Lavrov in Athens for talks on energy, railways and other issues

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov begins a two-day working visit to Greece on Wednesday.

Lavrov will meet President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos during his stay.

He is due to open with Venizelos on Wednesday morning a conference on Greece’s first governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias and modern Greek-Russian ties. The conference is being held to mark 185 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Energy issues and the future of Greece’s railways are expected to be among two of the key matters to be discussed during Lavrov’s visit. The Russian foreign minister will be joined by the head of state-run monopoly Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin.

“The purpose of the visit is to continue our political dialogue with the Greek authorities on a broad range of bilateral and international issues,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

According to Moscow, Greece’s upcoming EU presidency in the first half of 2014, the situation in Syria and Egypt, Iran’s nuclear program, and the state of affairs in the Balkan region will be on the agenda for talks in Athens.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also made reference to growing trade between the two countries and to an increase in the number of tourists from Russia visiting Greece, with arrivals expected to surpass 1 million this year.