Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his talks with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in Moscow on Wednesday were informed by a shared desire to “preserve our common heritage, which we will seek to enrich,” in statements after their meeting.
The Russian minister pointed to the strong growth of bilateral economic trade relations, which had jumped 30 pct in 2017 to reach 3.7 billion dollars.
Moscow and Athens have agreed to maintain close contact within international organisations, Lavrov said, including the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation and the Council of Europe.
“We discussed the situation in the military sector and the political situation,” he said, while noting the need to improve EU-Russian dialogue and find ways to “take this to a higher level”. He also noted Moscow’s concern over an increase in the US and NATO military presence close to the Russian border. Russia considered the creation of dividing lines “unacceptable”, Lavrov added, while no one had the right to increase their own security at the expense of the security of others.
Regarding energy cooperation with the Western Balkans, Lavrov said the implementation of plans in this sector depended on the states that entered into agreements, noting that Russia always replied affirmatively “when an interest for joint action continues to exist.”
On the deal reached by Athens and Skopje for resolving the name dispute, Lavrov said that Russia had always been in favour of an agreement without outside intervention and without setting artificial deadlines and terms.
“We said we would support a solution that protects the interests of [both countries] and has broad support in society. I hope the agreement announced yesterday is such an agreement,” he said.