The conference, organized by the South Aegean Region and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moscow, began on Friday afternoon and will be completed on Saturday with theme workshops, along with a fair of traditional products.
M. Dimitriev, president of the Russian Institute of Strategic Processing, speaking to reporters, during a news conference, said it would be the first time that specific figures about Russian investments to Greece would be presented and noted that Russia was the driving force of Europe in the last two years.
Dimitriev said that Russia suffered in the 1990s the same hardships of a financial crisis currently suffered by Greece and noted that a special report has been drafted, with specific recommendations, over what Russia could do for Greece. The report will be presented during the conference. He noted that current figures over bilateral trade and business relations were minimal, with Greek exports to Russia totaling 2.0 pct. These figures could rise paving new roads in tourism also, Dimitriev said, but said that first various issues -raising hurdles in bilateral relations- should be lifted first.
The Russian delegation -totaling around 100 members- arrived in Rhodes on Friday and met with regional authorities, tourism and professional groups. Parliament vice-president Grigoris Niotis also attended the meetings.
Georgi Muradov, Head of the International and External Economic Relations, speaking in fluent Greek, said the conference was an historic event and said that the difficulties currently suffered by Greece and the world called for a cooperation, “since we have a common culture”.
Other Russian officials stressed that businessmen from both countries will find a common language of cooperation and that there were several other sectors beyond tourism. They reassured that the conference will agree on the new sectors of bilateral cooperation and stressed that Russian tourists were returning from their holidays in Greece with the best memories, voting in favor of the country as a travel destination.
Greek officials, said that the conditions were ripe for closer cooperation between Greece and Russia and noted that the conference in Rhodes was the first step towards this direction.