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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister Fotis Kouvelis' interview on ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS newspaper to journalist Fofi Giotaki

Alternate Minister Fotis Kouvelis' interview on ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS newspaper to journalist Fofi Giotaki
Alternate Minister Fotis Kouvelis' interview on ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS newspaper to journalist Fofi Giotaki

The Alternate Minister of National Defence Fotis Kouvelis in an interview he gave for ETHNOS TIS KYRIAKIS (10/06/2018) newspaper to journalist Fofi Giotaki, stated:

-Mr. Minister, is the agreement with FYROM about to be concluded?

What is really happening is that the time has come for the solution of a long-lasting problem and that both sides have the political will for this. It will not be easy to find again such an opportunity to reach a solution.

- If the two Prime ministers meet on Prespes to sign the agreement, would that mean that FYROM has already accepted a complex name to be used under all circumstances and amendment of its constitution?

It is obvious that any contacts at the highest level of both countries would officially mark the completion of the negotiations and they would activate the road map for the implementation of the agreement which, after being finalized, will include a complex name erga omnes, and it would lead to an amendment of the neighbouring country’s constitution.

-What will be the steps for the solution of the Macedonian issue?

I would not refer to steps but to two periods separated in phases. The first one is the negotiation and the second period is the implementation of the agreement. The negotiation can be a complicated, strenuous and maybe a time-consuming process, but I can say that this period has passed. So, after the agreement is finalized by the two prime ministers, what is still to de done is the implementation which is a manageable process.

- Everybody is aware of Mr. kammenos’ attitude towards Alexis Tsipras about the Macedonian issue. Would it be an honest attitude for Mr. Kammenos to reject the agreement but to remain in the government?

The government has been formed based on a political agreement of which we are all aware and it regards, as a final objective, the exit from the austerity policy imposed by the MOUs, and the supervision with a parallel development of a fair and sustainable development plan. This is what we are doing now. Beyond that, the government manages all the matters that regard our country and the decisions are made by the Parliament. Panos Kammenos works in this context too. Any rejection of any agreement in the parliament is a political option and no moral questions can be raised.

- Will you undertake any new initiatives for the two Greek officers to return home from the prison of Edirne? Will the result of the elections in Turkey affect this matter?

We are working and we undertake initiatives at many levels. What we want to make clear to the Turkish side is that adding one more case to the already aggravated Greek-Turkish relations will not help. And, of course, we cannot compare different things and situations unrelated to each other. Our aim is the issue to be solved as soon as possible.

-Currently, Turkey escalates its challenges…

These actions belong to the tense escalation that Erdogan has chosen ahead of the election. We should stay calm, which can be ensured by the deterrence force of our Armed Forces. The tension that Turkey has created in this period may be related to the election, but this does not mean that it will abandon this practice of tension and challenges. What Turkey tries to do, is to keep the field of the alleged issues which are related to our sovereignty rights, aiming to form a different level of negotiations about the Greek sovereignty rights, as well as to ensure a Turkish presence in Cyprus’ EEZ.

-The government states publicly “we can also without the IMF”. And what about the debt?

Over the past years, we have experienced many contradictions and incorrect estimations or very ambitious targets which the borrowers set. Now, we are at the end of this process and what matters most now is to end the force of the MOUs in August and to implement what was initially agreed about the debt at the highest level.

-There is no announcement about borrowing from the markets. But is it necessary before the expiration of the third programme?

We have already addressed to the markets with a successful result and we are working to this direction. This request depends every time on the country’s borrowing needs, as well as the conditions in the markets. In any case, the exit to the markets is a confirmation that Greece returns to a normal situation.

-What is the strong measure to be taken in order to avoid pension cuts in six months from now?

What matters most at this moment is for the programme to be completed and the austerity policy of the MOUs to stop. There are indeed some already voted measures, as well as countermeasures. It would not be useful to talk about them now. What I can confirm is that the government will have the capabilities and the possibility to use some measures in the post-MOUs period in order to make it clear to the Greek people that a new era begins.

-Will you proceed with the creation of a new progressive front? Are the conditions favourable now?

Forming a progressive group is not a matter of some peoples’ conception but it is an answer to our time’s need for democracy. The objective circumstances are favourable. It is the subjective element of the politicians that creates difficulties and not our society.

- The Movement for Change has asked for elections. And after this what? A government of national coalition?

What should be made clear is that we are in a new era which requires the parties too to provide equivalent responses. Ms. Gennimata’s request for an election is just an attempt to escape reality. Just like the reference to “a national coalition government” after the election. And I would not like to mention also the contradiction of the Leader of the Movement for Change who, on one side, supports the constitutional amendment and, on the other hand, she asks for an election, so the amendment will be postponed for the parliament to be formed after the next election.