NEWS

Military service extended by three months

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Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos Thursday announced that the length of compulsory military service for those serving in the Hellenic Army was being extended to 12 months from nine months today.

The decision was reached during a meeting Thursday of the Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) that was chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Conscripts serving along the border with Turkey or on the Aegean islands are expected to be exempt from the new measure.

Those in the Hellenic Navy or Air Force will still be required to complete 12 months of national service, as has been the case until now.

Military service in Greece is mandatory for all able-bodied males from the age of 19.

Also Thursday, Panagiotopoulos spoke on the phone with his French counterpart Florence Parly, who will visit Athens on Monday to sign the contract for the supply of 18 French Rafale fighter jets to Greece. According to well-informed sources, Parly will also bring a proposal for the supply of four French [email protected] frigates.

Meanwhile, ahead of Monday’s resumption of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, Athens clarified via Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou that “they are not negotiations.”

“They are contacts. No obligations or commitments are made between the two parties. No minutes are kept. No third party is involved, it is only between the two sides. No briefings are made on the content of the exploratory contacts,” he told journalists, referring to the 61st round of talks between the NATO allies in Istanbul after a four-year pause.

Papaioannou also said they are non-binding and their aim is to explore the “points of convergence” for possible future negotiations for the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.