Greece Supports Azeri Membership of EC

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Greece has declared its support for Azerbaijan’s desire to quickly join the Council of Europe–said Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

Pangalos arrived for an official visit in Azerbaijan Thursday. The minister is held talks with his Azeri counterpart Hasan Hassanov.

According to the minister–Greece is also interested in having Caspian oil pumped to Europe. He did not rule out the possibility of oil being piped to the Greek port of Alexandropoulos via Burgas–Bulgaria. Agreemen’s to build such a pipeline–he said–have already been reached between Greece and Russia.

Pangalos said that during his talks at the Azeri foreign ministry the sides had discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "We stand for the territorial integrity and inviolability of the Azeri borders and for guaranteeing the rights of the national minorities living in the republic–in this case the Armenia’s," the Greek minister said.

This foundation was laid–he noted–during the December 1996 OSCE Lisbon summit–and "Greece is absolutely convinced in the correctness of the adopted principles–on which the Karabakh conflict must be settled."

Pangalos believes that "the existence of an army in Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be justified and is senseless."

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