08 February, 2008
Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis, on an official visit to Romania, met Thursday with his Romanian counterpart Colin Popescu-Tariceanu, with whom he discussed developments in Kosovo and in the Balkans, including the FYROM name issue and Turkey's European prospects. A framework agreement in the energy sector was also signed between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Karamanlis voiced a second warning to FYROM in as many days, stressing that finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue was an undeviating criterion for the neighbouring country's course to the Euro-Atlantic institutions.
The prospect of NATO's issuing an invitation to FYROM to join the Alliance will be discussed at the NATO summit in April.
Speaking in Bucharest, Karamanlis reiterated that Greece backs all the Balkan countries on their Euro-Atltantic course, but on condition that they fulfill all the criteria, stressing that intransigence and a provocative attitude were outside the European rationale.
Karamanlis said that Greece places great importance on the gradual incorporation of all the Balkan countries in the Euro-Atlantic institutions, but added that this, however, depended chiefly on their own performances.
"Respect of the principle of good neighborhood is a mandatory condition for countries that wish to be in the same alliance," the Greek prime minister underlined.
Karamanlis met Thursday with his Romanian counterpart Colin Popescu-Tariceanu, with whom he discussed developments in Kosovo and in the Balkans, including the FYROM name issue and Turkey's European prospects.
Popescu-Tariceanu told reporters that the two countries had "many common points" on those issues.
The main purpose of Karamanlis' visit to Bucharest is the signing of an energy accord between the two countries - namely, a framework agreement in the sector of natural gas, oil and electricity, which is an update of an older agreement signed between the two countries in 1977.
The accord provides for the establishment of a Standing Coordinating Committee that will meet regularly in the two capitals to discuss timely matters concerning the agreement's materialisation.
The signing of the accord earlier in the day, is in the framework of a general upgrading of the energy cooperation between the two countries, Karamanlis said, adding that the accord was dictated by the fact that the two countries were partners in the EU and allies in NATO.
It went without saying that the Greek-Romanian cooperation takes into consideration the EU regulations for diversification of energy sources, diversification of energy channels, and their inter-connection, he said.
According to the Romanian prime minister, the target was for the two countries to work together on their energy policy, aimed at ensuring energy sources and a better position on the energy map, as well as ensurance of corridors for the transport of energy that will serve the interests of both countries.
Greece plans to advance similar cooperation frameworks with all the countries of the region, as part of its strategy as a key country on the energy map of the wider Balkan region.
Karamanlis said that his visit to Bucharest was highly symbolic, aiming at sealing the excellent cooperation between the two countries and laying the foundations for the qualitative upgrading of those relations. "It is a visit that gives new momentum to a traditional friendship," he said.
Karamanlis also outlined the economic cooperation and trade relations between the two countries, which he said have been steadily increasing in recent years.
The prime minister made special reference to the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, and to the trilateral Bulgaria-Romania-Greece cooperation aimed at a common policy line on Balkan issues.
The energy accord was signed earlier by Greek development minister Christos Folias and Romanian economy and finance minister Varujan Vosganian
Also participating in the Greek delegation are minister of state and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis, and the director of the prime minister's press office Yannis Andrianos.
Earlier, Karamanlis was received by Patriarch Daniel of Romania at the Romanian Patriarchate.
He also met with Romanian president Traian Basescu, while in the afternoon the prime minister will attend a reception in honor of the Greek entrepreneurs active in Romania, to be hosted by Greece's ambassador in Bucharest.
Source: Athens News Agency