© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
02 April, 1997
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Uzbek President Islam Karimov yesterday signed a bilateral friendship and cooperation accord as well as six separate agreements related to a number of sectors during a more than one hour meeting.
The six agreements provide for cooperation in tourism, education, training, technology, culture and the avoidance of double taxation. Mr. Karimov arrived in Athens Monday afternoon for an official two-day visit at the invitation of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Simitis referred to the long-standing cultural ties linking the two countries.
Stressing the need for the further development and the strengthening of Greece's relations with all the countries of central Asia, Mr. Simitis described the agreements as a "springboard" for closer ties and cooperation between Athens and Tashkent.
The premier said that peace and friendship accord was based on the principles of respect for international law and international treaties as well as the territorial integrity of states.
Describing his talks with Mr. Simitis as "fruitful and constructive", Mr. Karimov referred to the two countries' common cultural ties, noting that archaeological finds had proven the presence of the ancient Hellenistic kingdom of Bactria in the region.
Turning to the two countries' modern history, Mr. Karimov spoke of the tens of thousands of Greek political refugees who settled in Uzbekistan after the Greek civil war.
He said the majority of these refugees had since returned to Greece with fond memories of their life in Uzbekistan, noting that approximately 10,000 ethnic Greeks currently live in that nation.
Mr. Karimov said he had ascertained during his talks in Greece that there was plenty of room for the further strengthening of bilateral relations, since there were no issues on which the views of Athens and Tashkent diverged.
Uzbekistan, he added, was interested in broadening its relations not only with Greece but also with the European Union with which his country had signed a cooperation agreement.
Mr. Karimov said he attached particular importance to his visit to Greece, given that the legal basis had been created for the further development of bilateral relations. With respect to bilateral cooperation, Mr. Karimov stressed the opportunities opening up in the agricultural sector, the processing of farm products, textiles, light industry, electronics, computerization, transport, communications and tourism.
Source: Athens News Agency