Putin sees Greece as ‘important partner in Europe’

Putin sees Greece as ‘important partner in Europe’

Ahead of a visit to Greece, Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the country as “Russia’s important partner in Europe” in an article in Kathimerini and pointed to potential cooperation in regional energy projects as well as highlighting Moscow’s interest in Greece’s railways.

“We are conducting a dynamic political dialogue,” Putin wrote, noting that bilateral cooperation “rests on a rock-solid base of common civilizational values, the Orthodox culture and a genuine mutual affection.”

The Russian leader is due to meet Tsipras and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday before traveling to Mount Athos on Saturday.

The Kremlin said earlier this week that talks with Tsipras would “focus on key aspects of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, including joint projects in the energy and transport sectors.”

Putin's visit to Athens is to conclude with the signing of several bilateral agreements.

Referring to two visits to Russia last year by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Putin noted that “contacts between ministries and agencies, parliaments and civil society organizations are growing stronger.”

Stressing that Greece is “Russia’s important partner in Europe,” Putin expressed his interest in including Greece in Russia’s plans for regional energy projects.

“Issues relating to southern routes of energy shipment to the European Union states are still on the agenda,” he wrote.

Putin also conveyed Russian business interest in “streamlining the Greek transport infrastructure,” referring to “the forthcoming Greek tenders for the purchase of assets of railway companies and the Thessaloniki port facilities.”

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