Fur flying in Parliament over Saudi defense deal

Fur flying in Parliament over Saudi defense deal

The tone was acrimonious in Parliament on Monday as the opposition clashed with the government over a controversial deal with Saudi Arabia to sell 66 million euros’ worth of surplus materiel.

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Defense Minister Panos Kammenos of underhanded tactics, saying he used a private broker to negotiate the deal when this is expressly forbidden by Greek law.

He also called on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to clarify his position vis-a-vis the accusations made against his defense minister and coalition partner, who has also come under fire from within the ranks of ruling SYRIZA over concerns that Saudi Arabia may use the Greek missiles in question in its campaign against Yemen.

“Mr Tsipras, are you being blackmailed by Mr Kammenos that he will make the government fall?” the conservative leader said, addressing the prime minister who has been accused of not taking a tougher stance towards his coalition partner over the allegations.

Earlier, Kammenos denied breaching protocol and said that the broker who negotiated the deal, Vassilis Papadopoulos, was acting for Saudi Arabia and not for Greece, despite claims to the opposite from Riyadh.

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