The Prime Ministers of Greece and Russia agreed to strengthen bilateral ties during a meeting in Athens on Wednesday.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greek-Russian relations stretch far back into the past, and may lead to further Greek-Russian collaboration in the future.
The ties originate from the distant past and can extend far into the future, the Prime Minister said today following a meeting with visiting Russian Federation Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Mishustin arrived in Athens at 2:00 PM, welcomed by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and an honor guard, for the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, which was fought against the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1821.
“Historic, cultural and religious ties” between Russia and Greece
Calling the visit one of special importance, Mitsotakis referred to the Greece-Russia Year of 2021, and to the “historic, cultural and religious ties of the two countries that began in Byzantium, became closer through Greek communities in Russia, and led to an alliance when the Greek Revolution broke out in 1821.
“As time passed,” the Prime Minister noted, “international relationships and geopolitical circumstances brought the countries either more or less close, but never broke down the historic ties of our peoples.”
He then added that humanity’s great challenges of that time found the countries on the same side.
Respect for international law paramount
Russia is a significant factor of European stability, continued the Greek premier, which needs to be built on in collaborative rather than competitive grounds, and needs to respect joint values such as the protection of human rights.
“Contemporary and asymmetrical challenges like terrorism, extremism or facing climate change jointly may be met through a joint stance, not through confrontations,” Mitsotakis emphasized, stressing Russia’s role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The Greek leader said his country took into great account Russia’s commitment to the power of international law, and particularly of the Law of the Sea, especially in the Mediterranean area.
Russian PM says bicentennial a “joint celebration for Russia and Greece”
He added that the country appreciated the Russian Federation’s consistent support toward a solution to the Cyprus issue based on a unified, bizonal and bicommunal state without foreign forces and “anachronistic guarantees.”
The Greek premier said that the two leaders also discussed extending economic their collaboration, and trade in particular, and how to restart Russian tourism to Greece after the pandemic.
On his part, Russian PM Mishustin said that the 200th anniversary was “a joint celebration for Russia and Greece.” It was fitting that “the first governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was the Russian Empire’s Foreign minister,” he pointed out.
Special “Greece-Russia Year of 2021” highlights Russian collaboration
The special celebrations of 2021 between the two countries comprise the fourth such year between them and are devoted to history. “The year’s official inauguration will come shortly, and the citizens of our countries will have the opportunity to become acquainted with our common history,” Mishustin said.
The Russian premier also said the two leaders “confirmed our mutual interest in promoting joint projects in various sectors” and noted the repercussions of coronavirus on several collaborations.
“Joint trade dropped by a third, and tourism was deeply harmed. Greece is opening its borders gradually, but this must occur safely. The joint interministerial committee on economic an industrial collaboration must assume measures to enforce bilateral cooperation,” he noted.
PM Mishustin also noted that the two countries’ plans included agreements on health, technology and informatics.
“We shall strengthen bilateral relations, based both on the contemporary picture and based also on our history and tradition,” he added, congratulating Greece once again on its anniversary.