Parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal question until Monday

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The Conference of Parliament Presidents on Wednesday announced that a question about Greek arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tabled for Defence Minister Panos Kammenos by main opposition New Democracy, will be discussed in Parliament next Monday.

Parliament President Nikos Voutsis proposed that the discussion on ND’s question, scheduled for Thursday, should be postponed until next Monday so that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might be present.

He said the prime minister had sent him a letter asking that the discussion be postponed until such a time as he could attend (Tsipras is due in Paris on Thursday for an award ceremony), citing «an attempt to present him as being in hiding and not showing solidarity with the defence minister».

Voutsis also raised the issue of the classified documents tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by the Democratic Alliance parliamentary spokesman Andreas Loverdos, asking a Parliament employee to show all members of the Conference of Presidents that the documents – which had been placed in a sealed envelope since they were tabled in Parliament on Tuesday – were indeed marked as classified.

According to Voutsis, there was «an intention by certain sides to shroud the present day and tomorrow with a veil of discussions – contrary to the law – about confidential documents.» He also expressed his conviction that the documents in question were linked to the discussion on the arms to Saudi Arabia.

Based on the Constitution, Voutsis added, a declassification of the documents required at least 30 years and he noted that both ND Vice President Adonis Georgiadis and a Democratic Alliance MP had pressed Parliament services to give them access to the documents, indicating that not all sides shared a reluctance to use them during the Parliament debate.

He did not rule out a possible plan to present Parliament as having leaked the confidential documents and described Loverdos’ action in tabling them as «incomprehensible, to say the least.»

Asked by journalists what will happen if a leak of classified documents is confirmed, Voutsis said the blame will lie with the person indicated by justice at the highest level, once it investigates.

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