02 November, 2006
The Russian presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, termed very productive, came to an end on Wednesday with the political decision taken by the Organization’s foreign ministers here to implement "The Path of the Argonauts", the Greek-inspired road network round the Black Sea and the linking of its ports with ports in the Aegean, as well as the highlighting of Greece's role in an enacted approach between the Organization’s countries and the European Union.
Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, who headed the Greek delegation, said the results of the meeting were "extremely positive and practical", adding that "the political agreement on the implementation of the road network is the outcome of a two-year effort and is part of the opening of Greek economic diplomacy to the Black Sea that constitutes the second option, in time, after the Balkans, from which we are already enjoying the first positive results."
The deputy minister also referred to the increase in Greek exports to Russia by 28 percent during the first eight months of the current year, the increase in Russian tourism to Greece, an increase of over 50 percent in September compared to the same period last year, and the entry of Greek fresh products into the big Russian market.
The 12 foreign ministers promised to officially sign the two memorandums of understanding for the road network and the linking of Black Sea ports with those in the Aegean, the processing of which was promoted and completed during the Russian presidency, with active Greek participation.
The Path of the Argonauts was also presented by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, during the dinner organized by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The signing of the memorandums is placed within the Serb presidency that begins as of Wednesday and that is expected to convene a special meeting for this purpose.
The deputy foreign minister gave initial information on the Path of the Argonauts, saying that it covers about 7,000 kilometres, some parts of which already exist, some must be upgraded and some must be built from the beginning. Initial evaluations have already been made on the sources of funding for each part that corresponds to each country.
"The message is that the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, in which we invested a great deal during the Greek presidency, is turning from a dialogue rostrum into an organization with practical results which are the continuation of Greek efforts," Stylianidis said.
Source: Athens News Agency