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ATHENS, September 16 (Itar-Tass) - The whole range of bilateral relations, as well as international issues will be discussed in Greece by a delegation of the Russian Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, headed by speaker Valentina Matviyenko. The delegation’s official visit to Greece began on Monday.
The visit, which will last until September 17, envisages negotiation with head of the Greek parliament Evangelos Meimarakis, Deputy Prime Minister - Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Talks with Ieronymos II, the Primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Konstantinos Michalos, representatives of Greek businesses, as well as a number of other meetings are also planned.
“We plan to discuss in Athens a wide range of issues on the bilateral agenda, including prospects for the inter-parliamentary exchanges’ intensification, the expansion and legislative support of the legal framework of our bilateral relations. We will also consider opportunities for the development of interregional cooperation,” the speaker of the Federation Council told reporters on the eve the visit.
According to her, during contacts with representatives of the Greek leadership the FC delegation would raise the issue of expanding trade and economic cooperation. “We will talk on ways to diversify our mutual trade, ensure the inflow of investment, taking into account that many Russian companies are interested in developing cooperation with Greece in various spheres, in particular, in the spheres of energy and transport,” the politician said.
Russian parliamentarians also intend to exchange views with the Greek colleagues on important global issues, including the situation in Syria and the Middle East in general. Valentina Matviyenko drew attention to the closeness and often identity of Russian and Greek stances on key issues on the international agenda. She also said that in 2014, Greece would take over the European Union’s presidency. In this regard, the parties would pay attention to the development of relations between Russia and the EU, including the prospects for citizens’ short visa-free travel.
Within the framework of the 185th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Greece, the 3rd Russian-Greek civil society forum will be held in Athens. The Russian Federation Council speaker is to take part in the meeting’s opening ceremony. “This is a very important structure, which helps establish contacts and cooperation between non-governmental organizations, civil society institutions,” she said.
Matviyenko expressed the hope that such a rich dialogue between the parliaments of Russia and Greece would contribute to the development of bilateral relations in various fields.
Assessing the overall state of Russian-Greek relations at the present stage, the speaker of the Federation Council stressed that the 185th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations once again clearly highlights their special, friendly, trusting nature. “We are Orthodox people, we have common cultures and developed humanitarian contacts. Therefore, our interstate relations are stable and long-term. We very much value this and are willing to make efforts for their further development,” she concluded.