US envoy, defense minister discuss arms

US Ambassador Thomas Miller met yesterday with Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who was appointed to the position a week ago, and underscored the United States’ interest in Greece’s arms procurements. This was Miller’s third visit to the Defense Ministry in two weeks. During their talks yesterday, Miller and Papantoniou discussed Greek-US defense cooperation and the advantages of various American weapons systems, Papantoniou said. Here we maintain absolutely transparent procedures, which will lead to the best possible result in all the tenders that are presently under way, he added. All the procurements programs that have been agreed on by the Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense will be carried out quickly, effectively and in a transparent manner, Papantoniou said. Miller said that he was not the representative of arms companies but that among his more important responsibilities was to make sure that US companies have a level playing field to deal with. The meeting also focused on the campaign against international terrorism and the facilities that Greece was providing to this end, as well as the situation in the Balkans – especially regarding the departure of US forces and their replacement by the troops of other countries, including Greece. Papantoniou said that there is no US request for Greek forces to join in the Afghanistan campaign. He repeated that Greece is taking part with the US in the framework of a broader political alliance in this struggle, in accordance with the spirit and the letter of decisions by the European Council in Ghent.

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