Greece is an important ally of Romania in the region, Romanian National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor said on Friday, in a joint press statement with Hellenic Republic Minister of Defence Panos Kammenos.
The two officials had talks at the National Defence Ministry (MApN) on Friday, followed by the signing of an agreement between the Defence ministries of Romania and Greece.
“Greece is an important ally of Romania in the region, we are part of South-Eastern Europe, at the confluence of the southern segment of the allied eastern flank with the eastern segment of NATO’s southern flank. That is why I believe the visit today of the Hellenic Defence Minister is so much more important, as it provided us with the opportunity to discuss about the challenges we are confronted with and, particularly, how we can jointly approach the most appropriate solutions. We concluded an excellent round of discussions this morning within which we had a fruitful opinion exchange, both in respect to the security situation in the common interest areas, and referring to the specific challenges which each of our countries is faced with. We evaluated in this context the modalities to consolidate regional cooperation, naturally starting from the most recent developments, with a focus on the security situation in the Western Balkans and the extended Black Sea area, on the developments in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, as well as on the developments on the southern flank, in the Aegean Sea and the east of the Mediterranean Sea, generated by the crisis in Syria and the refugee crisis,” Mihai Fifor said.
The Romanian Minister underscored, in context, the importance of signing a new cooperation agreement in the Defence area with the Defence Ministry of the Hellenic Republic.
“This framework document not only brings the old agreement signed 8 years ago to the parameters adapted to the present, but I am also positive that it will give a new thrust and wider dimension to the bilateral military relations between our states,” Fifor said.
The Romanian Minister pointed out, at the same time, that he informed his Greek counterpart about the important stage of consolidating the own defence capabilities which the Romanian Armed Forces are going through, marked by significant acquisitions and modernisations of the armament and battle technique systems.
“I noted the similar interest in developing some acquisition programmes meant to contribute both to the development of the national defence industries and to an intensification of the industrial cooperation between the two states in the defence area. It is also the reason why the official delegation of Minister Kammenos includes representatives of the Hellenic defence industry, and today’s schedule will continue with a series of official discussions between them and their Romanian counterparts,” Fifor also said.
He added that another topic was aimed at deepening the information exchanges between the specialist structures of the two armies.
“We have committed together to deepen the information exchange between the specialist structures of our armies, which will lead to a better knowledge of the regional security situation and to the early warning on the threats generated by the complexity of the current security environment, the ethnic and/or religious radicalism, terrorism, illegal arm trafficking,” Fifor pointed out.
Another matter approached during the talks was related to the agenda of the NATO Summit to be carried out in July in Brussels, Fifor added.
“There are about four months left until the July NATO Summit, therefore we can say we are on a straight line in respect to preparing the agenda. I have discussed with Mr Minister the positions of our countries regarding the main topics, particularly on the topic of consolidating the NATO presence in the region in a balanced approach of the two flanks. We identified common stands regarding the long-term adaptation of the Alliance, on a military, political and institutional dimension, the consolidation of an efficient deterrence and defence posture, for counteracting the threats to the allies’ security, regardless of their origin,” Fifor explained.
He also said that, together with the Greek counterpart, he has also assumed the intensification of cooperation between the allied structures on the territory of the two states and thanked the Hellenic minister for the support granted in making operational the two allied command structures, hosted on Romania’s territory, by assuming some posts in the Multinational Division South – East Command and the NATO forces integration unit.
In his turn, Minister Panos Kammenos said that over the recent years Romania and Greece have collaborated very well and intensified their relations, both inside NATO and the EU, and in the bilateral area, mainly in respect to collaboration in the defence area.
“I am positive that this cooperation will continue and we’ll take it to another level of fulfillment. The message we want to present today is that, within the framework provided by the European institutions and NATO, together we can consolidate the European defence and face the challenges that we are confronted with. We are positive that Greece and Romania can build an arc of security, together with other nations, such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Israel and Egypt. (…) It is a message for the European Union that we are ready to contribute to the defence projects and through this to provide jobs to the citizens of our states. We’ll work together for peace and for keeping peace and we do this observing the international laws and agreements,” Panos Kammenos said.
Greece’s DefMin Kammenos asks Romania’s support for release of two Greek servicemen arrested in Turkey
Defence Minister of the Hellenic Republic Panos Kammenos, on Friday, called for Romania’s support in order to intervene with the Turkish authorities for the release of two Greek servicemen who were arrested in early March.
“We currently have a dispute with Turkey, where two Greek citizens are imprisoned, an officer and a non-commissioned officer, and we take this opportunity to call for Romania’s support to intervene with the Turkish authorities to set them free,” Panos Kammenons told a joint press conference with Mihai Fifor.
A Turkish court rejected on 5 March the lawyers’ appeal to release the Greek servicemen from prison who were detained after crossing the border with Turkey on bad weather, Anadolu news agency announced, as quoted by DPA and Reuters.
The two servicemen have been detained after crossing the joint border and then arrested, being charged with espionage.
The servicemen stated that they followed traces in the snow, possibly left by migrants and accidentally crossed the border. The Greek Government stated the same thing and Greek officials requested that the soldiers be returned.
They have been detained near Greece’s North-East border after entering on Turkey’s soil while patrolling on bad weather, according to the Hellenic Army Command. A Spokesperson of the Greek Government stated that their safe return is awaited.