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Bilateral contacts of Deputy FM Kouvelis with counterparts from Russia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia and Albania on the sidelines of BSEC Thessaloniki Ministerial

Monday, 29 November 2010

Deputy FM Kouvelis met with counterparts from Russia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia and Albania on the sidelines of the BSEC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Thessaloniki within the framework of the Greek BSEC Chairmanship.

In particular, Mr. Kouvelis had a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Andrei Denisov, during which the two sides stressed the need to further strengthen bilateral relations. Mr. Kouvelis’ particularly successful visit to Moscow last June was particularly underlined and also the need to strengthen trade and economic relations between the two countries in the fields of energy and transport. At the same time, they discussed the prospect of organizing a conference in Athens in view of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, mainly with regard to the provision of Greek know-how to Russian enterprises taking part in the organization of the Sochi Olympics. Furthermore, the issue of a rail connection for the transport of cargo between Moscow and Thessaloniki was also raised once again.

At his meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Mr. Dimiter Tzanchev, Mr. Kouvelis stressed the excellent climate of bilateral trade and economic relations. A common realization is the need to promote trade relations particularly with regard to goods and services. The two Deputy Foreign Ministers also underlined the importance of bilateral cooperation in the field of energy with the ITGI-BGI pipelines. Finally, Mr. Kouvelis mentioned the need for cooperation between the two countries in the field of water resource management.

The particularly significant cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan in the field of energy was the main topic of discussion at Mr. Kouvelis’ meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Mr. Mahmud Guliyev, where special mention was made to the ITGI pipeline. They also discussed further strengthening Greek-Azerbaijani business relations in the fields of construction, building materials, new technologies, shipping and pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, they talked about Mr. Kouvelis’ upcoming visit to Baku for the Joint Interministerial Committee meeting and the preparation for the state visit of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, to Azerbaijan in coming April.

At Mr. Kouvelis’ meeting with Armenian Deputy Minister, Mr. Sergey Manassarian, mention was made of the immediate need to strengthen trade, economic and political relations between Greece and Armenia. The latter stressed the BSEC’s importance for the development of the broader region, calling it a bridge with the European Union. At the same time, they looked into the prospect of convening a Joint Interministerial Committee and signing a Memorandum of Cooperation in the fields of culture and tourism.

In the same vein, Mr. Kouvelis had a meeting with his Georgian counterpart, Mr. David Jalagania, where they highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral trade and business relations. The Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister extended an invitation to the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister to visit Georgia.

Finally, Mr. Kouvelis had the opportunity to underscore the very good level in Greek-Albanian relations during his meeting with Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ms. Edith Harxhi. The latter pointed out to Mr. Kouvelis the need to further strengthen bilateral economic cooperation through an exchange of visits by extending an invitation to Mr. Kouvelis to visit Tirana. The main topics of discussion were infrastructure, rural development, tourism and green technologies.

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