The Greek Prime Minister held a series of contacts on the sidelines of the first day of the One Belt One Road Forum in Beijing, following his address of the Forum plenary.
The first meeting Alexis Tsipras held was with the Swiss Confederation President Doris Leuthard. According to IBNA sources, during the meeting, the Greek side stressed the need for even greater cooperation tax and judicial authorities so that evasion is combatted along with the outflow of Greek capital to Swiss banks and allowing the registration of assets owned by Greek citizens in Switzerland.
Doris Leuthard began by congratulating the Greek government and the Greek people on their attitude towards the refugee issue, highlighting the solid support of both the Swiss government and the Swiss people.
She then expressed her concern about the developments in the Western Balkans and exchanged views and information on the particularly unstable region of Southeast Europe.
As the President of the Swiss Confederation pointed out, it is imperative to revise the Dublin Treaty on the basis of solidarity rather than isolationism and unilateralism.
Alexis Tsipras later met with IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde. The pair completely agreed on the necessity of Greek debt relief by identifying immediate measures in the medium term to enable the growth potential of the Greek economy to unfold.
Christine Lagarde pointed out that if German Finance Minister Schuble insisted on his view that debt relief is unnecessary, and on the other hand he did not agree on a feasible fiscal path for after 2018, the IMF would withdraw from the current program.
Alexis Tsipras responded to the IMF Managing Director’s remark on the possible withdrawal of the IMF from the program, by arguing that in such a case the measures to be voted within the week would not be applied in 2019-2020.
At noon Alexis Tsipras received UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, where the Cyprus issue was discussed, with the Greek Prime Minister stressing Greece’s support of finding a just and viable solution to the issue, based on UN Security Council resolutions and the status of Cyprus as an EU Member State.
According to a senior Greek official who spoke to IBNA, it was stressed that Greece’s position on the restarting of the Geneva Conference is that progress should be made in the talks. But this is not feasible because of the attitude of certain actors in the negotiations, as their over-optimistic statements, duplicity and subjectivity undermine the approach of the two communities.
As the Greek Prime Minister stressed, Greece will work towards re-convening the Geneva Conference to find a just and viable solution, based on UN resolutions, without guarantor powers and an occupation army.
Finally shortly after 3 pm, Alexis Tsipras visited Russian President Vladimir Putin at the hotel where he is staying as a guest of China.
The two men met for the first time since the visit of the Russian President to Athens and Mount Athos for the millennium of Russian presence there in May 2016, which was highlighted by both leaders.
This meeting revived the “frozen” relations of the two countries, as a Russian diplomat commented after 70-minute talks between Tsipras and Putin, which went beyond the 30 minutes it was initially scheduled to last.
According to information confirmed by IBNA from both sides, the need for further tightening of the two countries’ political, diplomatic and economic relations was confirmed.
Following the assessment of the Greek-Russian Year 2016 and the overall review of Greek-Russian relations, the debate focused on the results of initiatives to further strengthen relations.
Both sides noted the significant increase in tourist arrivals from Russia to Greece due to the instability prevailing in other destinations favored by Russian tourists, and a more in-depth discussion to solve problems that hinder the even greater increase in arrivals as the Greece-Russia tourist season 2017 begins.
Also discussed was the organization of the 11th meeting of the Joint Inter-ministerial Committee, while Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias was invited by his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Energy, investment and interregional development covered an important part of the talks, which referred to the Russian business mission in June, the prospects for Russian energy investments in the energy, railways and ports sectors.
Finally, Vladimir Putin and Alexis Tsipras spoke extensively about regional developments, with particular emphasis on Syria and the efforts made by Russia alone, as the Russian President said, according to a Russian official. Extensive developments in Libya and the instability that it may cause in the North African region, the Cyprus problem as well as the role of Turkey in the region, were discussed at length.
The Greek Prime Minister, late on Sunday night, attended the official reception dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Monday, Alexis Tsipras will participate in the second day of the One Belt One Road Forum, where he will speak again and possibly announce the Forum’s conclusions, according to unconfirmed information./IBNA
Photos: IBNA/Spiros Sideris, PM/PO/Andrea Bonetti