A Major Development: Tsipras To Meet President Putin at St. Petersburg
In a major development, Greek Reporter, citing Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reported Tuesday that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsirpas will have a working meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 19. The Greek premier will be in St. Petersburg to attend the three-day (June 18-20) St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), and ostensibly the meeting will take place on the sidelines of the forum.
The meeting is of great significance, since the EU, on behalf of the creditors, has exerted the heaviest pressures on Greece to bankrupt and destroy itself. Tsipras had earlier received a formal invitation from the Russian government to join the BRICS New Development Bank, and it was reliably reported that this topic would be discussed during Tsipras's visit to SPIEF. Now, it turns out he will be meeting with Putin, as well as other with Russian representatives.
Besides the urgent issues of the day, Greece and Russia are linked by long historical, cultural, and religious ties. According to the posting in the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs website today,
"contacts between the two countries are frequent and include reciprocal visits of the ministerial and political leadership... There is a Joint Inter-ministerial Committee between the two countries on issues of economic, industrial, scientific and technological cooperation... There are also broad prospects for cooperation in the cultural sector, and by joint decision of the two sides, 2016 will be a Year of Greece in Russia and a Year of Russia in Greece."
The prestigious St. Petersburg International Economic Forum has attracted thousands of important participants this year, despite the efforts of the Obama administration to isolate Russia internationally. Most recently U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Victoria Nuland's errand boy, called on American corporations to not participate in SPIEF. India's Modi government has announced that Nirmala Sitharaman, India's State Minister for Commerce and Industry, will lead the Indian delegation. Her objective will be to increase India-Russia trade to advance the intent expressed in the Joint Statement issued by President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2014. China's delegation to SPIEF will also be the largest ever.