The Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos, accompanied by the Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff, Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, visited the “NYMFEAS”, “PLAGION”, “PETALOU” and “GEFYRAS KIPON” Surveillance Outposts, where he exchanged wishes with the military personnel. The Minister will also visit the “GEMISTIS” Surveillance Outpost.
The Minister of National Defence made the following statement:
“I came to the outposts today, accompanied by the Chief of Hellenic Army General Staff and the Commanding General of D Army Corps, to wish Merry Christmas to the Officers, NCOs, Enlisted Soldiers, and National Guardsmen, especially here, in Komotini, in our Thrace, where conditions are hard, mostly for the soldiers who come here from other parts of Greece.
I would like to wish them a Happy New Year. Last year was one of the last difficult years of the crisis. Things will get even better. I would like to thank and congratulate them, because the Armed Forces, during the crisis, showed responsibility, professionalism, and high morale, which helped our country be geopolitically strengthened and manage to become the main part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem in the broader region, what the US Secretary of State called a “plan A” country, i.e. one of the main countries to bring peace, security and balance to the broader region.”
JOURNALIST’S QUESTION: “Have you stated that this is your last time as Minister of National Defence?”
P.KAMMENOS: “I stated that this may be my last time as Minister of National Defence. It is known that I have announced that in case the Prespes Agreement comes to Parliament, I will step down as Minister of National Defence and leave the governmental coalition. It is my duty to do so. For all it is worth, the Armed Forces are not involved in any of this. The Armed Forces remain united, they are not involved in political differences that may exist in the Greek Parliament, they serve the flag, the national emblem, and the country.”
JOURNALIST’S QUESTION: “Minister, Thrace is always in your heart.”
P.KAMMENOS: “Despite my capacity, Thrace, and especially Komotini, will always be in my heart. Here, at the Pomak villages, we did very good work and I would like to congratulate both the Chief and the General, as well as all the Officers, NCOs of the Engineer Corps and our soldiers, because we provided the opportunity in many villages for schools to operate, for some roads and infrastructures to be built – using the available assets of the Studies and Construction Unit and the Armed Forces and the Army’s services - for cultural centers to operate again, and we ensured the disbursement of funds for such purposes with regard to this region. Because Thrace, and especially Komotini, needs these funds, as well as some villages which, I must confess, were abandoned for many years.
As you saw, in my visit in the outpost, I stated that the State is to blame for the neglect of some villages, especially in mountainous Thrace; we must provide for, embrace, stand beside the villages, see the smile in children’s faces again and not allow anyone who uses questionable funds of unknown origin to exercise politics, trying to pass fundamentalism and hatred to a region where Greeks, Pomak Greeks, Muslim Greeks, the Muslim religious minority, live in peace, under the protection of the Hellenic state, which treats everyone equally, as provided by the Constitution”.