MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Greece on October 29-30 for talks on Russian-EU relations and the situation in Syria, the Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday.
Lavrov is expected to hold talks with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos. The Russian minister is due to meet Greek President Carolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Lavrov and Venizelos will open a conference entitled “Ioannis Kapodistrias and Russian-Greek Relations”. The conference will take place within the events devoted to the 185th anniversary of Greek Independence Day.
The purpose of the visit “is to continue a political dialogue with Greece on a wide range of bilateral and international issues”. Both parties “will exchange views on Russia-EU interaction, including in the context of Greece’s upcoming presidency in the EU slated for the second half of 2014. The parties will also discuss the situation in Syria and Egypt, Iran’s nuclear program and the situation in the Balkan region, etc,” the ministry said.
The positions of Russia and Greece “coincide. Both countries favor the strengthening of the U.N. role in international relations as the key universal institution to maintain peace and security”, the ministry said.
Relations between Russia and Greece “are based on friendship and mutual sympathy. The countries maintain political and other contacts at different levels”, the ministry said.
Greece remains to be Russia’s stable partner in trade and the economy. “Despite serious difficulties in Greece, our relations continue upward trend: trade turnover is growing. In 2012 it reached 6.5 billion dollars - this is the biggest rate in the history of relations. Trade increased by almost 25 percent as compared with 2011. In the seven months of the year mutual trade increased by 4.5 percent and amounted to 3.5 billion dollars as compared with the same period of last year,” the ministry said.
The 8th session of the Russian-Greek commission on economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation gave a considerable impetus to trade and economic interaction between the two countries.
There are good prospects for continuing energy cooperation. “Russian companies show interest in participating in privatization processes in Greece in order to invigorate the financial and economic situation. Russian-Greek humanitarian cooperation develops steadily,” the ministry said.
During the visit, the ministers will make a statement on organizing the Bilateral Year in 2016 that “is designed to give an impetus to bilateral relations”.
Lavrov’s visit to Athens “will facilitate further strengthening of fruitful cooperation between the two countries”, the ministry said.