Greece and Serbia to expand bilateral relations with “great opportunities” in energy, transport and interconnectivity sectors, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in joint statements with his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selaković.
Bilateral economic relations “are at a high level,” Dendias said in Athens on Tuesday after his meeting with Selaković.
With Greek business owners investing more than 2.5 billion euros in Serbia, it has created at least 25,000 job vacancies.
Defense collaboration is doing well but “we can do better in this area,” Dendias noted.
He reiterated the committed and constant support of Greece for the path of accession of the Western Balkan countries to the European Union and declared that the Mitsotakis government was ready to offer technical assistance at the request of Serbia.
Dendias also thanked the Serbian people for the firefighters he sent to help put out the destructive fires in August.
Among the other issues they discussed, he said, was Kosovo – in which Greece supports the role of the special envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina talks.
They also discussed Greece’s support for North Macedonia and Albania’s path to EU membership as long as the Prespa agreement is respected in the first case.
The developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina were also discussed, as Greece is concerned about the outstanding issues which “threaten the fragile balance of the country itself as well as the stability of the whole region”.
“Greece is strongly opposed to centrifugal powers that might hope to redraw the map of our region,” said Dendias, noting in particular “the influence of external factors that use a cover for development aid and so-called historical, cultural and religious traditions to promote extremist ideologies and a destabilizing agenda in the Balkans.
The accession of the Western Balkans to the EU “is the only way forward, in our opinion”, he added, and Greece “will continue to make efforts and to work” in this direction.
Selaković said Serbia wanted to further expand relations with Greece and described Tuesday’s meeting as a continuation of the strategic partnership agreement between the two countries.
He highlighted the private meeting he held with Dendias in Belgrade in April, and noted the trilateral meeting including Cyprus, adding that “this new practice will continue soon”.
In addition, Serbia hopes to organize the 4th meeting of the High Council for Cooperation with Greece in Belgrade in the near future, he said.
Trade between the two countries must also improve, said Selaković, and called on Greek business owners to continue their collaboration, which “Serbia supports”.
He also underlined the importance of the forthcoming visit to Belgrade by the Deputy Minister of Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Kostas Fragogiannis, a visit also mentioned earlier by Dendias.
The Serbian Foreign Minister also thanked Greece “for its support regarding the maintenance of our territorial integrity in Kosovo, and its support for the resolution of this problem through the dialogue for the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina under the aegis of the EU ”.
He noted Greece’s accession to the presidency of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) for 2021-2022.
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