Defence Minister and Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, in an interview on Monday stressed that his trip to the United States was very successful because “it was certified that the US trusts [Greece] as a centre of stability in the south-eastern Mediterranean and that Greece is upgraded both in relation to the US and in relation to the surrounding countries to the south and the north.”
He said the trip had secured US assistance to the Armed Forces to upgrade the equipment of all three branches of the Greek armed forces at the level of assistance programmes.
He said that the United States is also expecting initiatives by Greece in relation to the region’s energy security, adding that “the agreements signed with Exxon Mobil and Total prove that Greece is not just a centre through which energy is in transit, as it is the case with LPG in Alexandroupolis, but that the new pipeline connecting Egyptian-Israeli-Cyprus stocks with those of Greece and giving autonomy to Europe is of particular importance to the US.”
Regarding military bases, he noted that Karpathos was the only Greek base for which he had requested any kind of reinforcement through the presence of Alliance forces, “three years ago now and publicly”. He pointed out that the airport on the island was constructed with NATO funds and was “NASA’s alternative ‘Canaveral’ airport,” adding that it was in Greece’s interest to bring Allied forces there.
The Prespes Agreement is the government’s position
“I clarified that the government’s position is still the Prespes Agreement, as expressed by the prime minister and the foreign minister, but as a government partner I want to make it clear that I will not vote for it in Parliament,” said Kammenos. He also said that the alternative proposal (plan B) was “the coalition partner’s” and one which the prime minister was aware of “but does not approve of as a government policy.”