The Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos visited and inspected today, Sunday 1 March 2020, the border guard, starting from Surveillance Outpost 1 in Kastanies and moving along the borderline at Evros.
The Minister was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Konstantinos Floros, MPs Mr. Anastasios Dimoschakis and Mr. Christos Dermetzopoulos, officials and local authorities.
After the completion of his visit to Kastanies-Evros, the Minister of National Defence made the following statement, and answered the journalists’ statements:
“We, the political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defence, came this morning here to Kastanies in Evros, so as to assess the situation, firsthand.
We saw that our borders are being guarded. They are being completely protected. I would like to congratulate all the Forces operating here, the personnel of the Armed Forces and the Police, as well as the Coast Guard personnel in other areas, who perform their duty for two days and two nights now, ensuring the inviolability of the Greek borders, which also are –may I remind you– the borders of Europe as well.
I congratulate you all”.
JOURNALIST: Do you fear an incident may occur?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: The borders are guarded in an excellent way. The personnel are here, the Forces have been reinforced and they are doing what they must, as I said, so as to protect Greece’s borders.
JOURNALIST: Do we know the number of the people on the other side?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: We do not know. I suppose that their number is inconstant. It is a fact that there is an organized transfer to the borders; however we are doing what we have to do.
JOURNALIST: Have you talked with your counterpart?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: No, I haven’t.
JOURNALIST: Mister Minister, will the Forces be further reinforced, if needed?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: If needed, they will. Whatever needed, so as to protect Greece’s borders, will be done.
JOURNALIST: Mister Minister, journalists from the BBC referred to a number of migrants that, over the next few days, may affect the developments. Can you guarantee the security of the Greek borders, and their significance for Europe?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: Those who assert anything negative clearly intend to terrify, and I regard this approach as illegal. We have seen certain cases, only a few, who attempted to cross the borders but were arrested by the Greek Authorities.
JOURNALIST: We have seen that many people have been forcefully transferred. Is there a standard procedure to follow, so as to tackle the issue?
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: No, I do not believe there is. The only way for every country is to ensure some balance in this situation, as well as the borders’ security”.