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18 April, 1997
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou commented here yesterday on what she called the great potential for developing economic relations with Israel, particularly in the energy and tourism sectors.
She made the statements after talks with the Israeli minister of Infrastructure, Ariel Sharon, and Tourism Minister Moshe Katzan.
"We particularly discussed the prospects for cooperation in the energy sector, as the Israeli government wishes to be supplied with natural gas from Greece. Israel is a country which can play an important role in the development of the region, and we hope that the stabilization of peace will be achieved, so that this aim may be realized," she said after an initial meeting with Mr. Sharon.
The Israeli minister also noted his country's interest in expanding economic relations with Greece.
Talks with Mr. Katzan centered on cooperation in attracting tourists from countries of the Far East and the Americas.
In statements later, Ms Papandreou said Greece intends to participate in the group set up by eight Middle East countries for cooperation in the tourism sector. She also invited Israeli businessmen to invest in Greece by participating in the tenders for the sale of land by the Greek Tourism Organization (EOT).
It was agreed in the two meetings to speed up procedures for the signing of accords for the mutual protection of investments and the prevention of double taxation.
Ms Papandreou is expected to meet today with the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Diodoros, and tomorrow with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
Source: Athens News Agency