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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis, President Putin on signing of South Stream agreement
  • [02] PASOK on Greece-Russia energy agreement

  • [01] PM Karamanlis, President Putin on signing of South Stream agreement

    The visit to Moscow by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the signing of the agreement on the South Stream natural gas pipeline confirms the strategic relation between Greece and Russia, according to statements made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Karamanlis after their meeting at the Kremlin and their working luncheon on Tuesday.

    "Greece's options in the sector of energy have as their exclusive criterion the energy security of our country and of our European partners, through the mutually beneficial cooperation between suppliers, transporters and energy consumers," the prime minister said.

    Referring to the agreement on the South Stream natural gas pipeline, he said that "it is one of the most important projects for the countries of southern and central Europe and it is part of the strategy of diversifying the course of natural gas. With these facts, Greece considers the construction of infrastructures based on conditions of increasing demand for gas as being very positive."

    Focusing on Greece in particular, Karamanlis said that the South Stream is of vital importance for the Greek energy market, given that high growth rates and the need to end dependence on oil create a greater need for gas.

    Asked to comment on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the prime minister said that "the issue of the name of FYROM is not a psychological or a sentimental one. It is an exclusively political problem and the pending issue deals a blow at relations of good neighbourliness and conditions of stability in the wider Balkan region. Greece is pursuing a solution that will be mutually acceptable, viable, comprehensive and workable and which will apply to all and will bear the seal of the UN Security Council. We hope that the political leadership of Skopje will respond to our sincere desire for a compromise, brushing aside nationalist logics and conceptions of the past."

    He further expressed his conviction that Russia, in its capacity of a UN Security Council permanent member, will make every possible effort to secure the full implementation of UN resolutions and values.

    On the question of Kosovo, the prime minister said that Greece's position had always been achieving agreed solutions and not the creation of faits accomplis. As regards recognition of the new situation, Greece will be taking its decisions after a detailed examination of all the developments.

    Referring to his Moscow visit and talks Tuesday, Karamanlis said that "the meeting (with President Putin) has a very symbolic significance and confirms the excellent personal relation between us, the strategic nature of the relations of the two countries and our commitment to strengthen these relations even more in the future."

    He spoke of his personal relation with President Putin, saying that "I acknowledge in his person a very reliable interlocutor and partner who has played a leading role in the strategic upgrading of the relations of the two countries."

    He also stressed that the substantive foundations for the two countries' relations are close historic bonds, common interests and neighbouring views on many issues.

    During their meeting, the two leaders discussed ways of expanding cultural relations on the occasion of 2013 being proclaimed "Russia Year" for Greece and "Greece Year" for Russia. They also discussed ways of strengthening economic cooperation in the sectors of investments, tourism and construction.

    On his part, President Putin said that the visit will contribute to the further development of the two countries' relations, adding that they held talks on a wide circle of issues of both bilateral and international concern.

    The two leaders also paid special attention to energy plans that include the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline and the South Stream natural gas pipeline.

    The Russian President said that the aim is for us to increase the energy security of the Balkans and of Europe and stressed that "we discussed specific ways of deepening the traditionally good relations of the two countries. We discussed Kosovo as well as the issue of Cyprus. The positions of the two countries are close and both favour the observance of principles of international law."

    Speaking about energy policy, he said that "the implementation of the South Stream does not mean that Russia is opposed to other energy plans, if there are other options for energy resources we shall be pleased."

    Commenting on the close relation between Greece and Russia, he said that "the energy plans that require considerable investments and have an economic result also have a political importance and lead to the upgrading of the role of the country participating. As regards its energy policy in Europe, Russia has various options, it chose, however, to promote the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline and the South Stream through Greece. We are aware that competing companies and countries will try to prevent and delay the project, presenting economic and political agruments. We shall work with seriousness to implement our plans."

    Replying to a question on the United States, President Putin said that "if Greece wanted neckties or underwear it could purchase them from Italy or China. But when it is a question of energy resources the countries that can offer can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Russia's proposal is the most beneficial one, both from a qualitative and an economic point of view."

    On the question of Kosovo, President Putin said that his position is known. He said he was against faits accomplis and in favour of agreed solutions. The unilateral declaration of independence "is not fair and it is not based on principles of international law."

    Addressing western officials, President Putin said that he "cannot term some people freedom fighters an term others who do the same thing terrorists."

    Karamanlis, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and Development Minister Christos Folias, also met with newly-elected Russian Federation President Dmitri Medvedev.

    [02] PASOK on Greece-Russia energy agreement

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Tuesday that the cooperation memorandum signed between Greece and Russia in the energy sector "is positive in principle", but added that "PASOK, however, expects and wants to see the overall agreement with all its details."

    Papaconstantinou further said that "the overall text will show what the benefit expected for Greece will be" and stressed that "whatever policy diversifies energy supply sources and reduces the country's dependence on one source is welcome," while noting that this is the policy that "had been applied by PASOK and is the European Union's policy".

    PASOK's spokesman also called on the government to state how it secures electric power adequacy "when for the fifth consecutive year not even one megawatt has been added to the country's energy capacity while, on the contrary, we are having rate increases of at least 25 percent."

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