The Minister of Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, and Benny Gantz, yesterday, agreed on deepening defence cooperation between Greece and Israel.
More specifically, the Greek Minister of Defense, Mr. Nikos Panagiotopoulos, had a meeting with his Israeli counterpart and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Benny Gantz, yesterday, Thursday, January 20, 2022, as part of his visit to Tel Aviv.
The following statements were made before the meeting of the two ministers, as announced by the Greek Defence Ministry:
Nikos Panagiotopoulos said during his speech:
“Dear colleague, Minister Gantz, my dear friend Benny,
It is a great pleasure to be here in Israel and to meet with you today. You are the Minister of Defense during my second visit to this building and remember during my first visit and after the first discussion your predecessor is now Prime Minister, so I express my personal wishes.
We have formed a strategic relationship based on strong ties of friendship and our common vision as we aim to create a stable, secure, and prosperous environment in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.
Our common goal is to expand and deepen the defence cooperation between Greece and Israel, which has reached an extremely high level in recent years, let me say, of unprecedented development that can be assessed in tangible terms.
The defence ties between Greece and Israel have been strengthened as a result of regular organized exercises and training.
We are determined to maintain this ever-increasing dynamic while also enriching an already important defence-technical cooperation for the mutual benefit of our countries with new activities and important projects, such as the International Flight Training Center in Kalamata, among others.
We will discuss with Secretary Gantz the security situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is a region of great strategic importance with growing prospects and opportunities for stability, development, and prosperity, as you rightly pointed out, but also with visible challenges and threats to its nations, region, and their allies.
Failure to address these threats would certainly have a negative impact and consequences on the overall stability and prosperity of the region. Today’s meeting provides an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our common commitment and determination to address these challenges effectively.
Greece has always supported initiatives for stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean. We have built strong alliances with Israel and other countries that share the same vision and values, always based on respect for the rules of international law, respect for sovereignty and sovereign rights, and the principle of good neighbourly relations.
I am confident that our defence cooperation with Israel will become even stronger as it is based on the multilateral strategic relationship. It is a strategic alliance based on values between two nations that share a common vision for stability, innovation, democracy, and prosperity.
Let me point out, in closing, that we know who our friends are, why they are friends, we value our friendship, we build on that friendship, and we always work to expand this relationship for mutual benefit. “Mr Minister, thank you for hosting me here.”
Benny Gantz replied to the Greek Minister of Defence:
“Minister Niko, my friend,
I’m glad to welcome you back to Israel. The link between our countries is of a strategic nature with a common interest and broad defence cooperation.
Our ties are something more than the Republic of Israel, which shares common values with the ancient Republic of Greece. Finally, this bond is friendly. When the fires broke out in Greece in the summer or when a tragedy struck the Israeli Air Force, you and I, Minister, were the first to contact by telephone.
The state of Israel views Greece as a strong regional partner.
As a member of NATO, Greece plays a strong role in maintaining security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. We count on both our bilateral defence relations and the work on a tripartite level with our friends in Cyprus.
Our cooperation in the fields of industry, energy management, and innovation through research and development contributes to the business advantage and security of our countries. I will participate in military training and strategic dialogue, deepening both our professional and personal ties.
This relationship is an advantage. I pledge to deepen and further expand our cooperation in any scenario and any regional development. This is a time of great opportunities, but also of great challenges. I see great potential for expanding collaboration with old and new friends in the area. We all share common interests in energy, innovation, and security.
I also see a threat that seeks to destroy all the bridges that are being built, a negative force that feeds on chaos.
During these critical weeks, Iran continues its nuclear program, and while Iranian officials make scathing remarks in the Vienna negotiations, their compatriots continue their aggressive actions.
Just last week, we saw a massive attack in the United Arab Emirates. Iran’s double deal must be put on the negotiating table. Any international initiative must include both the nuclear issue and Iran’s aggression.
Israel and its US-led allies will continue to defend and support peace and stability in the region. Against this backdrop, we will exchange views today on strategic issues.
Minister, once again, I am glad to host a close friend of Israel and a close personal friend. I look forward to a wonderful discussion. Thank you”.concluded the speech of Israeli MInister of Defence Benny Gantz.
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With information from the Ministry of National Defence of Greece
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