The Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos briefed at noon the members of the Permanent Committee of National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Greek Parliament at “Ioannis Kapodistrias” Hall, in the Ministry of National Defence, following a relative request by the Chairman of the Committee Mr. Konstantinos Gioulekas.
In addition to the members of the Committee, the briefing was also attended by the Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Christos Christodoulou (HAF), the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff Lieutenant General Georgios Kampas, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis (HN), the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis (HAF) and the Secretary General of the Ministry of National Defence Mr. Antonios Oiconomou.
The briefing lasted more that three and a half hours and concerned the results of the Autumn Session of NATO Defence Ministers and the bilateral meetings on its sidelines, the legislative initiatives of the Ministry of National Defence, the conclusions of the 3rd Trilateral Meeting among Greece-Cyprus-Egypt, as well as the current military developments at a national and international level.
In his introductory address the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos stated the following:
“Dear ladies and colleagues,
Although this is a meeting of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defence, allow me to start first, since, after discussions in the Parliament, we agreed on hosting the meeting here, in the Ministry of National Defence, in order to brief you.
I will speak by way of introduction, informing you on all that happened in the recent NATO Defence Ministers Session in Brussels, which are very interesting. Next, there will be a briefing by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff and other Staffs, in order for you to have a complete picture of everything that happens with regard to recent developments and programming, here, in the Ministry of National Defence.
Despite the problems, the delays, the shortages, through a hard and intense effort, we assure the battle-worthiness, readiness, and ultimately the strong deterrent power of the Armed Forces”.
During the start of the meeting, the Chairman of the Permanent Committee of National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Greek Parliament Mr. Konstantinos Gioulekas stated:
“Ladies and dear colleagues,
Chiefs of Staffs,
We thank the Minister of National Defence who immediately responded to the request of having a more comprehensive briefing regarding Armed Forces issues. This briefing could not be held anywhere but here, the headquarters of the Armed Forces Leadership.
I want you to know Minister that our Committee, through the new composition, is trying its best to closely observe the developments, even with its upgraded status. So, the competent bodies keep on informing us. You have personally attended the Committee, you have briefed us along with the Deputy Minister, the former Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Mr. Alkiviadis Stefanis. You have also attended the Armaments Committee, where we discussed several issues as well. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikos Dendias has also attended the Committee twice, as well as other officials, who briefed our Committee on issues of their jurisdiction.
Along with the thanks of all colleagues, I would like to say that this is a discussion concerning this briefing and that is the reason why this discussion takes place in the Ministry of National Defence and not in the Parliament, which is the place for a Parliamentary Committee to hold a meeting.
We are really content that this visit is extremely essential in nature. It involves the briefing by the most competent bodies and especially in a region and during a period of continuous tensions and challenges. In this context, our country, always in compliance with the International Law as a stabilizing factor in our wider region, conveys a clear message that we are constantly working to assure peace and Democracy in the wider region.
On the other hand though-and this is the meaning of today’s meeting, today’s discussion-we convey the message that Greece is determined and has the power to this direction to consolidate peace in the best possible way, ensuring its sovereign rights, by means of the battle-worthy Armed Forces acting as a deterrent factor.
In this context Minister, we come here to be informed on more things regarding the Armed Forces of the country, the deterrent factor that constitutes the safest guarantee for peace and for understanding the present status that Greece also believes in, struggles and strives to preserve it in the wider region. I repeat, in a region, where, unfortunately, challenges and tensions are one too many”.