Debate over Greece-Saudi arms deal and role of Defence Minister Kammenos continues in Greek parliament
During a heated parliamentary debate, Communist party leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas accused the Greek government of helping to fuel the war in Yemen that has resulted in “slaughter, famine” and the strengthening of radical Islamic militants.
Other parties including the main opposition New Democracy (ND) suggested that Defence Minister Panos Kammenos had negotiated a shady deal through an unauthorized middleman instead of dealing directly with the Saudi government.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras strongly defended the deal, saying that negotiations were above board and conducted with a representative authorized by the Saudi government.
Tsipras accused opposition parties of resorting to unfounded allegations to undermine a government that is steering Greece out of eight years of crushing economic crisis that saw the country receive three multi-billion euro (dollar) rescue deals.
“They want to foment conditions of instability because they don’t want this government to lead the country out of this crisis at all costs,” Tsipras told parliament.
On his part, main opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Mr. Tsipras was a “hostage” of his Defence Minister.
“You ended up being a hostage to each other”, he said. “And as you have come together, you will leave together. Without Kammenos, Mr. Tsipras falls and if he goes to elections he will crash. And without Tsipras, Mr. Kammenos is unprotected”, Mr. Mitsotakis stressed. “You are the longest-standing MP under the era of a memorandum”, he accused then Greek PM.
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