‘If Greek financial assistance is needed, we will consider that’ – Russian Deputy PM
On Friday, Russia and Greece signed a deal to create a joint company for the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greek territory, which will supply 47 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the EU should “applaud” the deal since it will help create desperately needed new jobs in Greece.
On the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich spoke to RT about cooperation between Russia and Greece, as well as other topics.
RT:Mr. Tsipras is in Moscow in the wake of the breakdown in debt talks with his European creditors, what is he hoping to get from Moscow, if anything?
Arkady Dvorkovich: We have very strong political and economic relations with Greece and in difficult times we always support our partners…. We are supportive of any solutions that Greece and European partners and friends may propose. Certainly we have a priority to support investment projects and trade with Greece, and if financial assistance is needed we will consider that. But overall, it is our priority to have a stable Europe, a stable Greece and we’ll continue to supportive of a resolution of the Greek financial crisis.
RT:Western media are speculating that Greece is after a loan from Russia in exchange for a promise to block the extension of EU sanctions. Is there any truth to those claims?
AD: There are many countries in Europe that want sanctions to be lifted as soon as possible, and Greece is among them. I think those countries are thinking about business, about their own economies, not about politics and we believe it is a constructive approach. So we now have more intensive consultations with those countries than with European majors who don’t want to continue economic dialogue at this point.
RT:If the sanctions are extended anyways, how will the Kremlin respond?
AD: If sanctions are extended then we will continue to have our food embargo, so we will not allow food products from countries who established sanctions against Russia, and basically we’ll continue the policies that we started a few months ago without any substantial changes.
RT:Just back to business at the forum where you are now, apart from the much-discussed Turkish Stream, what other lucrative deals are on the table in St. Petersburg?
AD: Well, we have very intensive dialogue with our Asian-Pacific partners, in particular China, yesterday [Friday] at the investment commission… around 30 projects have been approved, billions of dollars will be invested into those projects. Also, memorandums have been signed with French, German companies, IBM, Intel on different investments in R&D activities in Russia. Overall, we are happy with the participation of foreign investors at the St. Petersburg Forum and the contracts and memorandums signed here.
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