FM Gerapetritsis's response on Western Balkans issues

Sat, 27 Apr 2024 9:44 GMT
Foreign Minister Gerapetritis responds in parliament to opposition question on Western Balkans issues.
FM Gerapetritsis's response on Western Balkans issues

Greece is the country primarily "with a strategic relationship with countries of the Western Balkans," Foreign Affairs Minister George Gerapetritis said in parliament on Friday. "We have achieved, right now, excellent relations with all countries," he added, because Greece is a reliable country.

Responding to a question by Nea Aristera Deputy Sia Anagnostopoulou, Gerapetritis said that Greece "maintains excellent relations with all countries of the Western Balkans, especially with the traditionally friendly countries such as Serbia and Montenegro, with which it has developed special agreements on transport and energy connectivity." Greece's policy of principles also allows it to be "fair interlocutors under difficult circumstances such as the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina, and naturally also able to talk with Bosnia Herzegovina as well as Kosovo," he added. 

Prespes Agreement

In terms of the latter country, he said, "We have said from the start that we do not believe Kosovo will be able, under current circumstances, to become a member of international organizations." He clarified that "the Greek government will never agree to Kosovo's membership, despite the fact it retains necessary bilateral relations, in order to have good neighborly relations," and is absolutely consistent in this stance.

Speaking on the Agreement's outstanding ratification by the Greek parliament, Gerapetritis also said the government "absolutely accepts the Prespes Agreement. This could not be otherwise, since it is a constitutional obligation. On the other hand, we follow closely its development and implementation. In order for there to be a development, to ratify the protocols and to have any foreseen progress in secondary protocols or memorandums, there must be agreement between the two sides, and there must be a full fulfilment of obligations under the Prespes Agreement."


As to Albania, "Greece is in principle supportive of Albania's accession to the EU, and of course we feel that the policy we have followed is in agreement with the interests of the Greek minority in Albania. The rule of law is not a bilateral issue. We have raised it to a European issue," the FM said.

In terms of the inclusion by ruling New Democracy (ND) of detained mayor-elect of Himare Fredi Beleri on its European election ballot, Gerapetritis said his inclusion "relates to the [ND] party, not the government." 


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