Defense minister offers to bolster NATO, help fight against terrorism

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Tuesday declared that Greece was prepared to grant the use of its military bases and its forces to boost security in the region and bolster international efforts to curb terrorism, adding that NATO should rethink policy relating to its “southern flank.”

In comments at a conference on defense and security organized by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens, Kammenos said, “Greece is ready to undertake this initiative in NATO’s southern sector.” He added that Greece would grant the use of “facilities, our armed forces and large bases in the region of the southern Aegean, to facilitate the forces of the alliance in the war against terrorism.”

With the stances of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias notably different to those set out by Kammenos yesterday, government sources expressed concern over the defense minister’s comments. Diplomatic sources appeared troubled by the fact that matters of strategic importance were being broached at a conference.

Kammenos’s comments on Turkey also raised eyebrows. He questioned how senior Turkish government officials can visit Greece while Turkish aircraft violate its air space. His comments, which were made at the conference, followed a meeting with Turkey’s Ambassador in Athens Kerim Uras.

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