The Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution; Greece underscores the historic role Russia played in its successful outcome
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko recently travelled to Athens, meeting with top Greek officials and diplomats as part of regular bilateral contacts. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met with the visiting Russian Deputy Minister, discussing bilateral relations of the two countries and focusing upon economic and energy cooperation and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis receives Deputy Foreign Minister Grushko.Greek-Russian relations were the focus of the meeting between Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and Deputy Minister Grushko. During their meeting, which took place in a very friendly atmosphere, they discussed bilateral cooperation and regional issues. Referring to the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, Alternate Minister Varvitsiotis underscored the historic role Russia played in its successful outcome, stressing the timeless ties of friendship between the two peoples. He added that this year, the Greek-Russian Year of History, is an opportunity to further strengthen the ties between the two sides.
As co-chair of the Greek-Russian Joint Interministerial Committee, the Alternate Minister noted that he looks forward to the next JIC meeting in the near future, underscoring that Greece wants to see the recovery of bilateral trade and to attract Russian investments. Alternate Minister Varvitsiotis welcomed the recent decision of the Russian authorities to restore flights between the Russian Federation and Greece on 8th February 2021.
In statements of the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, which were made to correspondents of Russian media in Athens, he stressed that the Mediterranean region “must remain a zone of peace and cooperation”. He added that it is necessary to exclude the involvement of the territory of friendly countries in the geopolitical game which is related to the containment of Russia.
Deputy Minister Grushko also described the path of sanctions chosen by the EU as “slippery”. However, he acknowledged that Greece is among those “who have expressed considerable scepticism about the effectiveness of these sanctions”. That is why Moscow, while maintaining its views that this is an “illegal policy tool” which actually harms the EU’s interests, considers that Athens implements them as a Member of NATO and the EU. He said this “should not be seen as an obstacle to the development of relations with Greece.”
He was also asked about what is happening in the Eastern Mediterranean and the disputes between Greece and Turkey. As for Greece’s right to extend its maritime territory to 12 miles, Deputy Minister Grushko described the Russian position as “completely transparent and unchanged”. He said that “we call on our partners and stakeholders to resolve their disputes through dialogue, as provided for in the 1982 Law of the Sea.” “At the same time, States have the right to define their territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones based on the provisions of this Treaty,” he noted.
In view of the new five-party consultations on the Cyprus issue, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister stated that Russia’s position remains unchanged. He said Moscow’s position corresponds to the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions “which indicate that the solution should be based on the bi-zonal bi-communal principle,” adding that “obsolete military guarantees must be replaced by UN Security Council guarantees.”
Finally, he also named the prospect of certification and introduction of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine into the EU, since in Moscow’s view “just as there are no borders for coronavirus, there should be no borders for vaccines and politics when tackling the pandemic.”
(Photographs by H. Akriviadis/MoFA & V.Rebapis/Eurokinissi.)