Armed Forces Activities

30/01/2018 13:03:11

Alternate Minister Dimitris Vitsas’ Interview on ERT and journalists Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Mairi Pollali


    The Alternate Minister of National Defence Dimitris Vitsas during an interview on Tuesday 30 January 2018 on “PROTI GRAMMI” morning show on ERT1 and journalists Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Mairi Pollali stated amongst others the following:

    On the negotiation with FYROM:

    We seek to achieve one thing: to reach an agreement – a package deal, without “salami-slicing” the issue, providing also for the naming dispute and the irredentism issue and the necessary commitments on behalf of both countries, but first and foremost, on behalf of Skopje. Let’s not forget that for many years, they had an extreme attitude on the part of their government and Gruevski in particular. The issue should be approached through International Law and based on this, we should move on. Our stance remains the same. It is the one that was laid down to a large extent in 2008, namely a compound name with geographical or other designation instead of all. Nikos Kotzias, in his yesterday’s interview, went even further; he mentioned some things, whether it would be in Slavic, etc.

    On the term “Macedonian” language:

    In my opinion, there is no “Macedonian” language; there is an idiom used in the said wider area and not over the entire Macedonia. It is about a local dialect. One may not be deprived of the right to use it, but I would not call it a “language”. The essential question is the word “Macedonian” and negotiation involves this question.

    The above agreement shall also include the procedure for its activation. We aim at building a relationship of trust and honesty.

    Also, I hear many comments made on “yes, they may amend the Constitution so that they would join NATO and then re-amend it”. That cannot be taken seriously. At the moment, one thing that is jeopardized regarding NATO and the European Union is the existence of a dual name and their accession to such organizations, as FYROM. The fact that we are members of the NATO and the EU may be convincing, but up to a certain point. Nikos Kotzias also referred to this issue yesterday; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot discuss all day long why we raise one or another issue. Just consider that we discuss in NATO with the Americans about a nation of 200 – 250 years old.

    On a question whether “there is an issue with Kammenos”, he replied:

    As you said, there is an issue with Kammenos on the part of the opposition; it involves a use of tactics on its part. “Independent Greeks” party and Kammenos were straightforward and honest right from the start and he also said it yesterday. He has a specific position, to which we – SYRIZA party – are opposed; we have a different position. However, he says that we have shaken hands on an agreement and relating to a particular objective. We move forward in this direction. We stay put and we will reclaim to stay in Government, in order to help the country emerge from the difficult situation as a result of the memorandum options. To lead Greece based on a plan to growth and a stable future and to solve issues that in a way have become a nuisance.

    It is an issue that we talk about; we are all aware of it. However, even though Kammenos has its own position, suddenly “New Democracy” party acquired a non-position. It is not a problem to have different opinions, but New Democracy party has a measure of patriotic responsibility and has not even been capable of mouthing a position? It stands behind the positions that were considered a national line, a red line only a few years ago?


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