The Minister of National Defense Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos had today, Thursday, August 4, 2022, a meeting with the Minister of Defense of Estonia, Mr. Hanno Pevkur, who is making an official visit to Greece. The meeting was attended by the Deputy Minister of National Defense Mr. Nikolaos Hardaliasthe Chief GEETHA General Konstantinos Florosthe Chief General Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis PN, the Chief of General Staff (I) Themistocles Bourolias and the Deputy Commander GES Lieutenant General George Kellisrepresenting the absent Chief.
During the meeting, the Minister of National Defense underlined that, both during the visit of his Estonian counterpart to Greece, as well as during his previous official visit to Estonia last November, the strong friendship of the two countries and the close their defense cooperation, both bilaterally and within the framework of the EU. and NATO.
As Mr. Panagiotopoulos mentioned, the desire is to deepen and strengthen the cooperation between Greece and Estonia and, in this context, the participation of Greek and Estonian military personnel in mutually beneficial educational programs and activities organized in the two countries was discussed.
The security situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Baltic region was also discussed.
The Minister emphasized that the climate of tension cultivated by Turkey undermines security and stability in our region and the cohesion of NATO.
Regarding the developments in Ukraine, after the unprovoked Russian invasion, solidarity and the will to help and support Ukraine, in every possible way, was expressed.
Also, the Minister mentioned that Greece has strong alliances, which are based on the rules of International Law and the principle of good neighborly relations, and the visit of the Estonian counterpart provided the opportunity for a more complete understanding of the threats and challenges faced by the two countries and strengthening their cooperation for their effective treatment.
During their joint statements to media representatives, the two Ministers emphasized the following:
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: “Dear Minister, dear Hanno,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you today in Athens, at the Ministry of National Defense. Your visit to Greece, like mine to Estonia, created an opportunity to reaffirm the strong friendship between our countries, as well as our close military cooperation, both bilaterally and within the framework of the EU. and NATO.
We share the same values and principles and a common vision for peace, security and stability in Europe and beyond. Today we had a very constructive meeting. Our common desire is to deepen and strengthen the cooperation between Greece and Estonia and, in this context, we discussed the participation of Greek and Estonian military in mutually beneficial programs and activities organized in our countries and in our military training facilities.
With Minister Mr. Pevkur we discussed the security situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Baltic region. I had the opportunity to underline that the climate of tension that Turkey is unfortunately creating undermines security and stability in our region and the cohesion of NATO.
We also discussed the developments in Ukraine following the Russian invasion and reiterated our will to help Ukraine in any way possible.
Greece has always supported initiatives that promote stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean and our wider region.
We must create strong alliances with friendly countries, based on the rules of International Law and the principle of good neighborly relations. I am glad that our discussions with Minister Mr. Pevkur were very useful to better understand the threats and challenges facing our countries and to discuss how, through joint efforts, we can effectively address them.
Mr. Minister, dear Hanno,
I would like to thank you for your visit and wish you every success in your new demanding duties.”
HANNO PEBKUR: “Dear Minister,
First of all, I am happy to say that it is a privilege and an honor to be back in Athens. It is a beautiful country and the hospitality is always warm. Regardless of whether I come unofficially as a tourist or officially, the hospitality has always exceeded all expectations.
I would like to underline that on May 6 Estonia and Greece completed one hundred years of diplomatic relations. It is an important date and milestone from which we will further develop our relations in the defense sector. So to put it geographically we are “frontline” states on different sides of NATO and the EU. This brings us closer together and helps us better understand each other’s Security concerns.
Estonia certainly attaches great importance to Mediterranean Security and we are committed to safeguarding peace and security in the Alliance. Solidarity and unity among Allies is of the utmost importance and our efforts in the South, East and North support each other on matters of Alliance Security. Considering Estonia’s position on the map we cannot overlook the Russian aggression currently being carried out in Ukraine.
Russia destroys the rules and considers itself a world superpower and the war in Ukraine shows that Russia does not hesitate to use military force. The Russian Armed Forces are currently operating in Ukraine, remain there and will continue to threaten Security in the wider region. I sincerely believe that Ukraine needs our help and support and I am very glad that Greece is making a significant effort to help Ukraine.
Estonia’s aid to date is around €245 million which is almost 13% (or 30%) of our Defense Budget but we are thinking of increasing it in the coming weeks. I am very happy about the decision to grant the candidate status for joining the EU. for Ukraine. And as far as NATO is concerned, it is important that all the decisions taken at the Madrid meeting are already in the process of being implemented.
And this is something that shows very good cooperation and we must have very good cooperation for these decisions and their implementation. So when it comes to international cooperation, this is very important to us, even though we are not currently involved in international missions. Looking back to the past, the cooperation in the “Takuba” force in Mali was a very important and successful cooperation for us. Internationally we expect to have more collaborations of this kind.
So to sum up, Estonia and Greece and not only us but everyone in our alliance will take the necessary measures to keep the NATO alliance protected and for my part I see no other option than to support Ukraine. We must help Ukraine as much as possible. So in short, these are my comments for today and I really appreciate this hospitality, I repeat it. I look forward to the next collaboration programs we plan to have.
First Appeared at: defence247.gr