Air Force Lt. James Law, a U.S. spokesman at Gournes.

The Foreign Ministry said the United States had discussed the decision with the Greek government and had ″confirmed its commitment to maintain constant and close defense cooperation relations with Greece.″

The two NATO members have had a defense relationship since 1953. Their latest accord, signed in July 1990, is for eight years.

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