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GreeceGreece's and North Macedonia's foreign ministers meet in Athens; joint statements

Greece’s and North Macedonia’s foreign ministers meet in Athens; joint statements

Hellenic News of America
Hellenic News of America
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Greece is unwavering in its commitment to the Western Balkans and their accession to the European Union, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said during joint statements with North Macedonia counterpart Bujar Osmani on Thursday, adding that revisionist forces must not be allowed to take advantage of the long process of accession.

“You can always rely on our friendship and our support,” Dendias said, noting that the commitment to North Macedonia’s and the entire Western Balkan region’s accession was further proven by the convening of the first Intergovernmental Conference between Greece and North Macedonia in 2022.

The two FMs discussed collaboration in sectors such as renewable energy sources, green energy, and the defence industry, Dendias said, which would benefit the two countries as well as NATO. They also discussed the Interconnecter natural gas pipeline between the two countries and the Greek Air Force’s patrol of North Macedonia’s airpace surveillance that began in 2019 under the NATO framework. The Greek FM also congratulated his counterpart for his country’s assumption of the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2023 at a challenging time, especially after Russia’s catastrophic invasion of Ukraine, and said Greece would support the effort in every way it could.

At the press conference, Dendias also welcomed the Egyptian president’s decree delimiting the western maritime borders of Egypt, which he called a great confirmation of Greece’s faith in International Law and the Law of the Sea that contributes to the entire region, unlike the Tripoli-Turkey memoranda.

FM Osmani

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On his part, North Macedonia’s FM Osmani expressed his satisfaction that the relations between the two countries provide atrue example of good neighborly relations, and said it provided a foundation for a long and stable collaboration based on mutual trust and respect.

Particularly, he noted that the Prespes Agreement provides a base for further collaboration and boosting of mutual relations, and he thanked Greece for its support during the accession process, relying on it for an exchange of experiences and know-how.

Osmani noted that the good political relations between the two countries have created new conditions for economic collaboration, citing figures from 2018 showing that trade between the two countries has risen by 100% (from 853 million euros), and is expected to reach over 1.6 billion euros this year (2022). The two countries can further improve this, he said, while he also noted that direct Greek investments in North Macedonia, amounting to 620 million euros, hold a large share of his country’s GDP, while business relations and collaboration could expand further.

Referring to Serbia and Kosovo, the North Macedonian FM said that they are facing difficult challenges creating insecurity in the area and suggested that a comprehensive solution through the mediation of the EU and the United States would guarantee stability and security in the entire region. Europe is facing perhaps the greatest security challenge since World War II, he noted, condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine that violates all International Laws and the UN Chart. “These principles are also valuable for any member of the international alliance,” he added.

Finally, Osmani invited Dendias to visit Skopje in order to “reaffirm our excellent relations and to continue the long friendship between the two countries.”


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