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Foreign Minister Droutsas’ statement at the 23rd Meeting of the BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers (Thessaloniki, 26 November 2010)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy and honored that I have, once again, the opportunity to meet with you in the framework of BSEC and extend to you a most warm welcome to Greece. A most warm welcome to Thessaloniki, our gateway to the wider Black Sea region. A city that stands at the crossroads of peoples and developments in the area for over 23 centuries now. And, coming to our work, a city that hosts one of BSEC’s related bodies, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank which evolves so successfully in its project oriented mission.

Allow me, at this point to convey to you the wishes of our Prime Minister George Papandreou for a successful and fruitful outcome of this Conference.

During the six months since Greece assumed the Chairmanship-in Office, we have worked intensively to deliver the work of our Organization in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation. Your contribution has always been very constructive and instrumental. I believe that we all share a common aspiration: to promote regional cooperation, enhance the efficiency of BSEC and project the image of BSEC to the international community by enriching its activities. Our goal is to achieve new cooperative approaches to economy, business, entrepreneurship, environmental issues and several other fields by undertaking targeted, commonly agreed action for the benefit and the prosperity of our peoples and the region.

We have greatly appreciated your positive attitude and your continuous support for the efforts of the Chairmanship to meet the challenges of its mission. With your contribution, we have achieved scores of important meetings in all sectors of the BSEC activities, paving the way for the further enhancement of the work of our Organization.

On this occasion, I would like to extend our gratitude to our colleagues, the Ministers of Energy and of Tourism, who have joined the initiatives undertaken by the Chairmanship and come with two important Declarations, offering a new dimension and impetus to our multilateral cooperation.

In the same vein, allow me to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your positive and constructive approach to our proposal for a Declaration on Combating Climate Change. With collective effort deployed by all sides, we will be in a position to adopt a common Declaration, representative of our common vision for dealing with this enormous challenge. The text will be submitted to the upcoming Conference of the United Nations in Cancun, demonstrating our common will to face, in an effective way, the threats from climate change that are looming in our region and beyond. It is my strong belief that in doing so, BSEC, a regional Organization, will be pioneering in promoting the interests of a specific region on this problem.

Dear Colleagues,

We believe in the future of BSEC as an important tool for building and promoting regional economic cooperation with the involvement and valuable contribution not only of its Member States but also of several important partners. We are open to this cooperation which can bring positive results for the economic development and the prosperity of our people. In this respect, I very much welcome the participation of our partners in this Ministerial Meeting.

Organization means continuity and building stepping stones for the future. I am confident that we will maintain the positive tradition that we have inherited from all previous Chairmanships as a precious legacy to all for the enhancement and enlargement of our cooperation.

Finally, as we prepare to hand over the Chairmanship-in-Office to Romania, I would like to wish you, Teodor, every success in your mission.