Hel­lenic Navy chief presents key pri­or­i­ties

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece will de­fend its in­ter­ests in the Aegean Sea as well as the East­ern Mediter­ranean, the chief of the Hel­lenic Navy Gen­eral Staff said yes­ter­day dur­ing a presentation of the NATO mem­ber-na­tion’s strate­gic pri­or­i­ties for the next few years.

“Greece is not only the Aegean. We also have a duty to safe­guard our in­ter­ests in the East­ern Mediter­ranean,” Vice Ad­mi­ral Ni­co­laos Tsou­nis said.

His com­ments come amid a spate of Turk­ish provo­ca­tions in the Aegean which have been widely linked to the re­jec­tion by Greece’s Supreme Court of an ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for eight Turk­ish mil­i­tary of­fi­cers that fled to Greece after July’s failed coup.

The Hel­lenic Navy, Tsou­nis said, is mak­ing an ef­fort to max­i­mize its par­tic­i­pa­tion in NATO ex­er­cises. He said that the de­ploy­ment of naval avi­a­tion is man­dated by a strate­gic ne­ces­sity to surveil that part of the East­ern Mediter­ranean un­der its area of re­spon­si­bil­ity. The modernization of three P-3B Orion mar­itime pa­trol air­craft is cur­rently un­der way, and the first of three ves­sels will be op­er­a­tional by the end of the year.

Tsou­nis said that pa­trols by Stand­ing NATO Mar­itime Group 2 (SNMG2) in the Aegean to stem the flow of mi­grants into Europe will con­tinue de­spite ob­jec­tions by Turkey, also a NATO mem­ber.

The chief of the Hel­lenic Navy Gen­eral Staff also re­ferred to Greece’s close ties with the United States, warm re­la­tions with Is­rael, and close co­op­er­a­tion with Egypt. Dur­ing a re­cent visit to Egypt, Tsou­nis signed a se­ries of co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments, which also fore­saw an in­crease in the num­ber of joint drills.

Speak­ing about Souda Bay on Crete, Tsou­nis con­firmed ear­lier Kathimerini re­ports that the Hel­lenic Navy plans to have al­ter­nat­ing units re­de­ploy­ing at the naval base. Ul­ti­mately, he added, the aim is to have a sig­nif­i­cant sec­tion of the Greek fleet sta­tioned in the area.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.