02:26 GMT +322 February 2017
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speak during a signing ceremony in the Kremlin

    Greece to Continue Cooperation With Russia, China if Syriza Wins Election

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    If Greek left-wing Syriza party wins the upcoming snap parliamentary election, it will continue its close cooperation with Russia and China, the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General for International Economic Relations Giorgos Tsipras said in an interview with Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned in August and called for a snap election to gain support for his controversial austerity reforms he had been forced to back in order to keep the country in the Eurozone. The Greeks will go to polls on September 20.

    "The development of relations with other countries – with Russia, China, etc – these are fields for which Syriza is committed to do, because we want to diversify our international political and economic relations without getting out of the eurozone or the European Union," Tsipras said.

    Syriza party has taken a number of steps to accelerate economic and strategic cooperation with Russia and its Eurasian Economic Union partners.

    In particular, during the 2015 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF,) then-Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak signed a memorandum on the construction of the extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Greece.

    Syriza will most likely win the upcoming elections, Tsipras believes.

    "Until now almost all the polls, except for one, give the first place to Syriza. Even if the difference between the first two parties is little, in deeper and more qualitative elements of the polls we see that there is a dynamic in favor of Syriza, and it is almost certainly it will be the first party with a significant gap from the second one," Giorgos Tsipras said.

    At the same time Tsipras stressed that it was still unclear whether Syriza would gain the absolute majority needed to create a coalition.

    The secretary general added that although Syriza had signed the 86-billion-euro ($96 billion) bailout package with the country's creditors in exchange for more austerity reforms, the Greek people were still willing to vote for the party.

    "… there are a lot of people who are now not afraid that we [Greece] will get out of the eurozone. Now people know that this is not the policy of Alexis Tsipras, so we have to gain from these people," he said.

    Giorgos Tsipras added that the recently founded Popular Unity party, headed by former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, was not a serious threat to Syriza.

    "There is a lot of pushing Mr. Lafazanis’s party in the media… But I would not say there are many voices in favor of him, because he represents some old left attitudes, so I do not think there is a lot of future for him," he said.

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    parliamentary elections, Syriza, China, Russia, Greece
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