Friday, November 9, 2012

Nikolic: We will meet EU conditions

ATHENS – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic stated in Athens on Friday, after meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, that Serbia will meet all conditions attached by the EU, but added that the country will never recognize Kosovo's independence.

The Greek president told a joint press conference that geopolitical situation in the wider region are vulnerable and that Greece and Serbia, as countries with historical ties of friendship, have to show solidarity when it comes to critical national issues.

 Nikolic said that the preservation of Serbia's sovereignty is backed by Greece and represents a national interest, and added that Athens can count on Serbia's help: Serbia will help Greece if it wants to resolve some of its problems. We have friendships, reputation and trust and we can help the nations, which are not really at odds with each other, to reconcile, Nikolic said. 

 Papoulias conveyed Athens' position on Cyprus and the name dispute with neighboring Macedonia to Nikolic. Papoulias also stressed that Greece supports Serbia's EU path and that the basic policy of his country is - stability and peace in the wider Balkan region. In order to achieve this mutual European goal and consolidate stability in Serbia, we support the EU accession of all countries of the Western Balkans, he noted. The two presidents both agreed that there are no open issues between Serbia and Greece, but only friendship which will never seize to exist. Nikolic and Papoulias both said that the economic cooperation between their two countries is good and pointed out that a signifcant number of Greek companies are doing business in Serbia. Serbian President Nikolic also met with Greek Parliament Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis. 

After meeting Papoulias, Nikolic laid wreaths at theTomb of the Unknown Soldier in downtown Athens. Serbia's delegation, comprising Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic, Minister of Culture Bratislav Petkovic, Serbian President's Foreign Policy Advisor Marko Djuric and Serbian Ambassador to Athens Dragan Zupanjevac, held a meeting with a delegation of Greece. 

 The Serbian delegation will wrap up its visit to Greece on November 11, when a commemorative ceremony will be held at the Memorial centre on the island of Vido. The delegation will also lay wreaths in the waters around the island, referred to as the Blue Sea Tomb. ------------------------------------------------- 
Meimarakis: Greece not to change stance on Kosovo 
 Greek Parliament Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis underlined during the talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Friday that the Greek stance on Kosovo's independence will not change. Meimarakis expressed Greece's clear support to Serbia's EU pathway, stressing that it is of crucial importance for the Balkan region to be stable and secure. The Serbian president said that Serbia highly appreciates Greece's support in terms of its European integration process and territorial integrity. Serbia will fulfill all EU membership conditions, which were fulfilled by other EU members as well, Nikolic said, stressing that Serbia highly values the support of all five EU members, Greece included, which do not recognize Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Nikolic is heading a Serbian delegation that is on a three-day visit to Greece. --------------------------------------------------- 

Nikolic confers with Greek Prime Minister Samaras
 Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic conferred with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens on Friday. Samaras organized a working lunch for the Serbian delegation. Nikolic kicked off a three-day visit to Greece on Friday, and he already held meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Parliament Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis. He also took part in a session of the Greek-Serbian Business Council. In commemoration of the World War I Armistice Day on November 10, Nikolic will lay wreaths at Zeytinlik military cemetery near Thessaloniki, and after that depart for Mt. Athos. On November 11, the Serbian delegation will attend a commemorative ceremony on Vido island, and lay wreaths at the Blue Tomb.

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