Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to discuss the whole range of issues affecting Greece and Russia in his meeting on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The two men have met before, in May 2016, in Athens, when Mitsotakis was the newly elected leader of the then opposition New Democracy party.
At a time when the crisis in the Ukraine threatens to further deteriorate Russia’s relations with the West, there is some risk in the meeting. But Athens officials insist it will exclusively focus on bilateral relations, while remarking that Greece is a member of the European Union and NATO, which “form the basis of its foreign policy. It supports and respects the decisions of these organizations.”
The same government sources also pointed to the longstanding relations between Greece and Russia and the latter’s steadfast support for the International Law of the Sea, including Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters, and also its positive stance on the Cyprus issue.
A day before his meeting with Putin, Mitsotakis will make a five-hour visit to Israel to take part in the tripartite meeting with the hosts and Cyprus.
The three countries are expected to release a statement regarding recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
This will be Mitsotakis’ first meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Naftali Bennett, in office since June, and President Isaac Herzog, who was sworn in last July.
The Israeli government had cancelled all official visits for this and next week due to the emergence of the Omicron mutation of the coronavirus. However, Bennett decided that the tripartite meeting would take place, after all.