ATHENS (combined sources)–Greece–Armenia and Iran’signed an accord Thursday strengthening economic cooperation–notably in the energy sector–and potentially opening the way for Iran’s natural gas to be carried to Europe.
"Greece wants to strengthen relations between Yerevan–Teheran and the European Union," said Foreign Minister George Papandreou–who signed the accord with his Armenian counterpart Vardan Oskanian and Iran’s Kamal Kharazi.
The memorandum of understanding also povides for greater cooperation in economic affairs–trade–technology–tourism–industry–transport and telecommunications.
Papandreou said he was very satisfied with the accord which strengthens both bilateral and trilateral relations.
Oskanian said the three countries had similar visions for the three region’s development and was "very satisfied" with the agreement. ”Our cooperation is becoming deeper and more concrete–we have no political differences” said the Armenian Minister. The three countries have for years taken part in a three-way initiative to promote their interests in Europe–the Caucus region–and the Persian Gulf area.
Commenting on the 13-year-old conflict with neighbor Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh–Oskanian said resolutions were progressing. “The overall trend is in the right direction,” Oskanian told reporters. His remarks contrasted sharply with those of the Azeri president–who on Tuesday said no solution was in sight.
“We’ve not exhausted all our means,” Oskanian said of the peace talks on the disputed region–sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Azerbaijan’s President Haydar Aliyev–returning from the latest round of talks in Paris on Tuesday–said no progress had been achieved. Azerbaijan has rejected three proposals and said it wants to see new ones.
Oskanian and Kharazi were also received by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
While in Greece–Oskanian also met with members of the Armenian community–including representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.