Tsipras: Greece is a sovereign country which practices an independent and multidimensional foreign policy

Greece is a sovereign country which practices an independent and multidimensional foreign policy, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during a joint press conference with Russia President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, following their meeting here.

“Greece is not a debt colony,” he noted in response to remarks by European officials regarding his trip to Moscow, adding that “we are all fellow-passengers and co-owners of the European vessel,” and that no one could throw Greece out.

The Greek premier underlined that Greece had financial problems but will resolve these within Europe, while continuing developmental and economic cooperation with Russia.
Tsipras noted that the country is leveraging its geopolitical role for the benefit of Greek citizens according to commitments resulting from its participation in international organisations.

“We can make new start in Greek-Russian relations,” which have been in decline over the past few years, the Greek premier said, adding that he discussed building a gas pipeline that will pass through Greece, crossing the Turkish borders. He said the talks with the Russian president had been constructive and examined the prospect of developing trade ties, as well as relations in tourism and transport.

Regarding developments in the broader region, Tsipras stressed that all sides must uphold the Minsk agreement for the Ukraine crisis, which he said was “the key to leaving behind us the vicious circle of sanctions”. He also stressed that Russia cannot be absent from the building of a security system for the region.

On his side, the Russian President noted that his country is ready to assist Greece economically, participating in investments and privatisations, as well as by boosting trade relations.

“Last year trade transactions fell by 40 pct. We will make every effort to restore trade relations to the previous level,” he said, adding that the development of economic ties between Greece and Russia will also benefit Greece’ creditors.