MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The negotiations between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on December 7 will make it possible to pacify the dialogue between Moscow and Athens, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Greek newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton.
"The second half of the ending year was difficult for the Russian-Greek relations," the Russian foreign minister noted. "The political-diplomatic crisis, which was provoked by actions of Greek authorities, which expelled the current and former employees of Russian foreign diplomatic missions in Greece, led to temporary suspension of the interstate dialogue. We did not carry out any actions to scale back cooperation and reacted only to the accusations against us."
"We consider the reached agreement on Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’ working visit to Moscow on December 7 to be timely and rather important," Lavrov pointed out. "We proceed from the fact that his negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will make it possible to return the bilateral dialogue back to normal."
The Russian foreign minister expressed confidence in the absence of real obstacles which could impede the development of Russian-Greek relations. In his opinion, Moscow and Athens are capable of building up ties in all areas, including economy. "The implementation of massive joint projects should be a priority," he went on. "It will make it possible to approach new stages of cooperation."
"We still consider Greece an important partner in supporting peace and stability in Europe, in particular in the East Mediterranean region and the Balkans," the Russian foreign minister stressed.
On July 11, Athens newspaper Kathimerini reported, citing sources, that the Greek government decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban entry to the country for two more. According to the newspaper, Athens blamed them for intervention in the country’s domestic affairs, as well as actions that undermine national security. Later Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos confirmed the information about the diplomats’ expulsion. On August 6, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Greek Ambassador in Moscow Andreas Friganas, where he was given a note on retaliatory measures. In light of this Lavrov cancelled his visit to Athens, which was scheduled for September.