Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin held wide-ranging talks in Moscow on Friday, agreeing that a diplomatic spat in the summer had ended and expressing a common interest in energy cooperation.
In a joint press conference, Putin said Moscow would consider inviting Greek companies to help deliver Russian gas to European countries.
“We are ready to consider the possibility of inviting Greek companies to join major infrastructure projects for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe via the southern route,” Putin said. The two leaders also discussed cooperation in other areas of the economy including tourism.
The two men indicated that a dispute this summer, which led Athens to expel Russian diplomats suspected of trying to undermine the Macedonia name deal, was in the past.
Putin described the allegations that led to the ejection of the Russian diplomats, and the subsequent dismissal of Greek envoys from Russia, as “rubbish, nonsense.” “I hope this page has really been turned,” he said. “The case is closed, we are looking ahead,” Tsipras agreed.
The Greek premier expressed his concern over Turkey’s purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia in a deal that has unnerved Washington and Turkey’s NATO allies. “I expressed our concern in relation to Turkey’s new defense program,” he said.
As for the Prespes name deal, Tsipras defended it as a “fair basis” for solving a chronic problem and keeping nationalist forces at bay.