The Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis attended, after being invited by the Ambassador of France in Greece Christophe Chantepy, a formal event aboard the French frigate LANGUEDOC, on Wednesday 17 April 2019. LANGUEDOC is docked in Piraeus from 13 to 18 April 2019.
The Chief of HNDGS General Christos Christodoulou, the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis and the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis also attended the event.
Below you can read the address of the Minister of National Defence:
“I would like to thank you for inviting me here today and for your warm welcome and hospitality. It is always a particular pleasure for me to be aboard a ship and furthermore a ship of unique and particularly advanced capabilities such as this. Moreover, this ship belongs to a historically friendly country and traditional ally, France.
First of all, as a representative of the Hellenic Government but also on a personal note, I would like to express my sorrow about the events of the day before yesterday, which resulted in the extensive damages of Notre-Dame. This monument is a symbol and landmark not just for Paris and France but for the entire world. It is a monument which has been reflecting the French culture and civilisation for over 850 years.
I am optimistic that it will soon return to its former glory, with the assistance and contribution of Greece and the entire global community. I sincerely wish for its swift restoration.
Greece will be at your side, honouring our traditionally exceptional relations. Relations which have been preserved unbroken through the course of our common history.
I would like to stress that Greece and France have historically been enjoying exceptional bilateral relations and share the same views on peace, security and prosperity in the regions of our geopolitical interest.
We have mutually proven our strong will for furtherance of Greece-France relations and of our Armed Forces, at a bilateral as well as a European level, in the context of the alliance or other International Organisations. In the said effort, I wish to stress the great importance of your contribution, Mr Ambassador. For us, the upgrade of our defence relations constitutes a very high priority.
Our countries constitute pillars of stability, making our cooperation throughout the fields, defence included, a factor securing enhancement and consolidation of a secure environment and the establishment of appropriate conditions for development, prosperity and peace.
So we are sending the message that our countries, but also other countries which comprehend the new reality and respect the International Law and the international lawful order, guarantee normality, progress and development.
Greece has a main role in the context of defence regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, always based on cooperation and peaceful coexistence with other states. Greece promotes peace and cooperation.
Thank your, once more, for honouring me through your invitation to be here today, aboard this ship docked in Piraeus and which constitutes another symbolic confirmation of our historic friendship and the unbroken bonds between Greece and France.
Happy Easter everyone”.