Friendship and historical alliance of Serbia and Greece

03. Jun 2022.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Nikos Dendias in Belgrade today.

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Selaković said that Serbia was firmly committed to strengthening cooperation and intensifying dialogue with Greece in all areas, and emphasised the importance of principled and mutual support for key issues of national interest.

“Serbia and Greece are fraternal countries bound by historical friendship and alliance, and it is up to us to use these ties today, in order to achieve the best results in what we are doing for the citizens of our two countries and for our countries as a whole,” Selaković pointed out.

Minister Selaković especially thanked Greece for its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, adding that the support of EU member states which have not recognised the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo was valuable for Serbia.

Minister Selaković also stated that Serbia remained consistent in supporting the territorial integrity of Greece on land and sea.

“Minister Dendias and I discussed the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština and affirmed our support for the dialogue as the only means of finding a sustainable, compromise solution,” Selaković said.

He pointed out that the support of Greece on Serbia's European path was very significant, stating that Serbia highly appreciated the principled position and active commitment of Greece to continue EU enlargement and integration of the Western Balkans.

Selaković stated that the importance of the established trilateral format with Cyprus and quadrilateral format with Bulgaria and Romania was discussed at the meeting, as well as the establishment of new formats that would contribute to strengthening our positions in the region.

Minister Selaković underlined that regional stability and peace-keeping had no alternative, especially at the time of complete restructuring of the geopolitical architecture of Europe and the world.

“I presented the Open Balkans initiative and I expect support for this format, which is not foreseen only for Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia, but everyone from the Western Balkans is invited to participate in it,” said Selaković, adding that he believed Greece could find its place in the initiative, too.

Selaković said that Serbia has been open to Greek investors, noting that from 2001 to 2010, investors from Greece were second by the value of investments in Serbia, and expressed confidence that closer cooperation would be established again, taking into account that Serbia was the world's leading country in terms of foreign direct investment per capita in the last three years.

“We are interested in strengthening cooperation in the field of energy, especially as regards diversification of the supply of important energy sources,” the Minister said, adding that after the last meeting between President Vučić and Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis in Alexandroupolis at the opening of the LNG terminal, Serbia was convinced that construction of the gas interconnection between Serbia and Bulgaria in the near future would enable arrival of gas from that source to Serbia as well.

Finally, Selaković said that he would meet again with his Greek counterpart at the Ministerial Summit of the South East European Cooperation Process to be held in Thessaloniki in a few days and thanked Greece for the efforts made during its chairmanship.

Minister Dendias thanked for the hospitality and stated that the fact that it was his fourth visit to Serbia spoke volumes about the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries.

„Today I am here as part of the Western Balkans tour, ahead of the summit of the South East European Cooperation Process which will be held in Thessaloniki next week, 20 years after the Thessaloniki summit, which launched the Western Balkans agenda. The key message I convey to my interlocutors is that the future of the Western Balkans is in the European Union,” Dendias said, adding that Greece has been providing political and technical support to Serbia in order to approximate to the European Union and eventually join it.

Minister Dendias stated that Greece appreciated the reform efforts in Serbia and he encouraged their continuation, as well as harmonisation with the EU foreign policy.

“As regards the region, the whole region must look to our common future, not the past. We need to address the challenges ahead. In that regard, we discussed many topics, such as the Open Balkans, which is an initiative that sounds interesting to us,” said Minister Dendias.

Speaking about the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, Dendias stated that it was necessary to make visible progress in the negotiations in order to reach a comprehensive legally binding agreement.

“We should also try to build regional stability and prosperity in order to improve bilateral and regional cooperation. Greece remains committed to further strengthening bilateral ties with our longtime friend, Serbia. Serbia is an important partner to the Greek business community. Our private sector has invested almost three billion euros in Serbia, and we are proud that Greek companies have created 25,000 jobs,” the Minister said, adding that Greece was ready to continue investing in Serbia and supported Serbia's intention to open tourist office in Athens, since Greece has been one of the most frequent tourist destinations for Serbian citizens.

Finally, Minister Dendias praised the cooperation between Serbia and Greece in international bodies and thanked for Serbia's support for Greek candidacy for the election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.