14 January, 2005
Athens on Thursday confirmed that a high-level Greek diplomatic delegation is currently visiting Belgrade, southern Serbia and the Kosovo province as part of a wide-ranging fact-finding mission.
According to the foreign ministry, members of the delegation have and will meet with numerous local and regional leaders as part of direct briefings on the situation in the wider area.
"The visit also confirms Greece's volition to contribute to the strengthening of peace and security in the region through a distinct European prospect, as this was put forth during the Thessaloniki (EU) Summit," ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.
As far as the thorny Kosovo problem is concerned, the spokesman said Greek diplomats have stressed a need for the absolute respect of international law, the United Nations' charter, the principles of Helsinki and the European Union's criteria and principles.
Among others, Greece emphasized the priority of Serbian refugees' return amid conditions of security, as well as the restoration of damaged churches, monasteries and cultural monuments.
According to Koumoutsakos, the leadership in Kosovo expressed an interest in Greek investments in the UN-administered province, as well as in planned privatizations.
Members of the delegation include foreign ministry political director Amb. Alexandros Mallias, Athens' ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro, Mihalis Spinelis, the head of Greece's liaison office in Pristina, Karolos Gadis and Prof. Evangelos Kofos.
Source: Athens News Agency