07 December, 2005
Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos on Tuesday represented Greece at the 10th annual conference of defense ministers from countries in southeastern Europe (SEDM), scheduled to conclude here Wednesday.
The conference is attended by ministers from 11 SEDM member-states and from the three countries that have been invited as observers: Moldova, Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Addressing the conference, Mihaloliakos said:"Even if the political process for the status of Kosovo has in essence already begun following the initiatives of the UN Secretary-General, nevertheless, the situation remains particularly fragile, a fact which renders necessary the continuation of the presence of KFOR until the conditions of security are consolidated and the final status is clarified."
The deputy defense minister said Athens seeks the accession to the European and to the Euroatlantic structures of all the countries of the region "on condition they fulfill the necessary prerequisites."
Michaloliakos hailed the accession of Ukraine in the SEDM initiative, evaluating that this gives new dimensions and possibilities in the cooperation of the countries which already participate in SEDM. He expressed Greece's satisfaction over the fact that it has the opportunity to contribute in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, stressing that beyond Greek forces which are already stationed in this country, Greece on December 1 took command of Kabul airport.
Michaloliakos spoke of "the creation of a stable Balkan environment, linked with Europe and with the Euroatlantic institutions." Within this context, he expressed Greece's satisfaction over the presence at the conference of the defense ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of Serbia-Montenegro, hoping that these countries will soon fulfill the necessary obligations for their accession to SEDM. He also spoke about the deployment of the Southeast Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG) in Afghanistan next February.
Source: Athens News Agency