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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas’ Interview to “STO KOKKINO 105,5” Radio Station

On Friday, 28 September 2018, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave to “STO KOKKINO 105,5” radio station and to the journalist Nikos Sverkos, stated the following:

Regarding the Armed Forces’ readiness to contribute to the areas that may be affected by the bad weather and the Armed Forces’ social work in general:

All Armed Forces are ready to contribute to areas that may be affected by the bad weather in the next days. Since I assumed my duties in the Ministry, a month ago, I realised that the Armed Forces contribute in many parts of the country with great social work, which the general public possibly does not comprehend, but is well known in local societies. As an example, I will refer to Eastern Macedonia-Thrace and other areas as well, where the Armed Forces have contributed to schools’ establishment and roads’ opening in particular regions, like those of minorities. I believe that these activities do honour to the Armed Forces, because aside from the country’s protection they also play an essential role in supporting society as a whole.

Regarding the discussion about refugees’ funds:

A pertinent interview was given recently, regarding specifically the Ministry of National Defence, in case of which the sums of money are very specific. The European Commission has so far made all necessary audits, the rules are very strict and the terms on how some things must be done very specific. OLAF acts properly by conducting the stipulated supervision. Until now nothing has come up. During this period the opposition tries to create confusion through fake news and stir up the passions regarding the immigrants. Those who identify themselves ideologically with Orban and the closed borders policy, should stop making this kind of statements.

Regarding the retroactive pay to the members of the Armed Forces:

We have been blamed for making pre-election promises. This constitutes a series of actions that started after the Thessaloniki International Fair and during which the Prime Minister presented, in detail, all the positive measures following the end of supervision and the memoranda. Despite the opposition’s cries, what is happening is that the responsibility regarding the selected means and policies to achieve the agreed goals is assigned to the Hellenic Government. We give back to the Greek people everything they deserve, due to the difficult period they went through, taking the country’s finances into account. The money will be given, not only with regard to the Armed Forces’ members, but to universities’ professors, doctors and those who serve Justice as well. This money will be paid by the end of the year. The Ministry of Finance is the competent authority to define the terms of payment. The issue is not ours to solve anymore, but it is clear that the words of the Prime Minister will be put into practice.

Regarding the Prime Minister’s meeting with the President of Turkey:

The foreign policy which we exercise is the one that SYRIZA supported for many years, multilateral and multi-dimensional, aiming to the preservation of peace and social cohesion, especially in a region with high tension, like ours.

We will insist on this choice. Despite New Democracy’s dangerous stance regarding national matters, the majority of the Greek people is not misled and realises that our foreign policy produces results, as this was apparent with the return of the two Greek servicemen. It was under the context of this conception that the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the President of Turkey was held. Our constant goal is the continuous improvement of our relations, to the benefit of both peoples. Under no circumstance are we going to adopt a logic which involves nationalistic ideas and mainly a logic which leads to the deterioration of relations.