13 November 2006

Defense Minister of Greece Meets With Patriarch Pavle


Defence agreement signed by Greece and Serbia
Bilateral relations between Greece and Serbia and the situation in the wider region - focusing particularly on the Kosovo - dominated talks held by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis in Belgrade on Thursday. Meimarakis was formally received by his Serb counterpart Zoran Stankovic at Topcider military base in Belgrade. Talks focused on bilateral defence cooperation while a new broader defense agreement was signed by the two sides. Meimarakis stressed in a press conference that the new agreement gives special emphasis to military training and cooperation between training centers for peace operations in Belgrade, Serbia and Kilkis, Greece, while he assured his Serb counterpart that the Greek government supports Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic prospect. On his part, Stankovic thanked the Greek minister for the support and revealed that Greece will back Serbia’s accession into the NATO Partnership for Peace initiative in the imminent NATO summit to take place in Riga, Latvia in late November. Kosovo was the dominant issue at the meeting Meimarakis had with Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who reiterated that his country cannot accept a solution that will not respect its sovereign rights in the region. The Greek minister pointed out the need for a mutually acceptable solution soon, stating that a likely extension of uncertainty would have a negative effect on stability in the wider region. Meimarakis wrapped up his contacts in Belgrade by meeting Serb Patriarch Pavle. The head of the Serb Orthodox Church referred to the historical ties shared by the two peoples and thanked the Greeks for their support to the Serbs. Before leaving the Serb capital, Meimarakis visited the newly built St. Sava Cathedral, the largest Orthodox Christian church in the Balkans.