Weather keeps Putin from Athos pilgrimage

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ended the first official visit by a Russian head of state to Greece, the results of which Greek government spokesman Christos Protopappas described yesterday as extremely important. Although the two delegations discussed ambitious energy projects and the possibility of Greece buying more Russian arms, the bad weather that has hit Greece prevented Putin from fulfilling his wish of visiting the monastic peninsula of Mt. Athos. Instead, he visited the ancient tombs at Vergina, including that of Macedonian King Philip II, accompanied by his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos, before returning to Moscow. Putin also visited the church of Aghios Dimitrios in Thessaloniki. Greece and Russia signed agreements ranging from cooperation in crimefighting to business alliances. In a message to the conference of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad in the northern city yesterday, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides said the Greek Cypriots would continue with their positive stance during the talks.

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