ATHENS — "What will lead the Western Balkans to the 21st century is having a European prospect, the European values, understanding and good neighbourly relations," Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said after his meeting with his Montenegrin counterpart Đorđe Radulović in Athens on Friday.
"We consider the Western Balkans as a region of direct interest and as a region where there are many friendly countries. We are always concerned when we see countries with other agendas that are not European and not friendly to our region, trying to abuse their presence in these countries in an attempt to revive old empires and glories," Dendias stated.
Referring to Montenegro's European prospects, Dendias praised the government of Montenegro for the reforms it is promoting to firmly establish the rule of law and tackle corruption.
Dendias said that Greece supports Montenegro's wish to join the EU and stated Greece's willingness to offer technical help during the EU accession negotiations.
They also discussed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in the economy and in military cooperation.
On coooperation in energy, Dendias underlined the Greek government's special importance on the development of energy hubs via the construction of pipelines and also via the liquified natural gas terminals that will enhance energy security of the countries in the wider region.
On his part, the Montenegrin minister said that his visit to the friend and ally Greece was a confirmation of their excellent bilateral relations and thanked Greece for its steadfast political support of Montenegro's European course.
"Greece is a confirmed partner and friend of the Western Balkans and is promoting their EU prospects," he said, adding that "the resolution of the long-standing disagreement between Athens and Skopje confirmed this and we believe that the Prespes Agreement will further strengthen the foundations for the building of regional stability and promote solutions on other open issues in the Balkans".
On regional developments, he said that "Montenegro is monitoring the events in the Eastern Mediterranean very closely and supports a reliable political solution through dialogue, according to international law".
Radulović said that they also discussed cooperation within NATO and the importance of Greece's support.
Finally, he thanked Greece for its solidarity during the pandemic. "A friend is there during the difficult days and Greece has proved to be a real friend and we sincerely thank it for the dispatch of medical supplies."