Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) shake hands during their meeting in Belgrade, 21 December 2018. Tsipras is on an official visit to Serbia to take part in the Hellenic-Serbian High-Level Cooperation Council in Belgrade on 21 and 22 December 2018. The Greek-Bulgarian-Romania-Serbia Quartet Summit will also take place in Belgrade. EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday said that is it obvious that the strong diplomatic relations between Greece and Serbia have been boosted even further in the last period, in statements he made after the conclusion of the 2nd Greek-Serbian High Level Cooperation Council in Belgrade.
“This is the third time I am visiting Belgrade. Our peoples share the same feelings of solidarity that were built during very difficult times,” the Greek prime minister said.
Both countries, he said, “rely on a common vision of cooperation, peace and prosperity, in order to exit a period of inertia so our countries may become frontrunners. This vision has led us to expand our relations and reach a quadrilateral cooperation (with Bulgaria and Romania) based on sectors of special trade interest which can provide additional value to the future of the Balkans.”
“We warmly support Serbia’s EU prospects,” he added.
“Greece sees positively any agreement or solution between Serbia and Kosovo that will be sincere and will support the stability in the region,” Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said.
Both men met in Belgrade during the 2nd Greek-Serbian High Level Cooperation Council.
Tsipras added that the solution between Serbia and Kosovo may mean compromise that may include losses for both parts.
But, as he noted, “between the effort for solution and the strategy of inertia, I am for the effort seeking a solution that may be difficult, a compromise that may contain losses for both sides but which offers a prospect. The one that does this will not lose. We support the dialogue of Brussels for a solution.”
Tsipras added that the third countries (non-EU members) have their own interests and ulterior motives in the region. “I deeply believe that at some point we must realize that we are both experienced and sovereign countries. Third countries will take their stance on the basis of correlations in the region and the prevailing conditions. We must focus on the defence of our own interests. The common interest for all sides is the safeguarding of peace, stability and safety in the region”.
Initiatives like those of Kosovo imposing custom duties on Bosnia and Serbia contribute to the destabilisation in the region, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras said.
Tsipras added that President Vucic is expending great effort towards helping in a solution, and said “I send a strong a message of condemnation to Kosovo, which adds fuel to the fire, and a message to Serbia, to continue its efforts.”
“Greece is a country that plays a stabilizing role in the area. It is proving this in action and with the Prespes Agreement,” the Greek prime minister noted and the agreement means that instead of a wall between the two countries, they will now have a bridge connecting them. In addition, the Prespes Agreement he said will by extension help Greece and Serbia to come even closer and further develop their economic cooperation through investments and projects that strengthen their interconnectivity. Such projects “will give people of the two countries and trade to move faster,” Tsipras pointed out.
The Greek premier revealed that “it is Greece’s aim that the first international agreement to be signed by our neighbouring country (FYROM) under its news name, be among three countries, Greece, Serbia and North Macedonia, as (FYROM) will be called in the near future, so that we can promote rapidly a railway network that will link Athens with Thessaloniki, Skopje, Belgrade and Budapest, and which will bring Greece and Serbia closer.” This, he said, will have “extremely favourable repercussions on trade, tourism, our bonds in the region and stability in the Balkans.”
“Serbia and Greece have very good relations, and Serbians consider Greece a friend and ally in all the important matters,” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, addressing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after the conclusion of the 2nd Greek-Serbian High Level Cooperation Council held on Friday in Belgrade.
“We want to have the best possible bilateral relations at high level,” Vucic said, adding, “We are grateful to Greece and to you, Mr. Tsipras, for your help in all the fora of the EU towards the support for our country’s European prospect and the safeguarding of our national sovereignty.”
Referring to the Prespes Agreement between Greece and FYROM, the Serbian president said that the agreement “is very important for Serbia because our countries will bond further.” As he noted, “We do not want to get involved in your domestic issues but we want to show the path Serbia supports. If everything goes well with the agreement, we would be able to organise a Greece, Serbia and Skopje trilateral meeting.”
Finally, Vucic said that in their meeting they also discussed on Kosovo, the creation of army that is not provided by the treaties, and the introduction of customs duties.