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OSCE: Dora Bakoyannis in Kosovo

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis visited Kosovo on Tuesday (3.2.09), on the second day of her western Balkans tour. After holding meetings in Pristina with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci Bakoyannis noted that she was there “as a friend, as a neighbour and as chairperson of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),” with the intention of helping the people of Kosovo, regardless of race or religion, to have a better future within the European family. The foreign minister underlined the importance that the Greek OSCE Chair attaches to the promotion of peace and stability in the western Balkans as well as Greece’s desire to boost relations with the people of Kosovo and expand economic ties, revealing plans for a business forum that will examine investment opportunities in the region. During a press conference, Bakoyannis was also asked about the dispute with FYROM over the name issue and why her tour did not include a visit to Skopje, which will be holding presidential elections in March. Bakoyannis did not rule out the possibility of a visit to Greece’s northern neighbour during 2009, as part of a series of visits she intends to carry out to the OSCE’ s 19 missions. She nevertheless urged the government in Skopje to carry out free and fair elections, noting that these would be monitored by a delegation of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and by the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly. Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Greece’s position on Kosovo’s independence and Op-ed by OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis published in Kosovo 

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Greece’s Relations with Serbia

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met her Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic in Athens on Thursday for talks ahead of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. As expected, issues topping the ministers’ agenda included the major challenges facing the Balkan region, such as the status of Kosovo and Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic course.  Outlining Greece’s positions with respect to Serbia, Bakoyannis said Athens was “proceeding with exceedingly cautious steps and would continue in this way.”  On Kosovo, in particular, she emphasised the need to improve the quality of daily life in the region, especially for minorities, and regardless of the governing regime. The European Union Rule of Law Mission – EULEX– was an important factor in this direction, she added.  Regarding Serbia’s relations with the European Union, the minister said Greece was playing a key role in speeding up the strengthening of EU-Serbia ties, while she expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between Belgrade and the International War Tribunal, noting that the latest developments opened the way for greater rapprochement with the EU. “The next step will be for Serbia to apply for accession to the EU,” she noted, adding that Belgrade would have Greece’s full support for this step.  Bakoyannis also referred to the very good bilateral relations between Greece and Serbia, especially in the area of developmental cooperation. She said Greece had so far disbursed €235 million from an overall budget of €550 million under the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, with priority given to completing Pan-European (roadway) Corridor X linking Thessaloniki with Belgrade and central Europe. Athens News Agency: Serbian FM in Athens; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis and her Serbian counterpart, Vuk Jeremic, following their meeting 

Greek position on Kosovo

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated in Brussels on Monday that the aim, regarding Kosovo, is the “safeguarding of stability and security in the region”, and commenting on Athens’ position she said that “Greece will make its decisions at a later stage.” Speaking to reporters at the end of a European Union General Affairs and External Relations meeting, Bakoyannis said that the ’27’ agreed, after difficult consultations, on a text of “common positions” regarding the Kosovo issue. She added that “Greece always believed and continues to believe that the best solutions to differences and problems drive from mutually acceptable arrangements, through dialogue and consultations, and not by unilateral actions and faits accomplis.” Continue reading