Greece begins to defy NATO/EU – Now considers Russia a “strategic partner”

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ATHENS – Russia is a strategic partner for Greece, and Athens intends to develop cooperation in all fields, said the first deputy minister of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sia Anagnostopoulou.

“Russia is our strategic partner, and after the visit of the Greek Prime Minister [Alexis Tsipras] to Moscow in December 2018 and his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the cooperation has been very good and fast,” Anagnostopulu told reporters.

He noted that Athens cooperates with Russia in all areas not affected by the sanctions.

“With Russia, which we consider our strategic partner, we carry out all kinds of cooperation in areas not affected by sanctions and we try to find ways to develop cooperation,” he said.

The XII session of the Russian-Greek Joint Commission on Economic, Industrial, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was held on 18 and 19 April in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.

Greece believes that without Russia it is impossible to achieve structural security in Europe, said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras back in his meeting with Putin.

“Greece is a member of the EU and NATO and must honor its commitments but believes that a security architecture or the promotion of an international problem-solving initiative cannot exclude Russia,” said Tsipras.

The Greek prime minister advocated dialogue with Russia by underlining that it is the attitude he has constantly promoted for the last 3 and a half years in all international forums.

He also said that while serving as prime minister, Greece will not renounce its position on relations with Russia under pressure from other countries.

“It is proved by the fact that Greece was the only EU country that did not accept to expel diplomats (Russians) for the Skripal case,” said Tsipras.

On the other hand, he stressed that when it comes to a particular case that has some relationship with Greece or causes concern, the country must “send certain signals but at the same time move forward.”

Tsipras recalled the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Greece last July, but said the matter has been resolved.

Greece was one of the countries that did not participate in the campaign for the expulsion of diplomats initiated by London and supported by another 28 countries for alleged involvement of Moscow in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the British city of Salisbury in March.

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