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  Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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The Russian and Greek presidents will discuss the situation in the Balkans
The Russian and Greek presidents will discuss the situation in the Balkans, bilateral cooperation and the construction of the Burgas-Alexandropoulos pipeline at a Kremlin meeting Thursday, a source in the presidential administration said. Vladimir Putin and Karolos Papoulias are expected to exchange views on the situation in the Albanian-dominated Serbian province of Kosovo, which is vying for independence in the face of strong Serbian and Russian opposition, as well as a host of international cooperation issues, including the construction of a pipeline linking the Black Sea region to world oil markets. "Among the international issues of mutual interest to be discussed will be the situation in the Balkans, the problem of Cyprus, Russian relations with the European Union and NATO, Russian-Greek cooperation in the Black Sea region as well as in various international organizations, including the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC)," the source said. The visit of the Greek president is a follow-up to President Putin's visit to Greece March 15, which saw the long-delayed signing of the Burgas-Alexandropoulos pipeline deal to bypass the crowded Turkish straits. The source said the reciprocal visit by the Greek president would essentially build on the accomplishments of that trip. He said that of special concern to Russia is the increasing momentum building in the United Nations to adopt the so-called Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo, which calls for the independence of the Albanian-dominated Serbian province. Russia has rejected the blueprint as unworkable and warned of the dangerous precedent it would set for other independence-minded regions in former Soviet states. The source said that as a culmination of the official visit, a joint plan of action for 2007-2009 would be signed to include Russian-Greek cooperation on a range of bilateral issues, including humanitarian and cultural projects. President Papoulias is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Patriarch Alexy II, and will address a Russian-Greek business forum. Before flying home June 2, he will visit St. Petersburg's Peterhof Palace and St. Petersburg State University.
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