MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos) – The ties between Greece and Russia can be upgraded to a new level and Greece can become a bridge between the West and Russia, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told TASS news agency in an interview, ahead of his upcoming visit to Moscow and his meeting with President Vladimir Putin on April 8.
“We can have a substantial cooperation that will allow Greece to export its agricultural goods to the Russian Federation,” Tsipras stressed.
“You know that over the past years a blow was dealt to these relations as the previous governments in my country had not done what they could have done to avoid this senseless sanctions policy, in my opinion, amid tensions in Ukraine,” he said.
“The result of this is the embargo also on the Greek agricultural goods what has seriously damaged the Greek economy,” Tsipras said.
His visit to Moscow aims at restarting Greek-Russian relations as “it will give the opportunity to set a new basis” for them. According to the prime minister, the Greek-Russian relations have great development prospects, especially in energy and tourism. He said that apart from the highly significant meetings with President Putin, his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia Kirill “I will also have the opportunity to give a lecture in one of the central universities of Moscow,” which highlights “the possibility for exchanges and cooperation on an education level between Greek and Russian universities, which is also a very important aspect of consolidating our mutual relations.”
Referring to the issue of sanctions, he made clear that Greece does not back the West’s sanctions against Russia and reminded that as soon as he took office he received a message from European Council President Donald Tusk “who almost took for granted Greece’s position in favor of sanctions.
“I called him and also (EU foreign policy chief) Federica Mogherini and told them: “Don’t think that Greece’s position is pretty much a given, the situation has changed and now there is another government in Greece. And now you should ask us before you take the decisions,” he said.
“We do not agree with sanctions. I believe that this is a road to nowhere. I support the point of view that there is a need for a dialogue and diplomacy, we should sit down at the negotiating table and find the solutions to major problems,” he said.
The Greek premier stressed that the economic war is a “dead-end policy.”
“I’m for diplomacy,” Tsipras said. “I believe reaching the Minsk agreements is an important achievement. I think every effort should be made to stop tensions in Ukraine,” he added.
Tsipras said during his first participation in the EU summit on March 19-20 in Brussels he told the prime ministers and heads of states: “Tell me how do you imagine the new security architecture in Europe? Do you see it with Russia on the opposite side or with Russia in the process of a dialogue and mutual understanding?”
“I received no answer from many of them,” Tsipras said. “In my understanding, the answer is clear: the new European security architecture should also include Russia.”