The Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos, accompanied by the Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis and the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis HN, visited Rho, Strongyli and Meghisti. In the Island Defence Command of Meghisti, he inaugurated 12 high readiness quarters, for the accommodation of the Armed Forces' members.
Afterwards, he visited "GRIGOROPOULOS" MISSILE BOAT, which was at Meghisti bay and exchanged wishes with the captain and the crew, on the occasion of Christmas holidays.
The Minister of National Defence, during his visit to the Island Defence Command of Meghisti, stated the following:
“It is with great pleasure that we are here today once again, to the North-Eastern edge of our country, to inaugurate 12 more quarters, which will accommodate our Army's families and personnel, who serve the country, in this remote place, in the context of the program that we have undertaken along with the General Staffs, in order to satisfy the accommodation needs for as many personnel as possible.
I have repeatedly stated that all Greeks and the members of the Armed Forces' big family contributed, through their sacrifices, in the successful effort of the country to get out of the crisis. During this effort, as you may have realised, our care for the personnel did not stop, not even for an instant. On the contrary, we intensified our efforts, through many actions, to improve the personnel's everyday life.
I have personally observed the development of this effort, and, since 2015, we are able to constantly provide improvements in our personnel's living conditions.
Here, from this camp, I promised in 2015, that at the end of this four-year period, we would be able to cover the total needs of the Armed Forces personnel. We have achieved approximately 95%. In the next months we will cover the rest of all personnel's needs.
We constantly strive to improve our members' everyday life and the life of their families through actions, and we seek solutions to their problems and needs.
Besides, it is our debt to you, to the Aegean fighters, to the guardians of international law and of international agreements. Your role here is extremely difficult. On one hand, because, by undertaking the responsibility to protect this Greek island, you consolidate the sense of security in every Greek citizen, stating that your presence acts as a brake on anyone who does not respect the International Law and the international agreements. On the other hand, you defend the national financial interests, which are secured worldwide and they are not at all questioned. Obviously, I refer to the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Exclusive Economic Zone of Kastellorizo has a special meaning for our country's economy. Within the next months, the declaration of the Exclusive Economic Zone will provide the possibility for our country to extract natural gas from big deposits that will cover the needs for the next generations.
Our presence here is one more chance to communicate to our neighbours the message that this country remains faithful to its ancestors' ideals, the people who first laid the foundations for the democracy regime and donated it to the world. In addition, we are a peaceful country, but we ask respect, as we respect others.
We will crash those who will not respect our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are determined to protect our country, to protect our home.
The implementation of this program also constitutes our policy's justification. A policy which depends on transparency and legality, and clearly promotes the fiscal reform, since part of this program was executed only by services of the Ministry of National Defence, displaying once more the high level of our manpower’s expertise.
I would like to make a special reference regarding the personnel of the 95th National Guard Engineer Battalion in Rhodes, which executed extended works on the rocky terrain of Meghisti, as well as the 736th Military Works Directorate, for its contribution as a supervising authority.
So, we are pleased to finally possess 51 quarters, covering, as I stated before, a great percentage of the total accommodation needs of the personnel who serve on the island.
This attempt is a part of the total program that we have undertaken, along with the General Staffs, in order to satisfy a greater percentage of our personnel’s housing needs, giving priority to the islands and Evros and anywhere else we can provide accommodation to our personnel.
On behalf of the Government and all the Greek people, I express my gratitude to all of you. The Armed Forces are not involved in political disputes, they unite the Greek people. The strength of the Greek people is their unity, under the national emblem, the Flag, which we took an oath to protect, to the last drop of our blood.
Congratulations to you also, Mr. Mayor, to the local authorities and to the residents of the island, because together with our personnel you guard our country.
I would like to assure you that our State stands by your side every day, an assistant and supporter of your work.
I wish you happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and good health to you and your families. May the Birth of Jesus Christ bring happiness to all and especially to our Country, now that it is free from our creditors' bonds, now that the time when it ceded its national sovereignty has passed, due to this very independence to exploit its natural resources, provided especially by Kastellorizo, and may help it deal with a new situation.
I wish our children and grand-children stop leaving this country, and those who left to come back and make our country even stronger. And I wish our country to continue being a guarantee of security for the wider region, just like it is, now, a pillar of stability in South-eastern Mediterranean Sea.”