The two French frigates FREMM will not come to Greece. French media reported on Tuesday morning that the French Defense Minister had dismissed Greek reports of last week that the French Navy would lease two FREMM frigates to Greece. According to what Greek Alternate Defense Minister, Fotis Kouvelis, said last Friday the two frigates were to arrive in Greece by August and be leased for five years. He even left open the option that Greece acquires two more frigates.
Tuesday noon, Greek government spokesman, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, confirmed “there is no deal on French frigates.” The spokesman said the government is “exploring different projects,”
“What Mr Kouvelis and the government are saying is that we are exploring several types of projects,” Tzanakopoulos told Alpha TV adding “if there is an agreement there will be an official briefing on the issue.”
Why did the government waited five whole day to ‘correct’ the Alternate Defense Minister, given the fact that all Greek media reported about the frigates leasing as a fact?
Not even on Saturday morning, when French left-wing newspaper La Tribune quoted French Defense Minister Florance Parly as saying “the deal is not valid.”
Citing a report by the French news agency, Greek news website thetoc notes that it was Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who told Kouvelis that the “French frigates will be in Greece in July or August.” the French news agency reportedly is citing a rouce by the Greek Defense Ministry.
I don’t know who said what and why, fact is that the Greek Defense Ministry is exposed. On this issue it is also irrelevant whether there will be a deal sometimes in the future.
Later on Tuesday, sources of the Greek Defense Ministry said that the verbal agreement between Tsipras and Macron is valid.
PS Instead of two FREΜM frigate to scare off Turk in the Aegean we end up with a big FFF: French Frigates Flop or Frenc Frigates Fiasco or a French Frigates Fotis.