Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis: Mr President!
It is a great pleasure and honour for both me and my country that you are visiting Greece for the second time in several months. And this meeting is certainly a further step that confirms the excellent state of Russian-Greek relations. This meeting is a milestone that marks the beginning of the implementation of a project with historical significance, the trans-Balkan Burgas – Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. And I am happy that in September 2006 when you were last in Greece, we showed proof of our resolve to see this project accomplished in a practical way and that we laid the groundwork for this positive result. I hope that both this project and other joint projects we are engaged in will always develop and progress successfully.
Welcome, Mr President!
Russian President Vladimir Putin : Thank you very much, dear Mr Prime Minister, for the invitation.
I really do visit Athens quite often. This is not only due to our good relations, even though this factor is a very important one. It is due to the expansion of our cooperation, primarily in the economic sphere. Our volume of trade amounts to more than three billion dollars. And the step that we are taking today is not only in our countries’ interests but also in the interests of the world economy, because it really does represent a serious contribution towards developing the energy sector. It allows us to diversify and expand our deliveries of energy to the world market. This is undoubtedly beneficial for our country and our peoples.
I would like to pay due tribute to your personal attitude, which was an important factor in allowing us to accomplish this task. And I am very glad that we had the opportunity to exchange opinions on international problems, including those that represent a considerable interest both for Greece and for Russia. First and foremost I am referring to the situation in the Balkans.