ATHENS, December 3. /TASS/. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s visit to Moscow on December 7 is aimed at mending bilateral relations and bringing the two peoples closer, Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece Georgios Katrougalos told a briefing on Monday.
In reply to the question about the upcoming visit by Tsipras who plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the diplomat said “the agenda of talks with President Putin embraces all open issues”. “Our aim is to restore bilateral relations and sincerely discuss all open topics,” Katrougalos said.
“Other issues that are usually considered at summits will be discussed as well,” the diplomat added.
Focusing on the upcoming session of the Russian-Greek intergovernmental commission, due in Moscow on December 5 to 6, Katrougalos said that “apart from institutional agreements to be signed at the level of the intergovernmental commission in different sectors – from transport to the economy,” agreements between Russian and Greek companies are expected to be signed.
“We were also informed that within the framework of parallel procedures involving the private sectors of the two countries, there is a bid to sign relevant agreements between private companies, also within the framework of the intergovernmental commission,” said the diplomat, who co-chairs the mixed commission for economic, industrial and scientific-technical cooperation.
On November 25, Katrougalos told Greek news portal News 24/7 that Greece and Russia enjoyed traditionally friendly relations and shared historical and cultural traditions. According to the diplomat, the recent problems in bilateral relations are over and done with. “Now the two leaders will in actual fact discuss moves to further improve relations between the two countries, especially at the level of bilateral economic relations and contacts of the two peoples. We think about declaring the year 2019 the cross-cultural year of Russia and Greece,” the diplomat said.
Earlier in November, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the visit by Tsipras, who is also Greek Foreign Minister, on December 7. “Yes, this visit is being prepared,” he confirmed.
Back in September, Tsipras said Athens and Moscow were working towards mending relations after a crisis, as well as said he was planning to visit Russia in 2018.
On July 11, the Greek Kathimerini daily reported, citing diplomatic sources, that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban another two from entering the country. According to the daily, Athens accused the diplomats of interfering in the country’s domestic affairs and undermining the national security of Greece. However, the same sources said that Greece was still willing to maintain good relations with Russia, facilitate friendship between the two countries’ people, as well as cooperation between the two governments.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the move would not positively affect bilateral relations, spurring a tit-for-tat response. On August 6, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Greek Ambassador Andreas Friganas to hand him a note on retaliatory measures.
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