Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Moscow and talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin turned out to be a sideshow, some world reports said.
Why Greece is Wooing Russia
Epoch Times – Valentin Schmid
Greece is between a rock and a hard place. Having wasted the chance to make a clean sweep, default and restructure, it is now dependent on foreign help. The good news is it has a few countries to choose from.
This week, Greek premier Tsipras visited Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin to discuss how the two countries can cooperate.
Although the terms were kept rather general, it is clear what both parties want. Putin wants Greece to cooperate on its new Turkish Stream pipeline project, which is supposed to deliver gas to Europe via Turkey and Greece.
In addition, Russia has a big interest in having Europe lift economic sanctions. If it strikes a bilateral deal with Greece, other countries could follow suit.
Greece hopes to get several things from Russia, some of them inconceivable, some of them realistic.
In a very unrealistic dreamlike scenario, unlimited economic support from Russia could enable Greece to completely turn its back on the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, default on all of its debt and start again with Russian help.
Getting rid of the debt would mean independence from EU interference in Athen’s affairs and scrap costly interest payments. However, there is a big catch; otherwise Greece might have already done exactly that.
Could Greece Be Key To Better EU-Russia Relations?
Moscow talks have had a very positive outcome for the Greek side, both politically and economically. Moreover, it may also contribute to the improvement of EU-Russia relations, Greek political expert Pericles Grispos claimed.
The visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Russia has warmed bilateral relations between the countries, increased the geopolitical role of Greece and may contribute to the improvement of relations between Brussels and Moscow, Grispos said.
“The visit of the Greek Prime Minister to Moscow and his contacts with Vladimir Putin as well as the Russian political leadership did return Greek-Russian relations back on track,” Grispos told RIA Novosti.
“After a fairly long period of coolness in relations between the two countries, the Greek prime minister warmed the Greek-Russian ties, at the same time raising the geostrategic role of Greece to the level that it deserves,” he added.
Tsipras visited Moscow on April 8-9. He held talks with President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian officials, signing a number of bilateral agreements.
The Greek Prime Minister also met with representatives of the Greek Diaspora and gave a lecture at Moscow State University for International Relations (MGIMO).
“The Moscow talks have had a very positive outcome for the Greek side, both on the political and on the economic level. Greece lets its European partners know, that it, of course, respects the European law and its place in the EU and the eurozone, but that at the same time it has the right to conduct a free, independent and multi-dimensional policy,” the expert said, adding that is not clear why Tsipras’ visit to Moscow caused a negative reaction in the West.
Spain Rips Greece on Russia
euobserver – Andrew Rettman
Spain has criticised Greece over Russia sanctions as the EU moves toward renewing economic restrictions.
The Spanish foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, said in Barcelona on Thursday (9 April) that the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, was wrong to speak out against EU measures whe he visited Moscow earlier this week.
“I can’t share the opinion of the Greek prime minister”, he said.
“The key condition to lift the sanctions is that Russia respects international law. Respecting international law means respecting the Minsk [ceasefire] accords, stopping intervention to help the separatists in Donbas and giving up the Crimean peninsula [which Russia annexed from Ukraine]”, he added.
“Once international law is re-established, the time will come to look for a formula to end this state of latent tension between Russia and the European Union”.
Tsipras in Moscow on Wednesday (8 April) had denounced “the vicious circle” of EU sanctions and Russia counter-sanctions.
But he also linked lifting the EU measures to Minsk compliance.
Garcia-Margallo’s remarks come after his own visit to the Russian capital in March in which he said the EU sanctions “are beneficial for no one” and in which he noted that the Minsk accord is being “observed” despite Nato reports to the contrary.
His more hawkish line on Thursday comes after EU leaders at a summit later in March agreed to extend Russia economic measures for another six months, but to take the legal step closer to their expiration date in July.
For his part, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov, who met his Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, in Moscow also on Thursday, claimed “most” EU states oppose the extension.
The post World Press View: Tsipras’ Russian Gambit Didn’t Pay appeared first on The National Herald.Source: The National Herald