Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
The Greek government is desperately looking for money to maintain the country's distressed economy, which despite its difficulty, manages to stay afloat, but continues to lose potential sources of funding.
Although Russia's foreign minister Lavrov earlier said they would consider extending aid, the offer is now off the table.
On Feb.24, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said that Russia currently excludes financial aid to Greece, as the budget does not provide funds for this purpose.
As financial negotiation teeter, Greece is playing "the pipes", and trying to have the best of both worlds. The matter rests in the Southern Gas Corridor and the Turkish Stream, as both projects involve the direct participation of Greece in their implementation.
The existing situation should show Greece which project is really worth the effort, and which will bring the country real income. At present, the answer is clearly obvious to practically everyone.
The Turkish Stream today at all stages lags behind the Southern Gas Corridor project. Implementation of the latter has already started, multibillion-dollar agreements were signed, large investments were made. At the same time, nothing at all has yet been allocated for the implementation of the Turkish Stream.
Aside from direct revenues from the operation of the Southern Gas Corridor, Greece will get great discounts for gas and thousands of jobs for its citizens.
Furthermore, in the case of successful completion of the deal where SOCAR buys a 66 percent stake in DESFA, the Greek side can get an additional $400 million. Taking into account the current size of Greek debt this sum may seem small, but the money is needed.
Most recently, the European Central Bank said it would not take part in writing-off or restructuring Greece's debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also ruled out the possibility of debt relief for Greece.
This is while Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varufakis said that the country would not take out any more loans, adding that repaying of the current debt by Greece should be linked to economic growth.
Naturally, the pro-Russian orientation of the new government of Greece is evident, but the reality is that the country is in need of investments and income, and at present, only Azerbaijan can give such opportunity to this country.
Edited by CN
Maksim Tsurkov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov