|Wednesday, 20 March 2019|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-02-11
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Chinese premier invites PM Tsipras to visit ChinaANA-MPA -- Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Wednesday telephoned Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to congratulate him on his election and extended Tsipras an invitation to visit China.
Government sources said that Li Keqiang promised Tsipras to work toward further extending and deepening the historic ties of Greece and China, while they also discussed a visit by a Greek government delegation to China to prepare for the Greek prime minister's visit.
The two leaders examined ways to further improve economic, trade and cultural cooperation, with the Chinese premier assuring Tsipras that Chinese companies are interested in making new investments in Greece. They also examined ways in which Chinese companies can expand their activity into other sectors.
Finally, emphasis was given to the need to upgrade working relations with Chinese companies already established in Greece and their cooperation with Greek companies.
 ND leader Samaras heads for Brussels to attend EPP summitANA-MPA -- Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras is due in Brussels on Wednesday to attend the European People's Party (EPP) summit on Thursday.
He will meet with European leaders, members of the EPP, and according to sources, he will back the national effort, underlining that the huge sacrifices made by the Greek people during the past few years should not go to waste.
The ND leader will underline the achievements of his government and the fact that Greece has met its commitments so far by achieving primary surpluses and putting the country on the track of economic growth.
Samaras had announced that he will back the national effort when he addressed Parliament during the debate on the government's policy statements by saying that "those who love their country want the government to succeed." He added, however, that "because we love Greece we will not put [its] European future at risk," characterizing the support offered as his party's virtue, so long as the government does not hurt the country.
 Greek, Russian foreign ministers discuss reviving bilateral tiesMOSCOW (ANA-MPA/Th. Avgerinos) - The talks between the foreign ministers of Greece and Russia Nikos Kotzias and Sergey Lavrov, respectively, were held here on Wednesday in a warm and positive atmosphere, with both underlining that their agenda was based on a recent discussion between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and augmented by their intention to revive and accelerate bilateral relations in all areas.
"Greece and Russia share an old, historic and cultural friendship and we seek to expand creatively this relation in the 21st century," the Greek foreign minister said after the meeting, underlining that the new Greek government promotes an active foreign policy.
The ministers agreed that the existing protocols of cooperation and action plans in bilateral relations should be renewed, while their talks also focused on the crisis in Ukraine, which is also affecting Greek-Russian relations.
"Greece is an EU member state and 15 days ago, when the new government took office, it was made clear that we are not a second-class country. We have an active foreign policy, with (specific) proposals and rational negotiations," Kotzias said. He added that he assured his Russian counterpart that "Greece is always willing, as much as it can and if requested, to contribute to the mediation between the EU and Russia and to the solution of the problems in the region."
"We are a European state as well, but we also have great and firm cultural relations, continuity and ties with a state like Russia," he said, reminding that he called on his counterparts in the EU "to stop the 'continuous talk on Ukraine' and draw up a positive agenda with prospects for the entire Europe and specific proposals toward Russia, hoping that soon there will be stabilisation and peace in the region."
"The Greek side's position of principle is the respect to the always peaceful and stabilising role of Russia in Europe and the need for a diplomatic solution to the case of Ukraine," he said, noting that in his opinion it would be preferable for the future of Ukraine to have a federal regime.
The Greek foreign minister said that there should be no thoughts or deceptions that in a conflict like in Ukraine military solutions are possible. "If anyone attempts to heighten the tension the results will be anything but those anticipated," he said, underlining that he briefed his Russian counterpart on the serious problems faced by the 100,000-member strong Greek Ukrainian community in eastern Ukraine. He noted that measures have been taken to guarantee that they will have enough food and medicine.
"The Greek government is greatly concerned about the tension hotbeds in the region surrounding Greece that can destabilise Europe as a whole," Kotzias said, describing a triangle formed by Ukraine, Libya and the Middle East. "We should all do what's necessary so that Greece's effort to send waves of stabilization to the outer sides of the triangle will overpower those who seek to destabilize the entire triangle of Eastern Mediterranean," he said.
Kotzias also recalled the Greek government's proposal to the EU for the protection of the Christian communities in the Middle East, "communities that expressed a common perception we have of life in Greece and Russia as regards coexistence and tolerance, multireligiousness and multiculturalism and respect to a culture that exists for more than 2,000 years in the region."
Referring to the issue of sanctions, Kotzias said that they never brought the results sought by those that introduced them, adding that "other tools of understanding and contribution to the efforts for peace in Ukraine should be found and, in any case, we say to all directions that war is not a solution."
The Greek foreign minister also thanked the Russia leadership for its firm support to Cyprus, "a fact that gives a sense of security to the Cypriot people."
On his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed that both sides want the further development of bilateral relations and announced the renewal of the inter-ministerial cooperation committee, noting that its proceedings will open "without postponements".
He also referred to bilateral cooperation in the sector of energy, saying that "prospects are very good" for Greece's participation and cooperation in the natural gas pipeline project that will be constructed by Russia and extend to the Greek-Turkish borders.
Lavrov welcomed the Greek prime minister's participation in the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Victory over Fascism to take place in Moscow on May 9 and underlined that the rights of all ethnic minorities in Ukraine, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian among others should be respected. He also underlined the importance of the preparations for the Greece-Russia Friendship Year in 2016.
Referring to the issue of sanctions, he said that "we honour the constructive stance adopted by Greece which is in favour of a strategic Russia-EU cooperation," which "will not be sacrificed to certain geopolitical ambitions of third countries."
Responding to a question by ANA-MPA, the Russian foreign minister said that the Greek side fully understands the absolute ineffectiveness of the efforts made to talk with Russia by using sanctions.
Lavrov added that they discussed the economic situation in Greece, noting that any request on behalf of the Greek government for any aid (loans) will be considered.
As regards the Cyprus issue, the Russian side confirmed "the support to the efforts for the implementation of relevant UN resolutions and the agreements reached earlier between the communities on Cyprus," considering that the final decision, according to Moscow, belongs to the two communities and foreign players should help toward an agreement with consensus and mutual respect of interests.
The Russian foreign minister also said that there is room for further development of bilateral defence-technical cooperation, reminding the traditional relations the two countries share in this sector.
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