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MOSCOW, October 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov is to meet the leadership of Greece in Athens on Wednesday to discuss relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union (EU), and the situation in Syria.
While in Athens, Lavrov is to hold talks with his Greek counterpart, Evangelos Venizelos. He is also to meet with President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Lavrov and Venizelos are to make speeches at the opening of a conference on the theme of "Ioannis Kapodistrias and Contemporary Russo-Greek Relations", which will be held on the days of Lavrov's visit within the framework of ceremonies dedicated to the 185th anniversary of the inauguration of the First President of Greece. In the 1816-1822 period, Ioannis Kapodistrias was the Minister of Fereign Affairs of the Russian Empire.
The purpose of Lavrov's visit "is to carry on the political dialogue with the Greek side on a wide range of bilateral and international matters". The sides are to have a detailed exchange of vieqs on Russia-EU interaction, including that wirhin the context of the forthcoming presidency of Greece at the EU in the first half of 2014, an RF Foreign Ministry official pointed out. "The sises are also to discuss the sitution in Syria and Egypt, Iran's nuclear programme, and the state of affairs in the Balkan region", the Ministry official said.
Russia's and Greece's positions on these maters "coincide or are very close". Both countries "come out in favour of enhancing the central role of the UN in intetnational relations as the main universal institution for the maintenance of peace and security.
Analysts in Moscow said "the atmosphere of traditional friendship and mutual sympathies is characteristic of relations between the Russian Federation and the Hellenic Republic; the two countries maitain political and other contacts at various levels".
Greece remains Russia's stable partner in the trade-and-economic sphere. "Despite serious difgiculties being experiencef by the Greek economy, a steady positive dynamic development is observed in this respect. A steady growth of goods turnover has been recorded for several years in succession: in 2012 trade ran at $6.5 billion -- the highest indicator in the entire history of bilateral relations, rising by almost 25 percent as compared with that in 2011. Within the first seven moths of this year, reciprocal trade grew by 4.5 percent as compared with that in the correponding period of last year to rund at $3.5 billion," the RF Foreign Ministry official said.
An appreciable impetus to trade-and-economic interaction was given by the 8th session of the mixed Russo-Greek commission on economic, industrial, scientific and technica cooperation. The session was held in Athens on April 12, this year.
There are good prospects for a successful continuation of bilateral cooperation in the field of energy. "A number of large Russian companies evince interest in participation in the processes of privatization being conducted by the Greek government with a view to normalizing the situation in the financial and economic sphere. Russo-Greek humaitarian cooperation steadily develops as wel," the Minidtry official pointed out.
During the Minister's visit, the sides are to adopt a joint statmend on the observance of a Year of Russia in Greece and a Year of Greece in Russia in 2016, "which are expected to give a powerful impetus to the entire specttum of bilateral relations".
Sergei Lavrov's visit to Athens "will undoubtedly serve to promote a further deepening of fruitful cooperation and the drawing of our two countries and peoples closer together," the Ministry official said.