Defense Minister of Greece, Panos Kammenos, spoke of “common security challenges and threats” facing Greece and Armenia as he began a two-day visit to Yerevan on Thursday.
After talks with his Armenian counterpart Vigen Sargsian, Kammenos said “Greece and Armenia have always stood and will always stand together,” adding “We share common values, a common history, common victims of genocides of the Armenian and Greek peoples and continue to have problems with the same friends and allies.”
According to sources, he told a joint news conference “Armenia and Greece are confronting common security challenges and threats, which require from the two countries a common approach and mutual understanding as well as a strong political will to act effectively.”
The remarks were a clear reference at Turkey with which Greece and Armenia share a long history of mutual animosity that cements a warm rapport between the two Christian nations.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cited their “history of suffering and persecution” when he met with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in Athens two years ago. Tsipras said that both peoples were victims of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during World War One. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos echoed that remark.
Sargsian also praised Greek-Armenian military ties, saying that they are being “expanded year after year.” He thanked Athens for its military assistance to Yerevan and, in particular, the fact that around 170 officers serving in the Armenian army have studied in Greek military academies.
Bilateral cooperation also has a “military-technical component,” Sargsian added, using a euphemism for mutual supplies of weapons and other military equipment.
Kammenos was also scheduled to meet with President Sarkisian. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, his itinerary also included a visit to the Yerablur military cemetery in Yerevan where hundreds of Armenians killed in the war with Azerbaijan were laid to rest. The ministry emphasized that Kammenos is the first foreign defense minister to lay flowers there.
Also, Armenian foreign minister Edward Nalbandian on March 30 met with Kammenos in Yerevan. The minister said the two countries are linked with numerous historical and cultural ties, and Armenia attaches importance to further deepening and expansion of relations with centuries-old friend Greece.