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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

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;

OSCE in Motion / Greek FM’s visit to Russia

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)       Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is visiting Russia in her capacity as OSCE Chairperson. The visit to Moscow is the minister’s first visit abroad representing the OSCE. Yesterday, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass published an interview with the foreign minister. Bakoyannis took the opportunity to underscore Greece’s steadfast determination to facilitate the negotiation process for a new cooperation agreement between Russia and the European Union.  Referring to Greece’s bilateral relations with Russia, the Minister stressed that “undoubtedly, Greece’s strong ties with Russia which have endured throughout the years, are bearing fruit and recently, they benefit from a new impetus which is mirrored on the number of bilateral official visits and close cooperation in fields such as energy, constructions, high tech industry and tourism.” Chairmanship of Greece at the OSCE: www.osce.org/cio; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Russia Bilateral Relations   

Economic and Environmental Forum

As part of the OSCE Conferences, the 17th Economic and Environmental Forum (Part I) was held in Vienna, in January 19-20. The forum addressed the issue of migration and its ties to economic, social and environmental policies. Representing Greece, Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, Theodoros Skylakakis emphasised interstate cooperation in the migration management sector and the combating of human trafficking networks. Linking climate change to migration, he further reiterated the Greek chairmanship’s aim to highlight OSCE’s environmental prospective, pursuing the idea of a “greener OSCE.”

Greece at EU Summit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Participating in yesterday’s European Union’s summit, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed that force is no solution and pointed out EU’s important role in achieving a ceasefire and a peaceful settlement in the Caucasus region. Karamanlis expressed satisfaction over the six-point agreement reached on August 12 and agreed on the need for its full implementation. Once again, the Prime Minister clarified that respect for the territorial integrity of countries and for their national sovereignty is of paramount importance to the Greek foreign policy and greeted the prospect of enhanced European presence in the troubled area.  Regarding EU’s relations with Russia, Karamanlis announced that the Council has “agreed that Russia is an important partner for Europe” and that strong relations between Moscow and the EU must be maintained. In the future, Greece will continue to monitor the developments occurring in the region and to contribute to the cause offering humanitarian aid and protecting ethnic Greeks, if needed. Kathimerini daily: PM calls for Georgia peace settlement; Athens News Agency: PM Karamanlis says at EU summit force is no solution European Council: Extraordinary European Council meeting on the situation in Georgia; Greek News Agenda: Responding to the Caucasus crisis

Greece’s Energy Deal with Gaz de France

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A memorandum of understanding between France’s Gaz de France-Suez and the Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) was signed on Friday in Paris. The deal will insure Greece’s procurement with liquid natural gas (LNG). Greece’s main supplier in liquid natural gas is Algeria, however, in view of the drastic surge in domestic natural gas demand estimated for the next three years rising to 1 billion cubic meters per year, DEPA seeks to establish diversified partnerships. The contract with the Algerian Sonatrach provides for a total supply from 0.51 to 0.68 billion cubic meters annually. Algerian LNG began flowing in Greece in February 2000. The synergy with Gaz de France will provide business opportunities for both corporations in the markets of Southeast Europe and East Mediterranean, as well as in the sector of natural gas deposits’ exploitation. Ministry of Development: Energy & Natural Resources; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Energy Affairs; European Commission: Energy-Gas