President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, friends, let me welcome you all once again to St Petersburg.
Greece is one of Russia’s important partners in Europe, and I am pleased to see that we have strong and ongoing contacts at all levels. Unfortunately, the circumstances that we know have resulted in a drop in our trade and economic relations, and in 2014, our bilateral trade fell by a whole 40 percent.
In order to improve this situation, in April this year, we adopted the joint action plan for 2015–2016, and now we need to implement it in practice, of course. We welcome too Greece’s initiative to draft a document on intention to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between Greece and Russia. I hope that we will have the chance to discuss this and other matters today.
We are happy to see you in St Petersburg.
Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras (retranslated): Mr President, it is a great pleasure and honour for us, for myself and the members of my government and our delegation, to be here in St Petersburg, your native city, and to attend this important forum.
Following on from our meeting in April, and also the agreements that we signed in Moscow, we are meeting again now to continue our contacts on developing cooperation in various areas, including the energy sector and agriculture.
Today, our energy minister and his Russian counterpart [Energy Minister Alexander Novak] signed a document on the Greek gas pipeline [the continuation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline]. We hope that the construction of this pipeline will create many new opportunities for further cooperation in our region.
We have many opportunities before us, and one of the key events, of course, will be the reciprocal Years of Greece and Russia in 2016.
Of course, between now and November, when our cooperation commission will have its next meeting, we need to draft the memorandum that will organise our further economic cooperation.
We are living in a time full of challenges. I think that cooperation between our two countries can produce results that will enable us to make good use of these challenges and achieve our common goal of ensuring the prosperity of our peoples and our region.