An ill-fated attempt to sell surplus Greek military munitions to Saudi Arabia took yet another twist on Thursday, with a probe ordered by top military brass into leaks of confidential documents regarding the sale.
The latest development came on a day when an off-the-agenda debate on the matter, set for the same day, was postponed for Monday. The postponement came in order to allow Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to attend. The political “target” of a tabled question into the entire affair is none other than outspoken Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whose small rightist-populist Independent Greeks’ (AN.EL) party keeps the current SYRIZA-led coalition in power.
Kammenos said he would declassify, if a prosecutor asks, several documents dealing with the prospective sale of military-grade ammunition and air force ordnance to the Mideast kingdom, which is currently entangled in the Yemen civil war. At the same time, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis prevented the disclosure of other “top secret” documents, tabled by an opposition deputy, from being included in Parliament’s open records.
Those documents were later sealed for 30 years, with an accompanying threat by the foreign ministry’s leadership to prosecute any Greek deputy that tried to view them.
The gist of the opposition’s charges against the leftist-rightist coalition government, and especially the defense ministry’s leadership, is that an unsanctioned middleman attempted to pull off the deal, valued at more than 60 million euros, although in the end the Saudi side demanded a “government-to-government” agreement.