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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE EVANGELOS APOSTOLAKIS AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THE NATO DEFENCE MINISTERS MEETING OF 14 FEBRUARY 2019

JOURNALIST’S QUESTION: Can you make an assessment of the outcome of the contacts you had during these two days at the NATO Defence Ministers meeting?

E. APOSTOLAKIS: This meeting at NATO was quite critical. A lot of meetings took place these days, which are of great importance for Greece. One meeting was really important; it was with my Turkish counterpart on matters regarding the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The following meeting was with NATO Secretary General, Mr. Stoltenberg, with whom we discussed NATO and organization matters, as well as matters of NATO missions in which we participate.

Then, I met with my counterpart from North Macedonia, Ms. Sekerinska, with whom we set the foundation for immediate military cooperation, in order to achieve positive results as soon as possible, so that the Armed Forces of our neighboring country are prepared to be integrated into NATO.

Today, the matter that was discussed more than any other was NATO operations, if we still participate, the arising problems, and all these matters pertaining to said operations, as well as the cooperation of the European Union with NATO, a matter on which we exchanged views. This carefully planned cooperation starts to pay off and the biggest project of those presented is PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation), which comprises many cooperation projects, especially with regard to matters of defence cooperation among the European Union states. Today, it was also announced by the European Defence Agency that there is enough money for the financing of all these projects, and, if I remember correctly, it amounts to approximately 30 billion.

I think that today's meeting ended with very good results and we expect to see further developments.

In the end, what is most important about these meetings and contacts is to pursue our constant effort to preserve peace in the region, to reduce the problems, and to increase the security and the sense of security in the region and for the people living in the region.