The Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas, and the Deputy Minister Maria Kollia – Tsaroucha, accompanied by the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis (HN), the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis (HN) and the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General (HAF) Christos Christodoulou, as well as the Commander of the D’ Army Corps, Lieutenant General Georgios Kampas, attended on Friday, October 12th 2018, the final stage of “PARMENION 2018” Joint Exercise. The exercise was also attended by members of the Parliament representing the region, Mayors and other representatives of local authorities, as well as Defence Attachés from many countries.
Upon the completion of the Exercise, the Alternate Minister at his address congratulated the leadership of the Armed Forces and all those who participated in the said Exercise, officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and militiamen, stressing the following:
“You have all demonstrated your high level of combat effectiveness, your professionalism, as well as the selflessness that fills you while performing your duties. Once again, you have all confirmed that the personnel of the Armed Forces has a strong deterrent presence, through which our Country safeguards its national sovereignty rights and its territorial integrity against any outside plotting”.
He also mentioned:
“Today, thanks to the members of the Armed Forces, we are sending an explicit message; that we have the power and we have a deterrent force. We are sending this message to all neighboring countries and to every corner of the earth. It is a message of friendship and at the same time, a message indicating that the national sovereignty is not negotiable and that we have effective Armed Forces, ready to defend it.
The Armed Forces are the warrantors of our security. Their personnel are children of the Greek people and deserve recognition and respect; because, despite the adversities endured as a result of the economic situation, they remained faithful to their values and their mission.
The human resources of the Armed Forces constitute their force multiplier. At this point, from a purely human standpoint, recognizing the contribution of the Armed Forces in solving all kinds of problems, I would like to call on all political parties and all politicians to leave the Armed Forces and their members out of political controversies.
The largest part of the Armed Forces’ social contribution is unfolded in the border areas of Greece. The presence of local members of the Parliament, mayors from the Prefecture of Evros, but also the wider region of Thrace, suggests recognition on one hand of the Armed Forces’ social work and on the other hand of their principal task, which consists in the safeguarding of our territorial integrity, so that people would live here peacefully, grow up with their families and develop themselves professionally and spiritually.
An enormous social work has been carried out in the area of the D’ Army Corps. People live here in peace and grow up their families. They are sending in turn their own message, recognizing the contribution of the Armed Forces that assist them whenever required, calling on us to respect them and to leave them out of partisan and political controversies, so that they would keep on fulfilling their mission properly and successfully.
Concluding, I would like to say that in my capacity as Alternate Minister of National Defence I feel proud of the Armed Forces, not only of their high operational readiness, their high level of professionalism, their high moral character and their high spirits, but for one more reason: During the previous difficult period from a financial point of view, they managed not to lose their deterrent force, but also to strengthen our country’s geopolitical position.
Greece of crisis and misery now belongs to the past and Greece of pride, self-confidence and force in all sectors takes its place.
You went through tough times and it is solely attributable to you. The Ministry of National Defence and the Government are ready to recognize your work and show their gratitude in practice for the decency and the effort that you make on a daily basis. Besides, men and women of the Armed Forces, you deserve that”.
The Alternate Minister of National Defence, speaking with reporters, stated:
“From Thrace and Evros, the message that is coming out is that we owe to the Armed Forces our country’s capacity for feeling safe in a difficult region. After a period of major economic crisis, the Armed Forces managed with less money – and with efforts made by their leadership – to keep their spirits and their deterrent force high, so that nobody would dare to attack on our country’s integrity.
A great effort is currently made in the Balkans, with the participation also of our country, so that all people would be able to live in peace with prosperity and development. The leadership of the neighboring country should be rational; they should think right and think of the interests of their societies, in line with the possibility of co-existence and solidarity. We got nothing on each other; there are so many things that unite us.
The Armed Forces are the ones that support and will support all efforts. Our people have no ambitions against other people; they only want to defend their national sovereignty rights; Our country, the Greek Government and the leadership of the Armed Forces have sent out this message”.