No deal on French frigates, says government spokesman
Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos confirmed on Tuesday that there is currently no deal with France to lease two Fremm-type frigates for a period of five years, but that the government is “exploring different projects” concerning its defence.
Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis told SKAI TV channel last Friday that France “has made two frigates available to us in a leasing agreement,” following talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron.
“What Mr. Kouvelis and the government are saying, is that we are exploring a number of projects. Beyond that, if there is any agreement on any such matter, there will be an official briefing and discussion in all the relevant institutions of government, and parliament,” he was quoted as telling Alpha radio station.
Tzanakopoulos said the issue was not even discussed in a meeting on Monday of Greece’s top decision-making body on foreign affairs and defense matters, KYSEA, which is headed by Tsipras.
In an article published on Saturday, French weekly La Tribune quoted French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who said “it is not valid” that any deal has been reached, however “we are at the disposal of our Greek friends to continue working even more closely.”