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Greek FM Tours Caucasus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister and Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Dora Bakoyannis began a tour of the Caucasus yesterday, specifically in Azerbaijan and Armenia. In statements after a number of meetings in Azerbaijan, the first stop of her tour, Bakoyannis said that her visit was aimed at “strengthening bilateral relations and contributing to a settlement of the long-lasting problem Nagorno-Karabakh problem, by intensifying efforts made for many years by OSCE.”  Bakoyannis said that they focused on energy cooperation and pipelines. “Our goal is to bring Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe via the Turkey- Greece– Italy (TGI) pipeline,” the foreign minister stressed. Referring to the currently “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that has a direct impact on stability in southern Caucasus, Bakoyannis stressed that the Greek OSCE chairmanship is intensifying efforts that are underway for years for the solution of the thorny issue.Today the minister is in Armenia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis following her meeting with her Azeri counterpart Mammadyarov (Baku, 2.7.09) & Statements following her meeting with her Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian (Yerevan, 3.7.2009); Bilateral Relations Greece-Azerbaijan& Greece-Armenia; Greek News Agenda: FM on Nagorno-Karabakh

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Cooperation Greece – Azerbaijan in Energy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The issue of cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan in the energy sector was the focus of discussions held on Tuesday February 17, between Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and visiting Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.  The aim of the Greek government was to expand the field of cooperation between the two countries, Karamanlis said. “Our country is the first European Union country to import natural gas from Azerbaijan,” the premier noted, pointing to the Interconnector Turkey – Greece – Italy pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkey and Greece.  Greece has succeeded in becoming an energy hub for south-eastern Europe, a development that promotes the country’s interests and bilateral relations as well as the European strategy, Karamanlis said.  Later on Tuesday, at an event organised at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Karamanlis announced that “Greece is ready to sign agreements for natural gas supplies directly from Azerbaijan,” but also open to long-term cooperation and increased transactions between the two countries in other sectors besides energy.  ERT Online: Energy Cooperation; Greek News Agenda: Greece Turkey Interconnector; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Energy Policy of Greece

Greek – Azeri Energy Plans

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, arrived in Greece yesterday – the first Azeri president to officially visit the country – with a delegation of officials from the Azeri state gas company. Aliyev expressed confidence that this trip would inaugurate a new era in bilateral relations, and emphasised the issue of energy security, noting that Azerbaijan had done much to give the rest of the world access to its considerable energy resources. President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias received his counterpart on Monday and held talks on ways to further develop bilateral relations between the two nations. Aliyev also met with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and talks focused on the supply to Greece of 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from Azerbaijan, as well as the signing of a four-party state agreement on the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline. Greek and Azeri officials also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on renewable energy sources. Greek News Agenda: Greece Turkey Interconnector; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Energy Policy of Greece ; Centre for Renewable Energy Sources;

Greece: Responding to the Caucasus Crisis

(GREEK  NEWS AGENDA)           From the first moment, the crisis in Caucasus has been of great concern to Greece. A precautionary activation of the Crisis Management Unit was deemed necessary in order to tackle the problems which have arisen from the clashes in South Ossetia and make provision for the citizens of Greek origin residing in the area. Within this framework, Greece dispatched a humanitarian aid shipment to Georgia and contributed to the cause of relieving the turbulent area with 100,000€ through the UNHCR. The OSCE, which has also addressed the matter, decided to send 20 international observers and Greece, -in viewof holding 2009’s chairmanship– is ready to assume full responsibility arising in the light of the current developments.  During the extraordinary meeting of the 26 NATO members which took place on August 19 in Brussels, Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated that “the NATO-Russia dialogue is very important” and that “Greece-along with many other countries-has been in favour of the continuation of this dialogue at all levels”.  South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s recent succession movement from Georgia has prompted an expedient reaction of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bakoyannis clarified that within both the NATO Council and the Council of the European Union, Greece’s foreign policy abides to the principles of territorial integrity and added that Greece endorses the French presidency’s statement condemning the movement.  Today, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will participate in the European Union’s special summit on the Caucasus crisis. Moscow’s relations with the international community are expected to top the summit’s agenda. Before leaving for Brussels, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece’s interest for “a common European position regarding the framework of EU-Russia relations”, “given that Moscow is an ‘important partner’ for Europe”.

From Greece the Routes of the Olive Tree

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    On the occasion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a “lame of Peace”will travel from the Mediterranean Sea into the depths of Asia, Beijing and Moscow. Motorcyclists participating in the “Routes of the Olive Tree” initiative, a programme of cultural journeys and activities inspired by the olive tree,  will ride on the “Routes of Silk” to transmit the messages symbolised by the olive tree, namely the need for peaceful coexistence. The journey will start from Messenia, Southern Greece, on the occasion of a big Mediterranean Feast, the 63rd Rally FIM of 2008 (7-14 July 2008 Pylos-Yalova), during which 2,000 motorcyclists from 44 countries will gather in order to bid travellers goodbye. The event is open only to motorcyclists who will “combine business with pleasure”; they will start their ride symbolically from ancient Messene and will cover 22,000 km with a view to carrying the “Flame of Peace” to 16 countries: Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, CHINA, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, FYROM and Greece.  Continue reading

Greece: Energy Relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece and Azerbaijan will sign a four-party agreement on natural supplies with Italy and Turkey aimed at ensuring the successful completion of a Turkish-Greek-Italian natural gas pipeline project, as was announced on Tuesday.
Development Minister Christos Folias, who held a two-day visit to Azerbaijan, said that Greece would undertake a coordinating role towards this end by hosting a meeting in Athens in order to finalise the details of the agreement. The Greek minister and Ajeri industry and energy minister Natiq Aliyev signed a joint declaration, expanding a bilateral agreement signed in August 2007, which confirmed the energy partnership between the two countries. Greece and Azerbaijan agreed to intensify efforts aimed at creating a safe energy corridor for the supply of natural gas. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral relations Greece – Azerbaijan