Greek prime minister travels Bulgaria

Greece 's Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis arrived in Sofia for talks with top officials focused on bilateral ties and on Bulgaria 's drive to join the European Union, the government said Friday. "We support the entry of Bulgaria and, of course, Romania in the European Union , because this will bring benefits not only to the Bulgarian people ... but also to the whole region," Caramanlis said after meeting Bulgarian counterpart Sergei Stanishev.

Bulgaria and neighboring Romania aim to join the EU on Jan. 1, and EU member Greece has always supported the bloc's expansion in the Balkans. Caramanlis and Stanishev signed a declaration of friendship and cooperation aimed, they said, at giving a new momentum to the development of bilateral relations. An agreement was also signed to open a new border crossing at the town of Ivaylovgrad , on the eastern part of the Bulgarian-Greek border. Caramanlis and Stanishev also said they would boost cooperation in disaster management. "We hope to soon have an automated warning system to help prevent flooding in border areas," Caramanlis said.

In March, the swelling waters of the Ardas River and the Maritsa known as Evros in Greece and Meric in Turkey flooded thousands of hectares (acres) of land and scores of homes in Bulgaria , Greece and Turkey . Greek and Turkish officials accused Bulgaria of mishandling the crisis upstream, aggravating the situation in their territory. Caramanlis is also scheduled to meet President Georgi Parvanov and the parliament speaker, reports the AP.


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