Armed Forces Activities

08/02/2018 13:43:03

Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas' interview to 247 Radio Station,with the journalist Kostas Aravanitis

    The Alternate Minister of National Defence Dimitris Vitsas, during an interview with journalist Kostas Aravanitis at 247 Radio Station today, Tuesday 8 February 2018, stated among other things the following:

    Regarding the Novartis scandal:

    Let’s get to the core of this issue: four trillion Euros is the EU’s pharmaceutical expenditure. It is estimated that 23 billion Euros have been lost from Greece for pharmaceutical expenditure, three billion of which regard Novartis.

    Last July, a workshop took place in Athens, regarding the protection of whistleblowers. Two issues were brought up, the Panama Papers and Novartis. The fact that the Novartis scandal is in progress across the world was already known, as well as the fact that Justice took over so as to resolve such issues. I can understand that the people who are accused will protest; we have to respect the presumption of innocence. However, the entire political world has to facilitate the process of reaching the truth, so that those who are innocent can be proven innocent and those who are guilty, politicians on non-politicians, pay the price, may that be prosecution or moral disdain.

    Nonetheless, regarding the fact that the head of the Opposition refers to hooded witnesses, you should know that as far as the international protection of whistleblowers is concerned, the first thing the Law protects them from is the issue of imminent prosecution, not only of threat against life, and I will not proceed any further. Not long ago, aMaltese journalist was murdered for disclosing the Paradise Papers.

    What did Mr. Mitsotakis compare exactly? The hooded witnesses cooperated with the Nazis, while the whistleblowers cooperate with Justice and they are not unknown to those who need to know them. One should comprehend if the words he chooses to say might be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate Justice.

    Justly or not, one might claim that he is innocent; I can understand that, it is normal, it is his right, and it is a human reaction. However, we all know that this is a right that can be, and it actually is, exercised by everyone. I really hope that the majority of those who claim that they are innocent, really are innocent – however, even he who is guilty will initially claim his innocence.

    Light should be cast on this matter, we should all insist on having it fully investigated and unravelled. The important thing is that the defence line that is being formed seems very broad and might not reach the essence of this scandal. The media also got involved. At the same time, the media show that the issue of sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia has reached the Parliament – and I say that it is welcome. It is strange that, even though it is discussed, I asked on that same day if it had reached the Parliament and, until yesterday afternoon, it had not. Panos Kammenos said that he will not exercise his right to use the law concerning Ministerial accountability.

    We should get over with this outdated attitude and build a new one; all political parties of the democratic arc should contribute to this effort.

    Regarding the issue of negotiating with FYROM:

    This is a demanding issue that will not be over by simply taking a step. Two nations are involved and there are specific issues to be resolved. The position of the Government and SYRIZA is that a complex name must be created and used domestically and abroad, at all international organisations and fora, that irredentism must be eliminated, etc.
    Our key goal, and it should be the goal of all Greeks, is to achieve stability in the region, which will be applied to both the frontiers and the relations of the nations. The last war in our region ended less than 20 years ago and in the past 100 years there has always been turbulence in the area.

    It is fundamental that we all co-develop, cooperate and resolve the issues that trouble and hurt us at any given chance. We are at the beginning of the negotiation. I believe that an agreement at international level, ratified by the United Nations’ bodies, takes the form of International Law and finally prevails. This is the first, the most essential step to resolving these issues, and what we should insist on.

    It is not a case of salami tactics, since this agreement will include everything: it will be a bulk agreement including, more than the name, the procedures regarding irredentism and its issues, the frontier issue, the frontier guarantees and it will eventually lead to actions or omissions.

    Regarding the question on FYROM joining NATO and then violating the agreement:

    Imagine a country that joins an international organisation and then befools it; besides the fact that there are expulsion procedures, as well as the prospect of international outcry and isolation, the argument is ridiculous.

    Reaching an agreement will help our country meet its broader objectives, which are cooperation and peace in the Balkans. Remember the meeting between 4 leaders in Belgrade; how will it be put into practice if solutions do not get promoted? I do not know whether we will reach a solution or not, as this issue does not only involve the two countries, Greece and Skopje, but the entire international community, which might not understand in many cases the mindset of various people or political forces in Greece.

    Regarding the question whether there is a problem with the Governor of the Bank of Greece:

    When someone is accused, it does not mean that he is guilty. There is no obsession with the Governor of the Bank of Greece. We should let this investigation go on as far as it can; it should get to the bone and clean up the rot. The Governor of the Bank of Greece is, for now, presumed innocent, just like everybody else. We must respect Justice. Justice should be respected in general, as an institution.  




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