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Lavrov visits Greece, talks bilateral relations, NATO, Syria

October 30, 2013, 17:00 UTC+3

Russia's Foreign Minister: the Geneva agreements on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria were being implemented rather effectively

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Matytsin

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Valeriy Matytsin

ATHENS, October 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Geneva agreements on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria were being implemented rather effectively.

At the same time, Lavrov said there were attempts to wreck the Geneva process.

After the talks with Greek Vice-Premier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday, Lavrov said: “We hope that there will be no provocations to wreck the process.”

The Russian minister urged those who can have an impact on the situation “in order to prevent the process from wrecking”.

As soon as the Geneva II Conference becomes real, certain states take a negative position, he said, adding, “Very often different Syrian parties, neighbouring and no-neighbouring countries take objections to convening the conference.”

“It’s surprising that these people can’t hide their emotions. It’s surprising that the West’s reaction is rather weak towards such arrogant statements,” Lavrov said.

The Russian minister said he and U.S. representatives would meet U.N./LAS Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi next week to discuss the Geneva II Conference. “After the meeting we hope to inform other members of the U.N. Security Council about the format of the conference,” Lavrov added.

Russia-NATO problems

Missile defence problems in relations between Russia and NATO “don’t disappear, unfortunately”, Lavrov said, adding: “The activity of the Russia-NATO Council should be based on the principle of equal and indivisible security.”

European politics

Speaking at a conference, Lavrov said: “When a new polycentric international architecture with different centres and development models is being formed partnership is indispensable to resolve common issues and search for responses to global challenges.”

“We can’t admit new dividing lines on the European continent where they are in the field of security, free movement, economic integration and any other form,” the Russian minister said.

“One can’t forget about talented political scientists and diplomats such as Ioannis Kapodistrias,” Lavrov said.

Russia to assist Greece economically

 Russia will uphold Greece’s efforts aimed at overcoming economic difficulties, Russian Foreign Minister said.

At the meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday, Lavrov said: “We’ll back Greece morally and by stepping up trade and economic relations.”

This year a total of one million of Russian citizens have visited Greece, he said, adding that friendship and common views united Moscow and Athens.

Samaras said bilateral relations were very important and had a long history. “Recently the Greek ambassador has presented the credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the Greek premier said.

“President Putin spoke about good relations between our countries. I believe that strategic partnership will continue,” Samaras said.

Political instability

Partnership between Russia and Greece should not depend on fluctuations in the international political environment, Sergey Lavrov said.

He noted: “Greece is Russia’s trustworthy friend and reliable partner. Our views on key international issues are close or the same.”

Moscow and Athens “agree on the necessity to respect generally accepted norms and principles of international law, and to jointly tackle regional problems through a constructive dialogue based on mutual respect”, Lavrov said.

“We appreciate Greece’s consistent policy aimed at strengthening peace, stability and security in Europe and promoting multi-faceted co-operation between Russia and the European Union,” he said. “It is in our common interest to foster this political dialogue between Russia and Greece, to extend co-operation in business and trade and to open new prospects for development.”

“Good relations between Russia and Greece can be regarded as our common heritage and a solid foundation for further co-operation. I am convinced that our partnership should not be subject to political instability in the world,” Lavrov said.

Russia-Greece year

Russia and Greece agreed to conduct the Bilateral Year 2016, Lavrov and Greek Vice-Premier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos said.

“The agenda of the Bilateral Year will include the events in such spheres as education, languages, science, modern scientific achievements and innovation, art, cultural heritage, museum affairs, creative work, sports and youth exchanges,” the declaration says.

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