ND keeps up pressure over controversial arms deal

ND keeps up pressure over controversial arms deal

Conservative New Democracy opposition has called on Greece’s foreign and defense ministers to appear before Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee in connection with a failed deal to sell Greek missiles to Saudi Arabia.

During a press conference Monday, ND spokeswoman Maria Spyraki claimed that surplus missiles sold by Vassilis Papadopoulos, the middleman used by the leftist-led government to broker the deal with Riyadh, ended up in the Syrian city of Raqqa, a former stronghold of Islamic State (ISIS) extremists.

Spyraki cited an official document, produced by the EU’s system for monitoring illicit arms trafficking in July 2014, which allegedly shows that bullets manufactured in Axioupoli, near Kilkis in northern Greece – where a factory owned by Papadopoulos is based – were found in Raqqa.

Spyraki called upon the government to explain “if it checked Papadopoulos or not” when he showed up as a middleman and after he expressed interest in investing in state-owned Hellenic Defense Systems (HDS).

The Defense Ministry issued a statement alleging that Papadopoulos negotiated with HDS in 2014, when Fofi Gennimata, now PASOK chief, was alternate defense minister. “Spyraki can ask her political partner any questions she may have [about Papadopoulos],” it said.

PASOK fired back, condemning the “unprecedented baseness” of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and calling for his suspension.