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ATHENS, September 29. /TASS/. Relations between Greece and Russia should be revised for the better, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis told TASS.
"I think that the relations should be revised," he said, answering a question on what significance the Greek Foreign Ministry attaches to the development of ties with Russia amid Western anti-Russian sanctions. "The Greece though is a member of the European Union," he said. "Nevertheless, the opportunities for more active development of bilateral ties open up by means of the Cross Year [of culture and tourism] of Greece and Russia ," he noted. "I think numerous activities may be carried out there, which meet the common interests of the two peoples and counties," he added.
The Greek deputy foreign minister confirmed that preparations for the Cross Year had already begun. "Of course, both sides drew up a plan. There was some delay because of the parliamentary elections in Greece, but the work continues and we need to speed it up," Amanatidis said. "The new Greek government has just been appointed, and it intends to intensify this work."
Concerning the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Russian presence on the Holy Mount Athos, for which the Russian Orthodox Church is preparing, the deputy foreign minister noted that "decisions regarding the celebrations would be naturally taken by the Holy Kinot of Mt.Athos and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This self-governing community of 20 Christian Orthodox monasteries of Mt.Athos has been, since 1312, under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, whose residency is located in Istanbul’s Phanar district.
"Greece will assist in the implementation of the decisions taken by both the Holy Kinot and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople whose jurisdiction extends to Mt. Athos," Amanatidis said. "The Greek government bears a relation to this by carrying out political state supervision. Whatever they decide, the Greek government will support this."
The deputy foreign minister also noted that the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) led by [chairman of the State Duma Committee on Rules and Organization of Russia’s State Duma] Sergey Popov promoted stronger ties between the two countries . "The IAO political adviser is also a Russian national — [President of the International Fund for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples] Valery Alexeyev," the diplomat said. "Greece has been cooperating with Russia in this organization for 22 years now. We have established very good relations within its framework, and conferences and symposia held by this organization contributed to strengthening mutual understanding between the two peoples."
The IAO international secretariat will hold a meeting in Athens on October 16, Amanatidis said.