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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Defence Minister Fotis Kouvelis' interview at the Hellenic Radio's First Programme

The Alternate Minister of National Defence Fotis Kouvelis, at an interview he gave today, Wednesday 13 June 2018 at the First Programme of the Hellenic Radio and the journalists Andreas Papastamatiou and Stefania Haritou, stated, among other things, the following:

On the agreement between Greece – FYROM:

It is a very positive agreement, the signing and application of which is in process. I believe that the red lines set by the Greek Government during the negotiation were absolutely respected, so as to conclude with a name that includes a geographical qualifier, erga omnes, and the elimination of any irredentist references in FYROM’s Constitution. Naturally, it is very important that there will be a Constitutional review. The specific steps need to be taken, since the final existence of the agreement, its application and commitment, will depend on FYROM’s approval of the clauses regarding its Constitutional review; this review connects to FYROM becoming an EU and NATO member, since “conditionality” is still an issue, these requirements are subject to the condition of their fulfillment.

On K. Mitsotakis’ position that A. Tsipras lacks the political legitimacy to sign this agreement:

I really fail to apprehend this. What does “lacks legitimacy” mean? It is a government which resulted by the Greek people’s will, after elections; it has an absolute cohesion, which cannot be questioned. If someone wishes to challenge it, there is a great opportunity: he may file a censure motion and see if we have a cohesive and unbroken government.

On the question concerning who will attest FYROM’s possible backing out from the agreement’s provisions:

First of all, it will be the Greek side, as it is the one agreeing on FYROM’s participation in the pre-accession procedures, in the context of new circumstances and conditions. The conditions which are set are the ones making up the concept of conditionality, which is diagnosed every time by the contracting part, such as Greece. Of course, it will also be an objective fact as, in the framework of the agreement, the clauses that need to be revised will be explicitly noted.

On the language and nationality of FYROM’s inhabitants:

As far as the language is concerned, the derivation and reference of their language is defined as south Slavic; as far as the member’s nationality is concerned, I think that it will be analytically defined, in English and in their own language as well, with the attributed qualifiers and references.

On the Opposition’s position:

Let’s wait to see how this conversation will conclude within the “Kinima Allagis” party; other than that, I am allowed to say the following: this agreement is a very positive development and conclusion of what was promoted so far in the context of the so-called national position.

New Democracy’s position is opportunist and irresponsible. It proceeds to a controversy and opposition which damages our national interests and the solution to a problem that has been afflicting our country for years.

On the question whether ANEL party’s reaction creates problems and they might leave the government:

I do not agree with their position. However, this is irrelevant to the question if the government they participate in has the political right and the political capability to promote the agreement, so as to resolve the Macedonian issue; obviously, it does.

I see no insinuations on ANEL party leaving the government and withdrawing their support. Besides, specific statements have been made, and I will only bring up the most recent, made by Mr. Kammenos at yesterday’s Press Conference, regarding the exact opposite.
Finally, what will shape the result is the decision of the Hellenic Parliament, with the parliamentary majority provided by the Constitution.

On the two Greek militaries’ detention in the prison of Andrianoupolis:

Our actions are constantly intensified at multiple levels. In the next days, a regulation will be forwarded to the Parliament, according to which our two militaries are transferred abroad, to Turkey, and receive the salary of a military transferred abroad; we wanted to do this, in order to underline that they are two militaries who belong to the Hellenic Armed Forces but, at the same time, also to NATO, that is to say the Alliance where Greece and Turkey coexist. Following the regulation, our two cadres have a permanent residence which, at the level of legal treatment, has to be acknowledged by Turkey, so that it terminates their temporary detention.