The Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos completed his visit to France. Mr. Panagiotopoulos held talks with his counterpart Florence Parly on a series of matters of bilateral and European interest, as well as on the geopolitical developments in Syria and the East Mediterranean in general.
The two ministers also discussed armaments. The Hellenic side expressed its intention for the commencement of negotiations for the procurement of new frigates for the Hellenic Navy, as well as for the settlement of pending issues with the Follow-On Support contract for the Hellenic Air Forces French fighters. They also settled matters concerning the delivery of transport helicopters to the Hellenic Army.
After the meeting of Mr. Panagiotopoulos and Ms. Parly at the French Ministry for the Armed Forces, the Minister of National Defence made the following statement:
"We met today with the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms. Florence Parly, at the Ministry for the Armed Forces to discuss a series of matters of bilateral and European interest.
We discussed the geopolitical developments in Syria and the East Mediterranean in Block 7 of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and the presence of French and Italian ships close to the Turkish surface vessels accompanying the survey ship in order to record the presence of the European Union against yet another violation by Turkey.
We discussed armaments, specifically the procurement of two frigates for the Hellenic Navy. We signed the statement of intent between the two countries to start the procedure. We have a long way to go before the two sides agree on the specific technical characteristics of the ship according to our Navy's requirements.
We had the opportunity to settle pending issues concerning the support contract for our Air Force's Mirage aircraft in order to improve the Air Force's operational capabilities with this aircraft, which we certainly need.
We also discussed about the transport helicopters and made final arrangements in order to complete the support and delivery of these assets that the Hellenic Army needs.
I am very satisfied because we made great progress in all these three matters. There is a lot of work to be done with the frigates, but the other two are at the final stage and will be resolved to the great benefit of the Armed Forces.
Finally, we discussed a series of interventions, synergies, and cooperations concerning the initiatives and cooperation levels within the framework of the European Defence Policy. Greece will stand beside France in its initiatives, particularly concerning the Enhanced Maritime Surveillance Programmes in the Mediterranean and in particular the East Mediterranean, as well as elsewhere.
We aim at close strategic cooperation with France, which is a friend and ally, within the framework of both NATO and the EU. Today, this relationship was further deepened, to the benefit of both countries".