Israeli President Reuven Rivlin & Defence Minister Kammenos visit Salamis Naval Base
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, currently on the last day of a three-day official visit to Greece, on Wednesday accompanied Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos to the Salamis Naval Base on the island of Salamina near Athens. It is the first visit by a foreign president to the headquarters of the Hellenic Navy Fleet.
Rivlin referred to the war in Syria and its impact on the surrounding region, Israel and Europe as a whole. He pointed out that a key for stability in the region will be the creation of a joint regional force through Greek-Israeli military cooperation, while he noted that such cooperation will serve and contribute to the security of both countries. He expressed hope that cooperation with Greece will continue and make progress in all areas.
Panos Kammenos, on his part, noted that the presence of Israel’s president at the Greek Navy’s fleet headquarters sent a very strong message of peace, cooperation, stability and progress. He referred to an “axis of stability” built up in recent years through the efforts of the two countries and their armed forces, “in cooperation with all the moderate countries of the surrounding region” in order to stop those seeking to transport terrorism and fundamentalism to the Mediterranean and the West.
Kammenos emphasised the Navy’s special role in this effort, both by policing the Mediterranean to stamp out illegal activities that help to finance terrorism as well as by ensuring the free movement of energy, noting that this would benefit the European Union, Middle East and Mediterranean, as well as the two countries.
Both Kammenos and Rivlin emphasized the need to ensure the free movement of offshore energy assets and the importance of this for Europe.
The Israeli president’s visit started with an official reception, followed by a briefing from the Commander in Chief of the Hellenic Fleet Vice Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos that lasted more than an hour. The meeting was also attended by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) chief Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, the head of the Hellenic Navy General Staff (HNGS) Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, as well as the Israeli Navy Commander Rear Admiral Eli Sharvit and Israel’s Ambassador to Greece Irit Ben-Abba.
Wrapping up his visit to the naval base, Rivlin signed the visitors’ book and spoke with the crew of the Navy frigate “Salamis”. Then, he boarded the gunboat “Daniolos” and was shown around the site of the historic naval battle of Salamis, between the ancient Greeks and Persians in 480 BC, commenting that “the events that occurred here change the course of world history”. The Israeli president and the two delegations then disembarked in Piraeus port, while the “Daniolos” returned to the base.