Greek PM Tsipras rules out turning to Russia for aid

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 02, 2015 5:52 AM

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday said his left-wing government would make full use of a mandate for negotiations with European partners and ruled out seeking aid from Russia.

"We are in substantial negotiations with our partners in Europe and those have lent us. We have obligations towards them," Tsipras said at a news conference, when asked about whether Greece was open to aid from Russia.

"Right now, there are no other thoughts on the table."

Speaking in Nicosia during his first foreign trip as prime minister, Tsipras said he discussed with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades the need for a coordinated stance for a "bridge of peace and cooperation between Europe and Russia."

Tsipras also ruled out his country leaving the euro, saying anyone who believed small euro zone states like Greece and Cyprus were not essential in the bloc would be disproven.

"The EU and eurozone would be both dismembered along their Southeastern flank without Greece and Cyprus," Tsipras said.

Tsipras also called for the "troika" mechanism of European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF inspectors overseeing the finances of struggling countries to be replaced.

"I believe that this would be a mature and necessary development for Europe," Tsipras said.

Tsipras also said his government would strongly support the Cypriot government's efforts to seek a reunification of the island, which was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas, writing by Deepa Babington)