KYSEA to discuss big arms purchase

The government is to decide today on a major purchase of navy corvettes and attack and transport helicopters, in an order that is expected to cost more than 2.2 billion euros. The Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA), however, will be called on to discuss the issue in the shadow of a war of words between the government spokesman and the conservative New Democracy party. Over the weekend, the conservatives repeatedly suggested that the government might be planning to award contracts to business interests close to it. «On Monday, at the KYSEA meeting for arms procurements, the Simitis government will be tested. There it will show whether it serves the public interest, whether it respects the Greek taxpayer, or whether it serves other interests,» party leader Costas Karamanlis told an ND central committee meeting on Saturday. «And I want to given them a timely warning today: Murky and illegal machinations will not succeed. I declare this categorically.» Government spokesman Christos Protopappas fired back with innuendo of his own. «It is shameful that with no evidence and with inaccuracies he should play with such serious issues and cast artificial shadows on issues of major national importance. Unless the sudden interest in KYSEA’s agenda on Monday has a special ‘interest’ for his party,» Protopappas said. «The current laws governing procedures for arms procurements are followed to the letter,» he added. Sparring between Protopappas and ND spokesman Theodoris Roussopoulos continued in similar vein yesterday.

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