Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras sat for an interview with Russian journalist, Mikhail Gusman ahead of his Friday meeting with President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

The Greek PM who is in Russia to strengthen bilateral ties said the Greece and EU countries must cooperate with Russia for the transportation of Russian natural gas to Europe via the Turkish Stream.

“It is our strategic choice that Greece will become an energy and transit hub and all that will be the central focus of our talks with President Putin” he said.

Tsipras noted that Greece had from the first had the inspiration that the ‘Turkish Stream’ should actually become a ‘European Stream’ and also pointed to Russia’s increasingly important role in the region, from the Mediterranean, Libya and Syria right up to Afghanistan, which meant that all sides had to take it seriously into account.

“Nobody is in a position to not discuss with [Russia]. Also, I firmly believe that through dialogue, discussion and mutual respect we can build a single security architecture for our region,” he added.

Concerning Greece, the Prime Minister noted that the country has emerged from the crisis stronger than before: “We have regained a very substantial, even leading, role in the Balkans as a country that plays a stabilising role. We reached a very significant agreement with our northern neighbours, an agreement that concerns the prospects of cooperation and peace in the region. We also expect an important step to be taken as regards dialogue with Turkey and the steadfast effort to resolve the Cyprus issue on a fair and viable basis.”

In the case of the Cyprus issue, this meant that “we must understand that the island must be reunited and that there cannot be occupation troops on the island, nor anachronistic third-country guarantor models,” he clarified.

On this issue, Tsipras added, “Russia has always adopted a very positive stance and played a positive role over the years.”

According to the Greek Prime Minister, however, the crucial issue for Athens’ foreign policy was cooperation, the dialogue on the south-eastern Mediterranean, the security of energy sources and the secure transportation of energy sources from the south-eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

“These are the crucial axes that concern us in foreign policy and I am very happy I will have an opportunity to discuss them with President Putin,” Tsipras concluded.


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