‘Nothing to worry about’ over ammunition shortage

By Athena Karsera

THE CHAIRMAN of the House Defence Committee said yesterday neither his Committee nor the government felt the problem over recent shortages in National Guard ammunition stocks still existed.

Takis Hadjidemetriou was speaking to reporters after a committee meeting on defence issues with President Glafcos Clerides, Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis, Finance Minister Takis Klerides.

“For the committee and for the government in particular, there was no problem, or crisis, or reason for public concern,” Hadjidemetriou added.

He said yesterday’s meeting had been productive and that any previous concerns on the issue had been put to rest. “The message we received today must be considered positive and should dispel concerns or doubts on our defence abilities.”

Hadjidemetriou said that National Guard supply order tenders were carefully monitored by government officials.

However, he said that the Defence Ministry needed to be strengthened to ensure that Chrysostomis would be able to supply necessary services.

“In regards to the various methods and procedures that exist and somehow block the Defence Ministry’s activities, ways certainly must be found to make things simpler so that our goals can be achieved faster.”

The row over tender procedures for the supply of National Guard ammunition and the lack of bullets broke earlier this month.

It was claimed that the National Guard was down to 20 per cent of its war supply ammunition and that the Greek company contracted for the job had supplied Cyprus with sub-standard Spanish bullets which had been rejected by experts.