01 December, 2005
Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Wednesday received a senior official of the U.S. State Departments European and Eurasian affairs bureau, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Central Europe Rosemary DiCarlo, who is currently visiting Greece. During the meeting, they discussed the situation in Kosovo.
In an interview with the Associated Press news agency on Wednesday concerning his upcoming trip to Belgrade and Pristina on December 6-7, meanwhile, Molyviatis stressed that peace and stability continue to be precarious in the Balkans.
The minister pointed to three separate but interrelated issues that would have to be dealt with over the next month and which could potentially lead to a volatile situation in the area.
These included the talks for the final status of Kosovo, a referendum to be held in April that may lead to Montenegro's separation from Serbia and a new Constitution that aims to unify ethnically-divided Bosnia-Herzegovina before March.
"We must not overlook the possible threats contained in these problems and especially in relation to the extreme nationalist tendencies and sentiments that exist in the region.
The international community must act in a way that very seriously takes into account the need for security and stability in the region," he warned.
Molyviatis was quoted as citing the final-status talks for UN-administered Kosovo province, an April referendum in Montenegro on the future of its union with Serbia and deliberations over a new Bosnian constitution aimed to advance unification as ingredients in such an "explosive mix".
Conversely, he said a comparison of the region today and 10 years ago shows a dramatic improvement, although threats to security and peace have still not been eliminated.
The interview comes before the Greek foreign minister's visit next week to Pristina and Belgrade.
Athens currently chairs the South East Europe Co-operation Process (SEECP), an initiative that also includes Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania, Serbia-Montenegro and Turkey.
Papoutsis discusses Balkans, Kosovo, Serbia, FYROM name issue with State Dep't official: The prospects in the western Balkans, Kosovo and Serbia, and the FYROM name issue, were discussed Wednesday in Athens by main opposition PASOK Political Council member responsible for foreign policy and defense Christos Papoutsis, and visiting US deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo.
"We support the developments that lead to the path of peace, economic cooperation and reinforcement of the democratic institutions, and chiefly the European path of all the countries of the region," Papoutsis told reporters after the meeting.
"We support a future status in Kosovo that will be mutually accepted by all the peoples of the region and, naturally, we believe in cooperation among all the countries with a decisive role which, in any event, will be played by Serbia," he added.
Papoutsis noted that Greece was "present" in Serbia and in all the other countries of the region, both with respect to reinforcement of the political procedures and, primarily, in economic cooperation.
On the FYROM name issue, Papoutsis said that PASOK supported a European road for FYROM and efforts leading to a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the neighboring country's name, which, he stressed, must respect the geographical, cultural and historical uniquenesses of the two peoples.
Papoutsis described his discussion with DiCarlo as "extremely interesting", adding that he had had the opportunity to present PASOK's positions on the matters discussed, which the party has been following for many years both in (the preceding) government -- with the new party leader George Papandreou as foreign minister -- and as the main opposition party.
Source: Athens News Agency