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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-06

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Russia's Ivanov holds talks with PM, defence minister

  • [01] Russia's Ivanov holds talks with PM, defence minister

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Wednesday with visiting Russian deputy prime minister and defence minister Sergey Borisovich Ivanov.

    The two men reviewed bilateral relations and also discussed Russia's relations with NATO and the European Union, as well as matters related to energy cooperation.

    The two sides reiterated their political volition that the relevant memorandum for advancement of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline by the end of the year, as agreed during the trilateral summit meeting between Greece, Georgia and Russia in September 2006 in Athens, where Russian president Vladimir Putin, Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis and Bulgarian president Georgi Purvanov Purvanov signed a political agreement to that effect.

    Karamanlis and Ivanov further discussed Balkan issues, particularly Kosovo, while the Russian deputy prime minister also conveyed greetings to Karamanlis from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    Defence cooperation discussed by Ivanov, Meimarakis

    Visiting Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov held talks centred on bilateral cooperation in defence during a meeting with his Greek counterpart Vangelis Meimarakis in Athens on Wednesday. The two men also discussed the security situation in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and its surrounding region.

    During the meeting, the two ministers outlined specific proposals for present and future cooperation in arms procurements and signed a programme for military cooperation in 2007.

    Ivanov and Meimarakis described cooperation between Greece and Russia as strategic and expressed political will to further promote cooperation in the defence sector.

    Meimarakis also thanked the Russian government for its positive and constructive stance at the UN Security Council on achieving an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem, while repeating Greece's support for finding a comprehensive, just and viable solution for reuniting the island republic that would benefit its population.

    He noted Greece's support for strengthening relations between Russia and NATO, as well as Russia and the European Union, and Athens' support for efforts to establish a climate of security in the Balkan region.

    Regarding arms procurements, the Greek minister stressed that Russian weapons system would be assessed by Greek services on an equal basis as the systems of other suppliers, without prejudice and in accordance with Greek laws.

    Ivanov, noting that the decision to purchase weapons system lay at the discretion of the government and Parliament of each country, clarified that Russia respected Greek laws and that every contract would include sections on servicing the systems and training military personnel in their use, as Greek law now require.

    All spare parts would be certified by the single Russian company that produced them, he added.

    The Russian minister also pointed out that Russian arms equipment already purchased by Greece had so far proved reliable.

    Another point discussed during the meeting was the creation of a system for supplying spare parts for the Russian weapon system Greece had already purchased, as well as the creation of a "joint-venture company" that would have a licence to manufacture Russian high-technology systems in Greece to support Russian weapons system.

    Meimarakis said that the proposals for extended cooperation by the Greek and Russian defence industries, including that of manufacturing sub-systems in Greece, was positively received by the Russian side. He said the prospect would be mutually beneficial for both countries and would also help boost Greece's national defence industry.

    The ministry revealed that the Russian side has approved the future sale to Greece of short and medium-range missile systems and a amphibious armoured combat vehicle.

    Asked whether Russia intended to sell the same weapons systems to Turkey, Ivanov noted only that Russia currently had no orders from Turkey, while pointing out that Russia had a larger balance of trade in military equipment with Greece than with Turkey, even though this relationship was reversed in terms of overall trade.

    Regarding Russia's stance toward North Korea, Ivanov urged the UN Security Council to make a realistic decision in the direction of a diplomatic solution.

    The Russian minister left Athens on Wednesday afternoon.


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