There is a significant historical foundation to Greek-Russian relations "that has allowed us to build a stable but also dynamic relationship over the centuries," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, in joint statements with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their meeting in the Kremlin.
"The occasion for my visit is the 190th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, which are based on strong historical, religious, cultural and intellectual ties between our people," Tsipras said.
"I consider that this significant historical foundation has allowed us to build a stable but also dynamic relationship through the centuries, which, in its turn, made it possible for us to continue conversing and cooperating with each other even when geopolitcal developments kept us apart," Tsipras added.
PM Tsipras: "Any European security architecture or initiative for resolving important international challenges must include Russia"
Tsipras referred to his visit to Moscow in 2015, at a difficult time for Greece, and after five years of stagnation, as he said, noting that they had then agreed to rebuild the constructive relation between Greece and Russia.
The Greek prime minister noted that "Greece is an EU state-member and a member of NATO and meets its commitments but believes that any European security architecture or initiative for resolving important international challenges must include Russia and be based on a sincere dialogue with [Russia]".
"Greek-Russian dialogue was not always easy, as was proved in the summer. However, our desire that our relations should remain on the firm tracks that we built with hard work since 2015 helps us to overcome the difficulties and return to the essential mutual respect and mutual understanding," said Tsipras.
President Putin: "Many prospects unite us"
Putin said that the visit by Tsipras to Russia was especially timely, during the joint statements after their meeting on Friday in Moscow.
"Many prospects unite us," said President Putin.
He underlined the emphasis that both countries place on investments and the trade sector, while again noting that the current year was the 190th anniversary since Greece and Russia first established diplomatic relations.
Talking in numbers, Putin noted that last year bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 27 percent, reaching 3.7 billion dollars and afterwards referred to other sectors on which Russian interest is focused, namely energy, culture and tourism.
Especially for tourism, the Russian president referred to the record number of Russians that visited Greece last year, noting that this number was expected to reach 1 million tourists this year.
No prospect of militarisation in Cyprus
Nobody is considering a militarisation in Cyprus, Tsipras stressed during a joint press conference with President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, replying to a question asked by Athens-Macedonian News Agency correspondent Nikos Lionakis.
Tsipras said that he has also been in contact with President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades and explained that there would be no point in considering such a prospect at the present moment, when both Greece and Cyprus are working for the withdrawal of Turkish occupying troops from the island.
He added that Foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey have also been in contact with each other and noted that Cyprus observes a balanced mooring policy towards Russia and all other partners and allies.
Greece a reliable ally in NATO and EU and a stable and honest partner of Russia, Tsipras replies to question asked by Athens-Macedonia News Agency
To a question asked by Athens-Macedonia News Agency Nikos Lionakis about whether the improvement of Greek-American relations will bear a negative impact on the relations between Greece and Russian, the Greek PM replied that for the last 3.5 years, the government has proved that can Greece can be a reliable ally for its NATO and EU partners and at the same time continue its honest and long-lasting cooperation with Russia.
Greece can act as a "bridge" between NATO, the EU and Russia, Tsipras said, and added that this is what makes Greece important and valuable to all three parties.
The Greek PM has a progressive outlook concerning growth in Greece, President Putin says
The first question to the two leaders was put by Greek public broadcaster ERT, concerning the post-programme period in Greece. Putin expressed a wish that the Greek people will soon get past the difficulties they are facing and congratulated the Greek prime minister for having, as he put it, a progressive outlook concerning growth in Greece.
We consider the matter closed, say Tsipras and Putin, asked about the Russian diplomats' deportation earlier this year
The second question was asked by a Russian journalist, and it concerned the Russian diplomats' deportation. Putin said that this page was now closed. "From the beginning, we did not agree on the subject of deportations," he said, adding that various rumours alluding to a conspiracy against Greece were nonsense.
"I will agree with President Putin that we must now look ahead," Tsipras continued and added that for as long as he is prime minister, Greece's actions will not be determined by the pressure of other countries.
On the other hand, Tsipras continued, when we see specific events that disturb us it is our duty to give a message, and then start looking ahead again.
In conclusion, we look ahead and the matter is closed, Tsipras said, stressing how important it is to take advantage of the great opportunities lying ahead.
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