February 26. 2024. 5:17

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Greek position on Kosovo’s independence unchanged

Greece’s position of not recognising Kosovo’s independence has not changed, said Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou during a visit to Serbia on Tuesday.

Greece is one of five EU countries that do not recognise Kosovo’s 2008 unilateral independence from Serbia following the 1998-1999 Kosovo-Serbia war. The others are Cyprus, Romania, Spain, and Slovakia.

“There is always pressure at the diplomatic level, but this has not affected our position, we have consistency in politics,” Sakellaropoulou said after her meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.

She also emphasised that Greece welcomes the Annex to implement the agreement towards normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia, which was reached in Ohrid on 18 March, with the mediation of the European Union.

“Greece is ready to support Belgrade and Pristina in the implementation of the agreement”, she added.

Her comments come days after Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Belgrade with a similar message.

While it aspires to play the role of “honest mediator” between Serbia and Kosovo, Athens reiterated that it would not recognise Kosovo as an independent state despite the suggestion by the US to do so, according to the Kathimerini newspaper.

Dendias’ comments came days after he visited Kosovo and met with President Vjosa Osmani, the sixth such meeting, leading some to speculate that recognition could be forthcoming.

In a statement, the head of state praised Greece’s dedication and ongoing support for visa liberalisation and Euro-Atlantic integration in Kosovo.

“The meeting also covered Kosovo-Greece relations, on which President Osmani showed readiness to strengthen the further bilateral relationship,” the Kosovo presidency stated in a press release.

Greece does, however, recognise Kosovo passports, but with elections scheduled for May, any steps towards recognition would likely not be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, in Pristina, Prime Minister Albin Kurti laid a floral tribute to the memory of 40 citizens killed by Serbian forces in Peja during the war.

He called on Serbia to face its past, as it continues today, to deny many of the atrocities and massacres committed.

“Justice and truth are necessary for long-term peace and security, for everyone and good neighbourly and normal relations. Serbia must face its criminal past in Kosovo, and the Special Prosecutor’s Office must work day and night to bring those responsible to justice and thus begin rehabilitation for the victims,” he said.

“It is known that the victims are not only those killed and kidnapped but also their families, their relatives and our entire society”, Kurti added.