Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline agreement signed in Athens

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Map of the planned pipeline

An agreement to begin construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline to transport oil from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean was signed by Bulgaria, Greece and Russia today.

The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, at the Presidential Palace in Athens, with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, Kostas Karamanlis and Sergei Stanishev respectively.

The oil pipeline agreement is the end of months of negotiations between the three countries and was saluted by the Greek government as a "momentous" agreement. According to President Putin, the agreement will not only benefit the three contributing members but will also be significant for the world economy and, furthermore, he added that "the pipeline allows diversification in the oil routes, in the best interest of our countries, our peoples and the economy". As for the Greek-Russian bilateral relations, Mr.Karamanlis stated that "this visit bears witness to the excellent ties between the two nations, signalling and symbolising the construction of a major project, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline". This the second time that Putin visits Athens to meet with the Greek Premier, however they had also previous meetings in Moscow and northern Greece, during the last two years.

Before the signing of the pipeline agreement, President Putin and Prime Minister Stanishev had the opportunity to meet with their Greek counterparts and discuss issues of bilateral and regional significance. Yesterday night, Prime Minister Karamanlis hosted a dinner in honour of the Russian and Bulgarian heads of state in central Athens.

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