Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Monday underlined the excellent relations shared by Greece and Russia while receiving Russian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Alexander Grushko currently in Athens for a conference on European security.
Droutsas stressed that the conference on “The Politico-Military Dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives”, co-hosted with Russia, is a follow-up to the so-called “Corfu Process” inaugurated by Greece while chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He also reminded that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the first to speak about the need for a dialogue on the European security architecture.
The FM pointed out that the visit of the Russian government official presents a great opportunity for discussing international, regional and bilateral issues.
“Our bilateral relations are excellent on all sectors and are based on a deep-rooted friendship between our two peoples,” Droutsas underlined, adding that Greece works systematically for a closer cooperation between Russia and the EU and between Russia and NATO.
He stressed that hopefully Greece will host a large number of Russian tourists this summer, adding that “the Greek consulate authorities in Russia are the fastest in the Schengen countries as regards visa issuance for Europe”. He expressed the wish that soon the Russian citizens will not need a visa for Europe, underlining that this is a top priority for Greece which works systematically toward this direction.
On his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Alexander Grushko underlined that Greece has played an important role in introducing a new spirit in the Russia-NATO relations, adding that the Greek-Russian transactions reached 7 billion euros last year breaking a new record.
He referred to the increased number of Russian tourists visiting Greece and pointed out that last year they were more than 390,000 expressing optimism that this year their number will be even larger.
The conference on “The Political-Military Dimension of European Security: Proposals and Perspectives”, to be opened on Tuesday by Droutsas and Grushko, is aimed at holding a broad discussion on the role played in European security by Greece and Russia.
Among the speakers will be politicians, diplomats, military personnel and researchers with extensive experience in European security issues, from Greece, Russia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Ukraine.