FM meets Ukrainian counterpart in Kiev

Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who began a two-day visit here on Monday, met with his Ukrainian counterpart Kostyantyn Hryshchenko. The Greek minister expressed Athens' political will to broaden bilateral relations, especially in tourism and trade.
"We are one step behind our two peoples," Droutsas said, adding that Greeks and Ukrainians have demonstrated their strong will to enhance bilateral relations, noting that the increase in the number of visas for Ukrainian citizens by 55 per cent was a tangible proof of this.

In citing the previous problems in issuing visas for Ukrainian wishing to visit Greece, Droutsas noted that instructions were given to facilitate relevant procedures by abolishing bureaucratic obstacles. He also said Greece supports the abolition of visas for Ukrainian citizens, according to the system applied for certain western Balkan countries.

On his part Hryshchenko noted that beyond tourism bilateral cooperation in the sectors of trade, energy - particularly in renewable energy sources - and transport should be reinforced.

Moreover, and in response press questions, the Ukrainian minister said his country "will fulfill its commitments regarding the safety of its nuclear plants," while declining to say whether Kiev will adopt nuclear tests that the European Union is planning to implement. Droutsas also said the Greece "will support Ukraine's European prospects".

The two ministers earlier signed a Memorandum of Under-standing (MoU) between the state authorities of the two countries.

Finally, met with Ukrainian Parliament president Volodymyr Lytvyn, and was scheduled to meet in the evening with representatives of the ethnic Greek community in the country.

The Greek foreign minister is also scheduled to meet separately with Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov.
While in Kiev, Droutsas will also deliver an address on the theme "Enhancing Greek-Ukrainian cooperation in the wider Black Sea area" at the Taras Shevchenko National University's Institute of International Relations.
He will further visit the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Kiev, and the historic and cultural monument Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the historic Orthodox Christian monastery that is also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves.

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