Mishustin's visit to Athens in March was important to Greece — president

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ATHENS, June 8. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit to Athens on March 24-25, timed for the 200th anniversary of the beginning the Greek national liberation revolution of 1821-1829, was of great honor and importance to Greece, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said in an interview to TASS First Deputy Director-General Mikhail Gusman.

“When Greece was celebrating the 200th anniversary [of the Greek national liberation revolution] Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin paid a visit to our country on March 24-25, and we were glad to welcome him here at a banquet in the Presidential Palace, which I gave in honor of the leaders who visited our country. It was a visit of great honor and importance to us. I am certain that tight bonds between Greece and Russia, in combination with frequent contacts that are maintained at a high level, will furnish the basis for further strengthening our cooperation in many spheres of mutual interest,” Sakellaropoulou said.

She stressed that the people of Greece and Russia shared several centuries of friendship.

“Greece completely recognizes and honors the decisive role that Russia played in the emergence of an independent Greek state in the 19th century. The first governor of the new Greek nation was Ioannis Kapodistrias, a prominent politician of his day and the Russian emperor’s foreign minister. He was one of the most important political figures in our country,” Sakellaropoulou added.

Miashustin paid a two-day working visit to Greece on March 24-25. On the first day, he held meetings with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades. At the office of Athens’ mayor the Russian prime minister was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor as a token of recognition of the Russian people’s contribution to the struggle for the liberation of Greece from Ottoman rule. On March 25, Mishustin attended a military parade in Athens on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the national liberation revolution of 1821-1829.

Count Ioannis Kapodistrias was the Russian Empire’s foreign minister in 1816-1822 under Emperor Alexander I and in 1827-1831 – the first governor of Greece after the country’s liberation from 400-year-long Ottoman rule. Kapodistrias made a great personal contribution to the establishment of Greek statehood, the strengthening of Russia’s influence in Greece and Europe and Russia’s relations with the Balkan peoples.

Greece can serve as bridge between Russia, EU, NATO

The Greek president also said that “Greece can serve as a bridge between Russia and the European Union (EU) and also NATO because Athens has centuries-old ties and private contacts with the Russian side”.

“Greece is an integral member of both the EU and NATO while it has centuries-old ties and private contacts with the Russian side and this fact gives it the possibility to understand its concerns,” the Greek president explained.

“Thanks to these two characteristic features that Greece has, it can play a very important role within the framework of understanding and developing these relations between Euro-Atlantic institutions and Russia,” Sakellaropoulou said.

For this reason, Greece constantly advocates maintaining open communication channels between the two sides and expanding relations between them in the fields of mutual interest, the Greek president stated.

“But always on the basis of respect for international law, in order to achieve peace in the world or in the region and stability, which we need so much,” she specified.