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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Interview of the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis  Rigas on ERT1 TV Show "Pame Allios"

In an interview he gave on Saturday, 19 January 2019 on ERT1 TV show "Pame Allios" to the journalist Takis Sarantis, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas stated, among others, the following:

On the Prespes Agreement:

This week, the Agreement will be brought to Parliament and there will be plenty of time for discussion. At the same time, there is an open invitation by the Prime Minister to Mr. Mitsotakis for a public debate on TV, in order to inform the public in detail on the different views. However, Mr. Mitsotakis has declined because he can't face reality, since, after the verbal note sent by our northern neighbours, all issues he claims to have with the agreement have been clarified.

On the decision of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA and whether it is a message to other parties:

There is no message. Mr. Theodorakis took a clear position many months ago and that was the reason why Potami dissociated itself from KINAL. New Democracy instrumentalised a national matter to serve its party interests, pressuring for the fall of the government before the end of its constitutional term. However, following the vote of confidence by the majority in Parliament, this is no longer the case and everyone must take a position. Nationalism has caused great problems to our country and has led to great national defeats in the past. Especially the progressive forces are called to take a position on a matter that has plagued the country for decades, but not just that. There are also the matters of economy, development, and labour. The need for a broader progressive front against neoliberalism and the far right is greater than ever.

On the rearrangement of the political scene:

It's not a matter of whether the developments threaten certain parties with dissolution. Parties have problems or dissolve when they shift from their main principles, hence followers or office holders take a different position from these decisions. What do we have in this case? KINAL and PASOK had very different views on the Macedonian issue previously. We are not to blame for the spectacular shift in their views, so SYRIZA is not to be accused of having a plan to destroy parties. We are clear: The progressive forces must take a position.

On the former Prime Ministers and the position taken by G. Papandreou:

Mr. Papandreou took a certain position which is very positive. Especially people who have held high office, such as former Prime Ministers, should not hide behind political interests. Those who governed the country, not just Mr. Papandreou, must come forward and talk about everything what happened during their tenure.

On the appointment of E. Apostolakis as Minister:

The government, the Prime Minister, who is responsible for the appointment of the ministerial council, and I personally believe that it is a good thing that Admiral Apostolakis is the new Minister of National Defence during this critical period. He has the knowledge and the experience on operational matters to safely manage national matters in the near future. At the same time, we send a message that we ensure stability in the region, always on the basis of our peaceful doctrine, and Mr. Apostolakis can defend and serve this in the best possible manner.

On the fact that Independent Greeks officials remain in the government:

On important matters, everyone takes a certain position and stance. Not all people in a political party share the same stance.

On the legislative measures regarding the F-16 aircraft:

The F-16 upgrade is already in progress and is not part of any bill. What you are referring to is a modification, whose form will be discussed with Mr. Apostolakis. It is about money owed by Lockheed Martin as a company to the Hellenic industry from previous contracts. There will be full transparency. It will be brought to Parliament soon, together with a series of bills, among them the bill of the Ministry of National Defence on matters within my responsibility that solve problems in the Armed Forces.