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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-21

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece on Serbia's EU prospect

  • [01] Greece on Serbia's EU prospect

    Greece on Monday reiterated its support for "fastest possible" approach by Serbia towards the European Union, with the Greek foreign minister noting, in fact, that this is a "strategic choice" for Athens.

    FM Dora Bakoyannis made the statement after her meeting here with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who arrived for an official visit to the Greek capital a day after the first round of presidential elections in Serbia.

    A closed-door half-hour meeting between the two foreign ministers was followed with a session that included participation of delegations from both sides.

    "I reiterated that Greece supports Serbia's course towards European and Euro-Atlantic institutions ? We believe that a European Serbia will offer its people prosperity, so they (people) can look to the future with optimism," Bakoyannis told reporters after the meeting.

    She also noted that the thorny issue involving the Kosovo province's final status is at a crucial juncture.

    "We continue to regard the possibility of unilateral actions with great apprehension," Bakoyannis said, adding: "We believe that diplomatic margins (for a mutually acceptable solution for Kosovo) have not been exhausted".

    On his part, Jeremic repeated that Belgrade is ready and wants to continue dialogue, while he thanked Greece for its backing of his country's European prospect, along with specific actions to ease Schengen-mandated visa burdens for Serbian nationals and Athens' funding of development projects in the country.

    "Greece backs us in Europe, that is the message of today's meeting," Jeremic said, adding that the next step is the signing of a Stability and Association agreement with the Union at an upcoming General Affairs Council.

    Asked by reporters if UNSC Resolution 1244 covers the prospect of sending European forces to Kosovo, Jeremic said Belgrade welcomes the EU's greater involvement, "but we must be careful as far as the legal framework is concerned" -- clarifying that a new UNSC Resolution will be necessary if the international presence and engagement is modified vis-?-vis 1244.

    Bakoyannis added that Athens will encourage Serbia to apply for EU membership "as soon as possible ? thus contributing to the country's accession into the European family, where it rightfully belongs."

    Finally, the Greek FM said Athens supports easier visa issuance procedures for Serbian citizens, noting that the Greek government has already broached the issue with relevant EU Commissioner and Vice-President Franco Frattini.

    Bakoyannis later hosted a reception in honor of the visiting high-ranking diplomat, who was also received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Caption: Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic (L) addresses a press conference in Athens on Monday, Jan. 21, 2008 as his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis looks on. ANA-MPA / ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU.

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