Putin, Greek PM to discuss food embargo, financial issues — Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday to discuss a broad range of bilateral cooperation issues, the Kremlin press service has said.
In particular, during the Russian-Greek talks at the highest level, the sides plan to focus on the trade and economic, investment areas, the cultural and humanitarian sphere, as well as topical international issues, the statement said.
A number of bilateral documents are due to be signed following the negotiations, and the leaders will answer the questions of the journalists.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "this will be a working visit and working talks." He added that on May 9 Putin and Tsipras plan another meeting that will have a "ceremonial and memorial part devoted to the Victory Day."
Russia and Greece have a lot of common interests and that’s why at the upcoming meeting the sides plan to discuss the broadest range of issues of bilateral agenda, Peskov said.
The Kremlin spokesman did not rule out that the food embargo issue could be also discussed.
"We cooperate in agriculture, and we can fix a decline in trade in this sphere linked to the forced introduction (by Russia) of retaliatory measures (against EU sanctions) in regard to a number of goods," Peskov explained.
"We assume this issue will be raised (at the talks) this way or another," Peskov added.
In mid-March, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov said that his ministry was studying a "civilized reply" to a request by some European countries to allow them to supply fruit and vegetables to Russia.
He said the sides were carrying out "an intensive discussion on the possible options" and these countries include Greece, Hungary and Cyprus.
Speaking on Russia’s food embargo on agricultural products, the Greek government official spokesman, Gavriil Sakellaridis, said during the visit some existing issues could be resolved and this would provide immediate support to the Greek economy.
Another issue at talks could be granting Athens a gas discount and new loans. However, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Greece has not yet asked Russia for this. No separate meeting between the Russian finance minister and Tsipras is planned.
The sides could also discuss in detail the cooperation in the energy sphere.
Greece’s Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis in an interview with the country’s mass media expressed hope that agreements on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline could be reached.
Preliminary talks with Russia’s Energy Ministry and Gazprom "could open a new chapter not only in energy ties but in the economic and political relations between Russia and Greece in general," he said.
"I hope that this new promising historical possibility will take shape in particular deals not only on the Russian gas pipeline [Turkish Stream] but also in broader terms," Lafazanis said.
"I have a feeling that the visit of Alexis Tsipras to Moscow and his meeting with Vladimir Putin may become an important milestone in this direction. The new chapter in the development of the Greek-Russian cooperation, that will also include the Russian gas pipeline on the Greek territory, may bring drastic and very positive changes to the political environment and the image of our region and Europe," he said.
Tsipras said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman that the Russian-Greek relations have a vast potential. "I think that the opportunity to strengthen our relationship is associated with tourism, as well as various cultural events," the prime minister said.
"In Russia, in addition to very important meetings that I will have with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, I will also be able to deliver a speech at a central university of Moscow," Tsipras said. "From this viewpoint, I think that the possibility of education exchanges and cooperation between Greek and Russian universities is also a very important aspect of strengthening our mutual relations," he said.