MIL-OSI Mediterranean: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani (Skopje, 25.05.2022)

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Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs

Dear Bujar,

Thank you so much for your hospitality today. This is my second visit to Skopje within a few months, and it will certainly not be my last.

Immediately afterwards, I will be received by Prime Minister Mr. Kovačevski to convey the warm greetings of Greece’s Prime Minister, Mr. Mitsotakis.

I think these contacts indicate the importance that both countries attach to the deepening of our relations.

Skopje is the second stop of my tour of the Western Balkans and I am here to deliver a key message: that Greece desires to consolidate peace, security and stability in the region and it’s working hard to achieve it. And it believes that the only way to achieve these goals is through the clear and full support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

We are absolutely convinced that the European Union’s accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start immediately. This is the message that we have been persistently conveying to our European partners, and it was our common message during the breakfast I had the pleasure of hosting in your presence last March.

I would also like to say that beyond this issue, we need to make it clear that we will support the European perspective of North Macedonia, subject to the well-known conditionality. I am here to reassure you of exactly that. We support you on your European path.

We also discussed our bilateral relations, because we consider ourselves to be your close friend and ally. And we will make efforts to strengthen relations between our countries at the bilateral level; beginning with the implementation of the Action Plan adopted by the 1st High Level Cooperation Council and hoping that the 2nd Cooperation Council will follow soon.

We discussed the implementation of the Prespa Agreement. I reiterated that Greece looks forward to its full, consistent and in good faith implementation. Thank you also for your assurances that we are moving in that direction.

I would also like to welcome the fact that our economies are increasingly closely linked and that bilateral trade has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

I am also particularly pleased because Greek investment in North Macedonia is prominent; we are the third or fourth largest foreign investor in the country.

Energy is also an area of cooperation between us and I hope that we will become the pillars of your energy security through the interconnector pipeline, as well as the re-gasification terminal in Alexandroupolis. Besides, a few days ago the Prime Minister of North Macedonia was there, together with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

I would also like to highlight the interconnection of electricity networks, and the interest of a large Greek company to invest more than EUR 200 million in the construction of a major power plant in Skopje, which I believe will be a massive project with multiple benefits.

At the working lunch that will follow, we have a lot more to discuss; we will look into cooperation within international organizations. But I have to thank you publicly, here and now, for supporting Greece’s candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council.

Ι also have to say that Greece is very pleased that North Macedonia has fully aligned itself with the decisions of its future family, the European Union, particularly those condemning revisionist actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and, more recently, the violation of International Law and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions in the fenced-off area of Varosha. And of course North Macedonia, as a NATO member fully implements sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

We look forward to North Macedonia’s participation in the European Union’s Battle Group “HELBROC”.

We also look forward to the OSCE Chairmanship that you will assume next year, my dear Bujar, at a very difficult juncture.

Of course, today we discussed the Ukrainian crisis, and we will continue to do so at the working dinner. We always reiterate our fundamental position. Safeguarding the territorial integrity and independence of all states on the planet constitutes a fundamental principle of International Law and also our fundamental principle. This is the inviolable rule of Greek foreign policy.

We will also discuss the challenges we face in the Eastern Mediterranean during the working dinner. Greece maintains its composure in the face of the challenges it faces. We shall resist the urge to respond to challenges in the same way. We have a fundamental position: International Law and the Law of the Sea both demand that everyone follow them. This is a key NATO rule to which we belong.

I would like to thank you again for your hospitality, for the way you always welcome me here in Skopje. Let me say that I am looking forward to seeing you in Athens shortly – we will be meeting twice very soon, as you were kind enough to mention – and to reiterating that Greece is a firm friend and ally of North Macedonia.

Thank you again, Bujar.

MIL OSI Mediterranean News