What is included in the joint defense declaration with Britain – The references to Turkey in the Panagiotopoulos-Wallace meeting


The two ministers signed in Portsmouth the Declaration of Common Vision, an agreement covering a wide range of issues related to bilateral defense cooperation.

London, Thanasis Gavos

The position that Turkish behavior towards Greece should have been dealt with within the framework of NATO was reportedly expressed by British Defense Minister Ben Wallace during the meeting he had on Tuesday with his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos.

The two ministers signed in Portsmouth the Declaration of Common Vision, an agreement covering a wide range of issues related to bilateral defense cooperation.

Greek and British sources noted that the agreement signed confirms the close bilateral defense relations, but also the very good relationship that has developed between the two ministers.

In fact, Mr. Wallace in his speech during the tour of the destroyer HMS Diamond at the Portsmouth naval base described as “unthinkable” the fact that despite the very good and deep bilateral relationship there had been no contact at the level of a ministerial visit to London since 2004.

During their meeting, the important work that has been done at the NATO level to deal with Russian revisionism was touched upon, giving occasion to refer to Greece’s treatment of a revisionist neighbor in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Declaration of Common Vision states that the strong ties of the two countries are confirmed with reference to the common principles and values ​​of freedom and democracy, adherence to international law and in particular respect for the United Nations Convention on the International Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which Turkey does not accept as a basis for resolving disputes and security challenges.

The declaration also reaffirms the two countries’ commitment to mutual support and cooperation in order to address common challenges and threats to peace and security in the Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on operational training, exercises and the prospect of cooperation in areas such as the defense industry .

According to information, the British side has expressed the intention of cooperation of its Royal Navy with the Greek one. Navy. Among the scenarios under consideration is the establishment of a naval command group, in the form of a rapid reaction force that will operate in the wider Mediterranean region and utilize naval facilities in Greece.

The prototype of a new special operations warship with stealth features was also presented to the Greek delegation.

Sources say that the British side could possibly approach the Greek defense industry for a level of co-production.

During the meeting, the importance of supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion and the defense of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was emphasized.

The discussion also highlighted the strategic relationship that has developed between the two countries in NATO. It is considered important that at the defense ministerial meetings there is an understanding that the two countries will cooperate on issues determined by the respective agenda.

In this context, sources report that Ben Wallace indicated that he understands the Greek objections regarding the Turkish attitude, saying that Ankara’s behavior should have been dealt with within NATO, as should be dealt with behaviors that affect alliance solidarity.

He said that the differences with Greece can only be resolved with such an initiative from the Alliance. In the context of this discussion and with reference to Turkey’s stance on the Ukrainian issue, Mr. Panagiotopoulos reportedly told his interlocutor that Turkey must decide which camp it belongs to.

Mr. Wallace also acknowledged the support provided by Greece to the British forces through the facilities in Souda and Chania and for the first time there was talk from the British side of the geostrategic importance of the development and use of the port of Alexandroupolis for Europe and for NATO.

In the framework of the declaration, it was also agreed that a road map would be drawn up each year that would include defense cooperation priorities and an annual dialogue on security and defense would now be established to review progress and explore new initiatives to further strengthen bilateral cooperation .

The two ministers also had the chance to chat throughout the journey to Portsmouth as passengers in the same car, as their planned helicopter flight was canceled due to morning fog in southern England.

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