Agreements to involve Greece's Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) in the EU-Azerbaijan team for the South Corridor natgas project and to promote cooperation in renewable energy sources were among results achieved by Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis on his visit to Azerbaijan on February 1-3.
Speaking to the ANA-MPA after his return on Friday, Kouvelis said the goal of the trip was to put Greece in position where it could secure adequate quantities of natural gas in order to immediately implement the ITGI pipeline.
Kouvelis said the Greek side had supported the ITGI pipeline as the most 'mature' of the projects currently underway in the framework of the South Corridor. He said the pipeline was part of an overall plan and that this was indicated by decisions such as the agreement between Greece, Italy and Turkey, the agreement between the three companies DEPA-Edison and Botas, the fact that a Greek-Turkish pipeline was already in operation and an agreement the previous December between DEPA, Edison and Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD to set up the company IGB to take charge of the construction of a new natgas pipeline between Greece and Bulgaria that will form a part of the ITGI.
He noted that the IGB, in particular, was an important development for implementation of the ITGI and had been termed as a "project of European interest" by the EU.
Concerning the decision to involve DEPA in the South Corridor, Kouvelis said this highlighted DEPA's role on a European level and indicated that Azerbaijan was positively disposed to a good level of cooperation with Greece.
The deputy foreign minister also reported a series contacts with Azerbaijan's officials for promoting bilateral economic relations in a variety of sectors and co-chaired a Mixed Ministerial Committee with Azerbaijan's Industry Minister Natiq Aliyev.
Kouvelis had a series of meetings with Azerbaijani ministers to discuss cooperation in renewable energy sources, with emphasis on the transfer of knowhow from Greek companies in areas such as environmental management.
The deputy minister's trip to Baku is his second, while exchanges of visits between the two countries are expected to become more frequent during 2011. The Greek side also hopes to organise a visit by a business delegation in the near future, pointing out that Azerbaijan currently enjoys extremely rapid growth rates.
Kouvelis' next trip will be to Cyprus, where he is to be the central speaker at a forum on "Cyprus: Gateway for Greek businesses to the Arab World" on Monday. During the visit, he will be received by Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou and Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides.