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Greece, Turkey Hail 'Big Step Forward' After Talks In Athens


A historic joint cabinet meeting was chaired by visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou.
The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey have ended two days of talks over ways to further improve relations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou met today for lunch to mark the end of Erdogan's visit to Athens.

On May 14, In a joint statement, the Greek and Turkish governments said a "big step forward" had been made to promote relations and lead to the "strengthening of peace and stability in the region."

This followed Greece and Turkey holding their first joint cabinet meeting in Athens, which was chaired by visiting Erdogan and Papandreou.

The sides signed some 20 agreements on issues ranging from tourism, transport, education, energy, and the environment to combating illegal immigration.

Papandreou said the number and the depth of these agreements was "an indication, if not proof, of the historic nature" of Erdogan's two-day visit.

The Turkish prime minister was accompanied by 10 ministers and about 100 businessmen.

The two NATO members remain at odds over the divided island of Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea, but relations have improved in recent years.

compiled from agency reports