The Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, in the framework of his official visit to Portugal, met this morning his Portuguese counterpart, Mr. João Gomes Cravinho.
Following the conclusion of the meeting, the two Ministers signed a bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement.
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: “It was with great pleasure and honour that I met today in person – despite the obstacles imposed by the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemics – my Portuguese counterpart, a good friend and colleague, the Minister João Gomes Cravinho.
In the course of our meeting, we had an excellent conversation on issues of mutual interest relating to the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the security and stability challenges and threats, as well as on the need to work together to build a safer environment for the protection of our countries and our people. We also discussed the role of the Armed Forces in addressing and limiting the consequences of Covid-19.
I am glad we had a chance to agree on further strengthening our defence cooperation, both on a bilateral basis and in the framework of EU and NATO, so that we would deal with the security challenges with unity, determination and solidarity, as circumstances require.
Our will to deepen our cooperation was sealed with the conclusion of a “Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement”, by which a new chapter opens in our Defence partnership. We also agreed on arranging Professional Forums for Defence Industries both in Athens and in Lisbon, with the intention of creating close synergies in the Defence sector, but also in the framework of EU defence initiatives, such as PESCO and the European Defence Fund”.
JOÃO GOMES CRAVINHO: “I am particularly pleased with the meeting with my Greek counterpart; there are a lot of cooperation issues of common interest, while the conclusion of a Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement offers an additional tool that would allow the deepening of relations between both countries in the defence sector. Despite the climate of tension that, as you know, prevails in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Minister maintained his will and paid the visit with the intention of signing the bilateral agreement and promoting our bilateral dialogue. We share numerous issues that we considered today, such as our participation in the plans of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), as well as our participation in NATO, which is at a stage of significant development. At the same time, we also share many concerns about either issues related to regional threats or issues related to opportunities for the development of cooperation between our defence industries.
Therefore, I should like to express my satisfaction with my meeting today with the Greek Minister of National Defence, in the confidence that it will give a strong impetus to relations between Greece and Portugal in the defence sector”.