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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Interview of the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panos Rigas to the NEWS 24/7 Radio Station

The Alternate Minister of National Defence Panos Rigas, in an interview he gave on Wednesday 15 May 2019, to the NEWS 24/7 radio station and the journalist Vasilis Skouris, mentioned, among other things, the following:

Regarding the situation in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone and whether the Government is concerned:

We are always interested, anxious and concerned, because Turkey, especially recently, has intensified its militant rhetoric and practices. These actions are not helpful and the Turkish should be very careful and mainly stop interpreting International Treaties and the Law of the Sea as they wish. We are concerned, but we also take into consideration the stance of Europe and other international factors, as was concluded in the EU Foreign Affairs Council, where the message was sent that our side enjoys their support.

About Greece being ready to face a threat:

The Hellenic Armed Forces are quite sufficient to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity and secure our sovereign rights. Greece has acquired high stature and acknowledgment at a European and global level, since it constitutes a pillar of stability in the region. We constitute EU’s external borders to the east. Turkey cannot be allowed to be a transgressor and a pirate. We take measures for every contingency. However, I am optimistic that Turkey will finally respect International Law.

With regard to the result of the elections:

All progressive parties have realised that they will have to respond to the claims of Mr Mitsotakis and that is exactly what is going to happen, initially on 26 May and then at the national elections this fall. The citizens yearn for what is best for their lives. It goes without saying that we were not perfect during these 4,5 years, mistakes were made, but everybody knows the state of the country when we took office. Everyone. Whether things could be handled better or not is another discussion. Our effort in total is clearly positive. It is unacceptable that the guilty parties of New Democracy and the Movement for Change make accusations against us, when we managed to end the crisis for our country, by making necessary concessions at the time of a difficult deal. Them who did absolutely nothing, who led the country to this sorry state. We are very well aware of the sacrifices made by the Greek people to endure the crisis and we honour them because of it. Without the succour, the tolerance and the effort of the Greek people, our country would not be here today and we will positively repay the Greek people for the aforementioned effort.