The two-day Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels, in which the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos participated, was completed.
During the meeting, the participants considered topics of operations and missions, and they also exchanged views on topics pertinent to the European and transatlantic security. A meeting was also held regarding the security conditions in Afghanistan which was attended by the special representative of the United Nations.
At a bilateral level, the Minister of National Defence met his counterparts of Estonia, Mr. Jüri Luik, Portugal Mr. João Gomes Cravinho, Turkey Mr. Hulusi Akar and Northern Macedonia Ms. Radmila Shekerinska.
After the end of the Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, the Minister of National Defence delivered the following statement:
“I had the chance, during this two-day Meeting of the Alliance’s Defence Ministers, to discuss with my counterparts the significant progress of the institutional and operational adaptation of NATO Defence and Deterrence posture. The Meeting focused on the developments in the strategic environment of the wider area of the Middle East, including Northern Africa, which, as you may know, affect directly the security of our country and they are a top priority for us.
I was given the chance to reiterate that military activities, like the ones in Northern Syria, and agreements with the Government of Tripoli in Libya, in violation of the International Law, are reasons of major concern for us since they contribute to the destabilization of the Eastern Mediterranean. I also stressed the particular importance we give to the further reinforcement of the Alliance’s activities in the Aegean Sea for the interception of migration flows from Turkey, and I asked all the Allies to contribute according to their capabilities.
In the working dinner, we welcomed, for the first time, the new High Commissioner of the EU on matters of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Mr. Josep Borrell. In this meeting, I stressed the importance we give to deepening the relation between the two organizations, without any arbitrary exclusion of member-states, and showing respect to their institutional independence and autonomy in decision making.
Moreover, during the meeting with our Ukrainian counterpart, I reiterated our country’s concern about the security of the Greek community, mostly residing near Mariupol, which is directly affected by the current situation in the eastern part of the country.
As far as the meeting I had with my Turkish counterpart is concerned, with Mr. Akar we exchanged views on how the forthcoming talks in Athens between military delegations about the Confidence Building Measures may contribute to reducing tensions in bilateral relations.
I made it clear, of course, that for the military dialogue to be successful, at the same time, provocative behaviours which undermine any effort of building confidence should be avoided.”