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Thessaloniki-Belgrade railway connection to be speed up

11 July 17 - RE+D Magazine
Thessaloniki-Belgrade railway connection to be speed up

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Antulio Richetta

Director IBI Group
Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic agreed to deepen bilateral relations and speed up joint projects such as the Thessaloniki-Belgrade railway connection, as they explained at a joint press conference in Athens on Monday.

 

Kotzias said Greece supports Serbia’s European prospects, adding it would be “a great gain” for the EU to make the country a member-state which "wouldn't be a favor” because it already "belongs to the European culture". The two ministers also discussed ways to expand bilateral relations and the situation in the western Balkans, he said.

Commenting on the Cyprus issue, Kotzias thanked Dacic for the positive stance his country maintained on the issue noting that the support of countries such as Serbia has great value. On his side, Dacic said Serbia respects the territorial integrity of Cyprus, just as Greece and Cyprus respect Serbia’s territorial integrity in relation to Kosovo.

“We are closely connected and it is our obligation to continue,” he said, noting Greece is one of the largest investors in his country with more than two billion euros, while trade relations totaled 400 million euros before the crisis.

Commenting on developments in the western Balkans, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) and Kosovo, he reiterated his view that Serbia made a mistake 20 years ago by recognizing fYRoM with its constitutional name ("Republic of Macedonia"), saying it was not right towards Greece.

He said fYRoM then went on to recognize Kosovo as an independent country and voted in favour of its inclusion in UNESCO. Dacic also expressed concern over the increasing influence of Albanians in the western Balkans, noting it is clear there is an intensified effort to create a unified Albanian state, which he said would constitute a great danger for the stability in Europe.

Serbia will not take any action to destabilize the region, but will help to preserve stability. Asked by a journalist whether he is optimistic about the election results in fYRoM and Kosovo, Dacic said elections in Kosovo will not bring stability as, whoever wins, will not be the best candidate for the interests of the Serbians who live there.

The meeting comes ahead of the Greek-Serbian High-Level Cooperation Council, which will be held in Thessaloniki on July 13. This will be followed by a tripartite meeting between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia.

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