Greek and Serbian FMs Agree on Need for Closer Bilateral Cooperation

Αssociated Press

Serbia s Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, centre, speaks during a press conference with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, left, and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE -- Bilateral relations, developments in the broader Western Balkan region, expanding economic cooperation, regional security and Serbia's European course were the main topics discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković on Monday.

They noted the need for closer cooperation in all areas and determination in implementing all the targets of the Joint Statement signed at the 3rd Greece-Serbia High-Level Cooperation Council held in Athens in December 2019.

Dendias is carrying out an official visit to Serbia accompanied by Rural Development and Food Minister Spilios Livanos and Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis.

During a joint press conference, Dendias repeated Greece's full support the European prospects of Serbia and all the Western Balkan countries. He said that Greece wants to cooperate with and desires the development of all countries in the region, adding that the Balkans should build channels of communication and cooperation and not cultivate intolerance or religious fanaticism.

Referring to a strong Turkish presence in the region, Dendias said that this sought to increase its influence using the economy and religion. He announced his intention to visit Turkey but only if Ankara ceased its provocative behaviour and illegal actions.

The Greek minister agreed that regional cooperation must include all countries and with Selaković's proposal for a trilateral meeting between Greece, Serbia and North Macedonia held on the island of Corfu once the pandemic permits.

Dendias also conveyed the congratulations of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Serbian government for the progress of its vaccine rollout and urged Serbs to visit Greece for their holidays in the summer.

On Kosovo, the Greek minister deplored the lack of progress in finding a solution and said that Greece is willing, at Serbia's request, to mediate for a resumption of talks.

Selaković thanked the Greek government for supporting Serbia's European course and said that cooperation must be enhanced in all areas, referring especially to the road and rail links with the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus.

He announced that Serbia will cover a part of its energy needs from Alexandroupolis once the connection with Bulgaria is completed.

The Serbian minister also revealed that, in honour of the 200-year anniversary since the Greek Revolution, a road in Belgrade will be named after the first Greek governor Ioannis Kapodistrias.