Athens is keen to strengthen bilateral ties with Moscow, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has said, while expressing Greece’s backing of initiatives aimed at improving strained ties between the European Union and Russia.
Speaking ahead of an official visit to Moscow on Wednesday where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Dendias underlined the “historical ties of friendship and cooperation” between the two countries and stressed Russia’s status as a global power with significant influence in Southeast Europe and the Middle East.
“Russia is an inalienable part of Europe’s security architecture,” he said.
Dendias said that despite tension between Russia and the West in recent years, Greece had “steadily pursued the further deepening of good and cooperative relations with the Russian side on the basis of mutual respect.”
Asked about the Russian ban on EU products and European economic sanctions, the Greek minister said that EU-member Greece has supported the view that the bloc “must maintain good, functional relations and open communication channels with Russia.”
However, he added that as an EU member, Greece – which has been hit by the Russian embargo on the EU fruit and vegetable sector imposed in 2014 – was obliged to apply the Russia sanctions.