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Seeking Closer Links, Lines Open Between Greece, Russia

Αssociated press

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, speaks to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as they leave a joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Lavrov and Dendias spoke for closer cooperation between Russia and Greece. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

ATHENS- Putting behind them a flap that saw two Russian diplomats expelled by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA for meddling in a deal giving away the name of Macedonia to the newly-named North Macedonia, Greece’s and Russia’s foreign chiefs agreed to set up an official and regular channel of communication without explaining why that hadn’t already been done.

Greece’s Nikos Dendias and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, signed an agreement setting out the framework for discussions at the foreign ministry level over the 2020-22 period, in a meeting sources who weren’t named told Kathimerini had an “extremely cordial atmosphere.”

The decision, said Dendias, marks the start of “a new chapter” in bilateral ties as the two also were said to have talked about discussed regional issues including Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria and sending energy drill ships and warships into Cypriot sovereign waters.

The talks, Dendias said, focused both on bolstering bilateral ties and fostering “closer cooperation and mutual understanding of international and regional issues,” the paper reported while Lavrov said Greece’s new Conservative government “provides us with an opportunity to analyze and review our bilateral relations and to see how they will further develop” with both men using the quiet code of diplomatic language to avoid saying anything of substance.

Before setting off, Dendias underlined the “historical ties of friendship and cooperation” between the two countries where relations have been on-again and off-again, especially during European Union sanctions over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine’s former civil unrest that was tumultuous.