Black Sea Parliamentary Assembly Meeting Begins

ATHENS (XINHUA)–The ninth Plenary Session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation’s Parliamentary Assembly opened in Athens–Greece on Thursday.

The president of Greece–Costis Stephanopoulos stressed that the Black Sea has always been "a vital crossroads between Asia and Europe and a meeting place" for different cultures–religions and nationalities. He said that the promotion of economic cooperation in the Black Sea will help the peace and security efforts in the region which has suffered from enormous tension from time to time.

Stephanopoulos said that the inauguration of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation bank in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki would bring in a new period of cooperation among the countries of the region.

Greece would continue its efforts with undiminished interest because this cooperation contributed considerably to the construction of a new Europe–he said. The parliamentary assembly today unanimously approved Bulgaria’s accession to the forum. Parliamentary members from all ten member-states–Greece–Albania–Armenia–Azerbaijan–Georgia–Moldova–Romania–Russia–Turkey and Ukraine–are participating in the two-day meeting which focuses on a number of economic–political and social issues.

The president of the Bulgarian parliament has also been invited to attend the meeting.

Also attending as observers are representatives from Egypt–Israel and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. PABSEC–created in 1993–is the parliamentary wing of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization–which was organized to help facilitate talks among Black Sea countries and turn the region into a zone of stability–prosperity and peace.

Currently–Greece is holding the rotating presidency of PABSEC.

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