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Greece, Russia Forge Ties

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met yesterday with President Vladimir Putin within the framework of an official visit of the Greek premier to Russia before the “changing of the guard” in Kremlin on May 7, when Putin hands over his position to President-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Karamanlis is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, State Minister and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, as well as Development Minister Christos Folias. The strategic relation between Greece and Russia as well as the personal ties of mutual understanding between the two leaders were reiterated in a joint press conference, during which, Putin and Karamanlis announced the signing of an energy deal which consolidates Greece’s participation in the South Stream gas pipe, which will render Greece into an energy hub in its region. The South Stream project will transfer Russian gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria before splitting in two branches. One branch will transfer the gas to Austria, while the other branch will head to Italy passing through Greek territory. Karamanlis stated that Greece opts for energy security combined with diversification both in sources and means of transport, given the country’s aggregated demand for energy supplies due to growing economic development.    Regarding the South Stream agreement, Karamanlis depicted it as “one of the most important projects for the countries of southern and central Europe,” linking its significance to the positive progress marked on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline which is currently implemented. 

Besides energy, a number of other issues topped the agenda. The two leaders discussed the issues of Cyprus, Kosovo, as well as the name issue of the Former Republic of Macedonia and the relations of Russia with the European Union

Kathimerini daily: Greece, Russia Ink Deal on Gas Pipeline; Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis, President Putin on Signing of South Stream Agreement; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Russia Bilateral Relations & Energy Affairs; Greek News Agenda: Energy Matters