05 September, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis initially received visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Maximos Mansion office for high-level talks on a variety of bilateral issues, with the two leaders subsequently greeting Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov for a meeting focusing directly on the pipeline project.
In opening the session, the Greek premier referred to the need for the very rapid completion of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, while noting that the long-delayed project is significant for the entire region and the international energy market.
"I hope that in today's negotiations we will proceed along the path of development, not just for this project, but for in unifying our efforts for the achievement of all the goals we have discussed over the years ... I hope that today's meeting will serve as the key to changing the situation in this trilateral partnership towards the better,” Putin emphasized.
On his part, Bulgarian President Purvanov underlined that Monday's unprecedented and high-level meeting sends a "clear political message” over the significance of the project, and points to the "necessity of its construction as well as the realistic prospect of its implementation”.
He added that beyond the strategic prospects for the pipeline, the emphasis should also be on the positive socio-economic repercussions for the entire region.
The pipeline is designed to run from the western Black Sea port of Burgas to the northeastern Aegean port of Alexandroupolis, thereby bypassing the busy Bosporus strait.
Earlier, in greeting the Russian president, Karamanlis underlined that Athens views Moscow as a "partner of strategic importance", while citing bilateral issues, regional cooperation and international matters as being on the agenda of talks.
"Greece places particular emphasis on the further development of relations with Russia in all sectors, as well as in the boosting of relations between the European Union and Russia," Karamanlis stressed.
On his part, Putin noted that the Athens meeting will allow the two sides to discuss "bilateral, multilateral and international issues, as well as current hitches in our cooperation, while stressing the issue of financial cooperation".
He also referred to Greece as a "strategic partner”, while citing the benefits of cooperation in the energy sector for Europe, in general.
Source: Athens News Agency