Greek DM defends eyebrow-raising quips; says bases he proposed for US military already operational

Friday, 12 October 2018 15:08
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Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, the right-wing junior coalition party leader in the coalition government, on Friday denied that he spoke with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the wake of his unanticipated proposals in Washington this week.

Kammenos took to Twitter to deny same-day media reports in Athens claiming that Tsipras, the leftist premier, wanted explanations over the former's "alternative" plan to create a new "Balkan alliance" outside the NATO framework - ostensibly to deflect Russian influence in the region. The combative defense minister, a career politician who heads up the small rightist-populist Independent Greeks' (AN.EL) party, also proposed that more US bases should be opened in Greece.

In his Tweet, Kammenos referred to absolutely fake media reports, which are continuing.

"I haven't spoken with the prime minister because nothing has changed from what was agreed to (between the two "strange bedfellows" coalition partners) ... as a government partner I submitted a proposal that is binding only to me ... the infamous bases are already in operation."

In his eyebrow-raising comments from the US Pentagon, and with US Defense Secretary James Mattis by this side, Kammenos said more American bases can be opened in Greece, ticking off the cities of Larissa, Volos and Alexandroupolis, and adding "why not, in the future, Karpathos island".

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