Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will be in Sochi on Monday, where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as part of an effort to restore a functional basis to the two countries’ bilateral relationship.
The meeting comes at a time of relatively frosty relations due to Moscow’s multiple fronts with the West.
After visiting Sochi on Monday, Dendias will travel in the wider Novorossiysk region on Tuesday, on dates that coincide with European Council meetings of European Union leaders, which apart from current issues (such as the pandemic, relations with the United Kingdom and climate change) will also open the strategic debate on the relationship with Russia.
In view of this, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met Dendias on Friday to coordinate their stance so as to avoid possible misunderstandings regarding the signal that Athens can send at this stage.
The contacts between Lavrov and Dendias will also include issues of wider interest (such as Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean) but the main focus will be bilateral issues.
Tellingly, a few days ago, the two co-chairs of the Greek-Russian Joint Interministerial Committee, Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Saveliev, discussed how tourists from Russia will be able to visit Greece, touching mainly on vaccination certificates, flights and other technical issues.
Meanwhile on Friday, the Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement welcoming the achievement of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza.
Athens noted the pivotal role played by Egypt and underscored the diplomatic efforts that were undertaken by Dendias with visits this week to Israel, Palestinian territories, Egypt and Jordan. It also said Greece will assist Egypt in the treatment of the injured in Gaza.
Dendias also met on Friday with the French ambassador to Greece, Patrick Maisonnave.
The meeting focused on collaboration between Greece and France, developments in the Middle East and Dendias’ recent visit to the region, the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.