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    Athens Has Right to Independent Foreign Policy - Tsipras

    © REUTERS / Yannis Behrakis
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    Prime minister Alexis Tsipras underscored Greece's right to conduct a sovereign multifaceted foreign policy.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Greece is a sovereign country and has the right to conduct independent foreign policies, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    "As I heard a lot of comments and public statements by European officials in the last couple of days on Greece's intention to renew its relationship with Russia, I would like to tell everyone: Greece is a sovereign country with the unconditional right to conduct a multifaceted foreign policy and use its political role as a European, Mediterranean and Balkan state."

    "We respect our obligations in all international organizations we are a part of, and, at the same time, we use all opportunities on the international level to promote mutually benefiting cooperation and protection of interests of the Greek people," Tsipras said.

    Western media and some officials condemned Tsipras' visit to Moscow in light of the tense relations between Russia and the European Union over the Ukrainian crisis.

    The left-wing Syriza party led by Tsipras came to power in Greece in January, and has taken a pro-Russian stance, saying that Athens wants to increase its cooperation with Russia in energy and other areas.

    Tsipras has called for the economic anti-Russia sanctions to be lifted, calling the measures ineffective.

    President Putin on Wednesday said that Moscow is ready to support Greece's decision to strengthen bilateral ties with Russia in the interests of the countries' economies.

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