Trade-economic Ties Development To Be In Focus At Russia-Greece Summit Talks

Development of trade-economic contacts will be top-of-the-list on the agenda of the Russian-Greek summit-level negotiations, said Alexander Yakovenko, official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, in a RIA Novosti interview. He spoke in connection with an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Greece, upcoming on December 6 through 8. In recent years "a growth tendency has appeared in the field of mutual trade", said Yakovenko. While in 1999 the trade turnover between Russia and Greece stood at 892 million dollars, in 2000 the bilateral foreign-trade volume reached 1,220 million dollars. Yakovenko noted successful work of the mixed Russian-Greek intergovernmental commission for economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation. Its latest session was held on November 19 through 21, 2001 in Athens. It is the opinion of the Russian diplomat that "stability and long-term outlook are attributed to the Russian-Greek relations in the economic sphere by materialisation of the agreement on the supply of Russian natural gas to Greece". He recalled that a trunk gas pipeline built by Russia in Greece was put into service in January 1997. Alexander Yakovenko reported that the project of building in Greece with Russia's participation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline for the transport of oil from Novorossiisk (a Russian port on the Black sea) to Europe acquires much economic importance. Execution of large joint projects, believes Yakovenko, "serves long-term interests of Russia and Greece, meets the goal of their closer economic interaction, creates a basis for a new fuel-energy infrastructure in the Balkans".