PM heads to Moscow with broad agenda

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Wednesday in the hope of reviving economic cooperation between the two countries.

Ahead of Tsipras’s arrival in Moscow late Tuesday, there were suggestions that Greece’s liquidity difficulties may form part of the discussion with Putin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Greece’s debt could be raised but that the discussion would cover the “whole range” of Greek-Russian relations.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Tuesday that the Greek government had not asked Moscow for a loan and that this issue would not be discussed. One of the key concessions that Tsipras would like to return to Athens with is an agreement by Moscow to lift the embargo on Greek fruit and vegetable exports to Russia.

Kommersant newspaper reported that the Russian side is considering lowering the price of natural gas supplied to Greece by Gazprom.

“We are also ready to discuss the possibility of allowing Greece new loans. But in turn we are interested here in reciprocal moves, in particular in terms of Russia getting certain assets from Greece,” a Russian government source told the daily.

The two leaders may also discuss Russia’s plans for the so-called Turkish Stream pipeline, which would carry gas up to the Greek-Turkish border. On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Greece, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia and Turkey agreed in Budapest to boost regional energy security and competitiveness. The ministers said their aim is to formulate a strategy to receive gas from multiple sources and to have suppliers compete for customers.

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