On Lemnos, PM stresses Greek commitment to protecting borders, territory


During a lightning trip to Lemnos before his scheduled speech on Lesvos on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sought to send a message of Greek determination to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a spike in bilateral tensions.

"Our primary duty is security and protecting our borders and territorial integrity," he said. "Particularly today in a period of destabilization with a neighbor who often resorts to acts of provocation without realizing that they do not lead anywhere, only to a deadlock."

Greece will continue to be "a stabilizing force" in the broader region, Tsipras said.

Greece's second important duty is to improve the quality of life for citizens of remote islands, the premier said.

The aim of the government's regional growth conferences is to boost economic prospects and quality of life, he added.

Tsipras is to address a growth conference on Lesvos later on Thursday amid tight security as local residents have planned protests against the large migrant population on the island and the government's plans to revoke the island's discounted rate of value added tax.