Delegation headed by Greek defence minister visiting Armenia

29 March, 2018
A delegation headed by Greek Defence Minister Panayotis Kammenos arrived in Armenia on March 29 on a two-day visit.

After the official meeting of the delegation at the Armenian Ministry of Defence, the two defence ministers had a private meeting, followed by a meeting of the delegations in an expanded format.

The results of the meetings were summed up at a joint press conference.

Kamenos had meeting with the foreign minister. He was also received by President Serzh Sargsyan. The Greek delegation visited the ArmHiTec -2018 exhibition early on 29 March. Mr. Kammenos is also expected to visit the Homeland Defender’s Rehabilitation Centre.

On 30 March, Minister Kammenos will pay tribute at the Yerablur Military Cemetery.

He will be the first defence minister of a foreign state to visit the Yerablur Military Cemetery.

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Armenian defence Minister Vigen Sargsyan's speech

at the joint news conference with Greek Defence Minister Panayotis Kammenos

Distinguished Minister Kammenos, dear colleagues and members of delegations,

Once again, I welcome my good friend, Greek Minister of National Defence Panayotis Kammenos and his delegation to the friendly Republic of Armenia.

The official visit of Mr. Kamenos to Armenia is a good occasion for summarising the results of the agreements reached during the December 2016 discussions in Athens, and for outlining new directions of cooperation. This visit is also a good opportunity to see the achievements of Armenia in the military industry at the ArmHiTec expo.

I want to express my satisfaction and say that all the agreements we had achieved in Athens in 2016 are being implemented in full, we are expanding the military cooperation programme every year, and all the planned events are fully implemented, allowing us to strengthen the good traditions of partnership between our countries.

During our meetings, we once again reaffirmed the high-level political relations between the two friendly countries and reaffirmed the general approaches to international and regional security issues. We spoke about the military-political developments in our neighbourhood and the opportunities for joint actions.

Taking this opportunity, I briefed my counterpart on the situation around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, particularly, the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border and on the line of contact between the Artsakh and Azerbaijani forces. We once again emphasised our position to resolve the conflict exclusively through peaceful negotiations and I am grateful to Minister Kammenos for his thorough knowledge about the conflict and that he has expressed his readiness to continue our cooperation and to facilitate finding a reasonable solution in the negotiation, in peace process.

I’d like to note that we have a good tradition of cooperation: about 170 officers of our Armed Forces have been trained in Greek military educational institutions and are now holding various senior positions in the Armed Forces, serving to the security of our country, protecting our borders and being a natural bridge between our countries and armed forces.

We also discussed the problem of our neighbour Turkey, and we both considered the policy of preconditions or threats of that state unacceptable. In that context, I informed Mr. Kammenos of the reasons for terminating the procedure of the Armenian-Turkish protocols signed in 2009.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey my support to Minister Kammenos for the approaches he has expressed about the detention of two soldiers by Turkey. Ahead of the Holy Resurrection Day, I believe that there must be a good will and the mutual respect should prevail in all relationships. We express our support to Greece in this regard.

We also discussed the current state of cooperation in the defence field and the possibilities for expansion. We were pleased to note that the annual bilateral cooperation programmes are not only expanding year by year, but are also implemented with great efficiency. I expressed my gratitude to our colleagues for a comprehensive military-political, military and military-technical assistance provided to the Armed Forces for decades.

In general, the cooperation in the defence field includes all the educational, training and exercise potential available in the armed forces of the two countries. We also appreciate the consultancy exchange on various issues of the armed forces development. The main directions of the cooperation are military medicine, training of Special Forces, exchange of experience on personnel direction system; we also mentioned cyber security and exchange of experiences in planning and implementation of military exercises as new directions.

The cooperation also has a military-technical component, which has great prospects for development and mutually beneficial projects. I am confident that Mr. Kammenos’s visit to the ArmHiTec and seeing the products of the Armenian military industry would give a new impetus to the cooperation in this field.

At the end, I would like to welcome you, Mr. Kammenos again and wish you a productive work during your visit. Thank you.

Greek Minister of National Defence Panayotis Kammenos took questions from Armenian media at the joint news conference.

Armenian Public TV: Mr. Minister, you lashed out Turkey’s latest aggressive rhetoric about the creation of the great Turkey, such as, “if necessary we will give our lives, and if necessary, we will take lives,” and the continuous detention of two Greek soldiers, you have tough reaction. I would like to ask your position, and also, what do you think, what would be the impact of the statements on the Armenia-Turkish relations?

Answer: We want Turkey to become a European state, respect the international law and human rights. It is our wish to see a Turkey with European values, but I'm afraid that the incumbent Turkish president, Erdogan, and the decision to approach their long dream, the Ottoman Empire, will further remove Turkey from Europe, international law and human rights.

We will continue to do our best to explain to Turkey that we want peace, but we must remind Turkey of many episodes of their history and especially the episodes of their history relating to the Ottoman Empire's decisions, for example, regarding Greece.

Zinuzh Media: Mr. Minister, my question is about the Armenian-Greek military-technical cooperation. Please, give us some more details. What projects and developments should we expect?

Answer: Today, we visited the ArmHiTec 2018 International Exhibition of Armament and Defence Technologies y and we met there with representatives of many companies. Tomorrow, representatives of the Armenian defence industry companies will meet with Greek companies. That meeting means that the two states will open their doors for defence markets. This means that if we have products that can be used in the Greek Armed Forces, that product can get an EU certificate. This means that doors are also opened to other markets. The same can be done in Armenia, which can open other roads. We need to win together, we have invested heavily in defence production of our countries, now we have to cooperate, produce together.