Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

06/13/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/13/2018 11:00

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during a news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Kotzias,[...]

Ladies and gentlemen,

We held very substantive talks that we will continue at a working breakfast.

We noted our mutual interest in maintaining and substantially increasing the legacy left to us by our predecessors and the relations that have lasted for more than a century.

We noted the dynamic growth of trade, commercial and economic ties. Last year trade grew by almost 30 per cent to reach $3.7 billion. We are consolidating our ties in the investment, energy, scientific, technical and law enforcement areas. Today we agreed on ways to expedite the updates of our contractual foundation.

We have a common and positive assessment of our cultural and humanitarian contacts. The Russia-Greece Cross Year of Tourism is being held with success this year. A number of interesting events have already been held in this context.

We agreed to continue cooperating closely in international organisations, including the UN, the OSCE, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation and the Council of Europe.

Russia and Greece believe that the dialogue between Russia and the EU and between Moscow and Brussels needs improving. In this context we appreciate the constructive attitude of our Greek partners.

For our part, we discussed with our Greek colleagues what we think about military-political developments on our common continent. I am referring primarily to the buildup of US and NATO military activities near Russian borders. We will continue compelling our colleagues in NATO to display respect for all the agreements that were proclaimed at top political levels: on the unacceptability of dividing lines and of building security at the others' expense.

Naturally, we exchanged views on a settlement in Cyprus. Russia and Greece favour a solution to this old problem based on the relevant UN resolutions and agreements between the two parties.

We are interested in settling issues in the Western Balkans in line with the aspirations of the people there. This applies to a Kosovo settlement based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

We reconfirmed our position on a settlement for Ukraine. I told my colleague and friend Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Kotzias about the meeting in the Normandy format at the foreign minister level in Berlin on June 11. We insist that there is no alternative to the Minsk Package of Measures and that this should be strictly carried out as approved by the UN Security Council.

Our countries have close positions also on the various crises in the Middle East and North Africa, including the need to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the Syrian settlement.

Naturally, we agreed to maintain close contact between our foreign ministries through the useful practice of consultations at various levels.

Thank you for inviting me to Greece. I will certainly visit.

To be continued...