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Greek Diplomacy: Tsipras and Kotzias To Visit Iran; Support Russia in Syria

Oct. 5, 2015 (EIRNS)—Greek diplomacy is reaching out to Russia and Iran as a result of meetings last week at the United Nations.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York City on Sept. 29, on the sidelines of the UNGA. In a statement to Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) following the meeting, Kotzias said "We have had a number of meetings at the UN. The General Assembly is very, very important for both multilateral and bilateral negotiations, and in this context we saw the Foreign Minister of Russia. 2016 is the Year of Greek-Russian Friendship and cooperation, and I invited him to come to Athens this year so that we can move ahead with our cooperation." The two discussed the situations in both Syria and Ukraine, as well as Greek-Russian cooperation.

By contrast, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last week failed to attend the U.S.-sponsored meeting on creating an anti-Islamic State alliance, because the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.) was invited as the "Republic of Macedonia." This has been a sensitive issue for Greece since F.Y.R.O.M. has revanchist claims on Greece’s own province of Macedonia.

Also on Sept. 29, Kotzias met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the two exchanged views on Syria and the wider region of the Middle East and expressed their desire to strengthen their efforts for further cultivation of bilateral relations and deepening political, economic, trade and cultural cooperation. Kotzias invited Zarif to the Conference on Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East, to be held in Athens on Oct. 18-20. Kotzias will also visit Tehran, as earlier scheduled but postponed by Greece’s recent elections. His visit will be followed by that of Prime Minister Tsipras.