The Minister of National Defense Mr. Alcibiades Stefanis participated in the NATO Defense Ministers’ Summit as well as the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group (UDCG) held in Brussels from 15 to 16 June 2023.
The Minister of National Defense, during his interventions at the Summit, welcomed Finland to the North Atlantic Alliance and expressed the belief that Sweden will also be present as a member of the Alliance at the upcoming Summit in Vilnius.
For the war in Ukraine, both in the Summit and in the Contact Group, emphasized that the need to strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces continues to be imperative, while underlining that our country will continue to provide all possible military assistance for as long as it is required. At the same time, it maintains its readiness to actively participate in the immense work of the International Community for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Regarding NATO’s defense reinforcement and deterrence, Mr. Stefanis highlighted the importance of a 360-degree approach, underlining the multidimensional contribution of our country to the Alliance and the pivotal importance of the Port of Alexandroupoli for the security of NATO’s Southeast Wing.
The Minister underlined that the Alliance’s unwavering commitment to collective defense, as provided for in Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, and the political will to protect its members, based on founding principles and values and respect for International Law, are of vital importance.
He also stated that the NATO Center for the Protection of Critical Undersea Infrastructures will contribute to countering threats that violate International Law, the Law of the Sea and the Charter of the United Nations.
Additionally, Mr. Stefanis emphasized that Greece supports the NATO Action Plan for increasing defense industrial production capacity. He pointed out, however, that the initiatives and activities to support the defense industry must be inclusive and based on objective criteria, so as to ensure the mandatory participation of all defense industries from the Alliance states, which can contribute to the collective effort.
In the context of the discussion on the Allies’ new commitment to investments in the Defense sector, the Minister reiterated that Greece fulfills its alliance obligations by keeping its defense spending above the limit of 2% of GDP and investments for the acquisition of weapons systems, Research and Development more than 20%.
He also participated in the signing ceremony of the amendment of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI), due to the accession of four new Allies to it (Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg).
In addition, bilateral meetings were held with the Ministers of Defense of Turkey, Mr. Yaşar Güler of the United Kingdom Mr. Ben Wallaceof Estonia, etc. Hanno Pevkur and Italy Mr. Guido Crosetto (Guido Crosetto)during which matters of mutual interest were discussed.
The Minister held short meetings with the Defense Ministers of the United States, Mr. Lloyd Austinof Germany Mr. Boris Pistoriusof Ukraine Mr. Oleksii Reznikov and the SACEUR General Christopher Cavoli.
The Greek Minister of Defense stated: “Strongly serving the Motherland and our national interests requires us to create, strengthen and maintain channels of communication, as well as relations of mutual respect and friendship, for the benefit of progress and prosperity.”
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