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27 June, 2002
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos' official three-day visit to the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan this week included the signing of a handful of bilateral agreements, including tourism.
The agreements -a joint protocol to promote and protect investments, a road transports agreement and a cultural exchange program- were signed here following talks Stephanopoulos had with Kazakh leadership, including President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The latter also became the latest head of state to sign the high-profile "Olympic Truce" initiative being promoted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Athens.
"We're ready for cooperation in all directions in all sectors," Nazarbayev said, adding that Greece was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the large Central Asian country 10 years ago.
On his part, Stephanopoulos thanked his Kazakh counterpart for the hospitality his country extends to a large ethnic Greek community in Kazakhstan.
Among the topics on the agenda were developments in Central Asia and the Balkans, two regions were Kazakhstan and Greece play a significant and stabilizing role, respectively, as well as Greece's upcoming EU presidency and Europe-Kazakhstan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and Yiannis Magriotis, among others, are accompanying the Greek president on the visit.
Kazakh experts due to look into cooperation in Burgas - Alexandroupolis pipeline:
A team of experts from Kazakhstan will visit Athens soon to investigate prospects for cooperation ''during or after'' the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, Greece's President Costis Stephanopoulos said Wednesday in Almaty, following talks with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Stephanopoulos, who on Tuesday began a three-day state visit to Kazakhstan, discussed bilateral relations, international affairs and regional problems with Nazarbayev, and later told reporters that the two sides held similar views.
Replying to press questions after the talks, Nazarbayev said that Kazakhstan, as an oil-producing country, addressed itself to the European market and, consequently, looked positively upon the ''attractive plan'' for the construction of the Burgas- Alexandroupolis pipeline.
He said that the Kazakh experts to visit Greece would look into the prospects for technical and economic cooperation, adding that Kazakhstan supported the plan for the construction of the pipeline, as well as all plans for oil transports from his country.
Nazarbayev further said that a prospective inclusion of Kazakhstan into the plan for the Burgas- Alexandroupolis pipeline would mean that his country would have a part in the ownership on an equal footing.
He also noted that Greece, as a major maritime power, participated in a joint enterprise with Kazakhstan for the transport of oil to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
''We hope that this company will assist in the direction of oil transports, just as we hope that this fleet will have ships under the Kazakh flag,'' he added.
Source: Athens News Agency