"Greece sticks to policy of non-recognition of Kosovo"

Greece remains committed to the policy of non-recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, says Aleksandar Vulin.

Source: Tanjug
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Greece also supports "everything that Serbia is doing regarding the implementation of the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština," the Serbian minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo told Tanjug in Athens.

Vulin said after a meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Dimitris Kourkoulas that the talks focused on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the upcoming local elections.

“We obtained support for everything that Serbia is doing in the implementation of the Brussels agreement,” Vulin said.

“We received support from our traditional friends that they will continue to pursue the policy of non-recognition of Kosovo and Metohija, and we were assured that they will do everything in their power to speed up the process of Serbia's accession talks with the EU in order for the negotiations to start during the Greek EU Presidency,” he said.

Greece will assume the EU presidency from Lithuania on January 1.

Govt. "invested its entire authority"

Aleksandar Vulin has said that successful local elections in Kosovo are the only way to the normalization of life in the province.

The issue of security is of key importance for Serbs in Kosovo, which requires that crimes be resolved, and that has not been the case up to this point, Vulin said at a roundtable that was organized by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) on Thursday.

"For us, the Serbian government, the November elections are the most important. We have invested our entire authority and called on Serbs in Kosovo to go to the polls, which was a difficult and politically risky decision, but we know that is the only way to the normalization of life in Kosovo,“ he said.

Vulin underscored that the stability of the entire region depends on establishing a lasting stability in Kosovo.

“If terrorists prevail, if they succeed.... we will have a constant instability of the entire region,” he warned.

Vulin noted that, according to the latest information, around 40,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) registered for voting in local elections, which is, as he underscored, a very good result.

For Serbs in Kosovo, the security for all residing there is the main issue and prerequisite for everything, Vulin said.

Noting that since the arrival of the international community in Kosovo, 1,037 murders of Serbs were committed on ethnic grounds, Vulin underscores that only two punishments have been pronounced so far, while the other crimes are still unresolved.

“There can be no security until that is changed,” he cautioned, adding that there are also around 40,000 unresolved property cases.

The minister said this is one of the reasons why Serbs are not returning to Kosovo, and noted that before the 1999 war, around 40,000 Serbs lived in Priština, while today there are only 30-40 of them.

According to the international community's data, there are between 200,000 and 230,000 Serb IDPs, he stressed.

Vulin informed participants of the roundtable, held at the representative office of the European Parliament in Greece, about Thursday morning's murder of a EULEX staff member in the municipality of Zvečan.

“That is a tragedy. A lost human life, without any reason whatsoever... Whoever did that is the greatest enemy of Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo, the enemy of peaceful and normal life in Kosovo, he said.

On both sides, there are people who think that the Brussels agreement is not good and that it is not good that Serbs in Kosovo assume responsibility for their own future, the minister said.

The Brussels accord is a historic one, but that is only a first step, the first of agreements that Belgrade and Priština should reach, Vulin said.

“For us, the cultural heritage is maybe the most important, the heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo. We think that should be raised to the level of a new agreement between Belgrade and Priština with the EU as an intermediary,” Vulin said, voicing hope that the negotiating teams will soon start working on an agreement on property.

He noted that the agreement on telecommunications and energy has been reached, but that the issue of energy cannot be completely solved until an agreement on property is achieved.

Vulin also voiced concern over changes to the Law on Amnesty in Kosovo, stressing that what has been agreed in Brussels cannot be changed either in Belgrade or Priština, but it has to be consistently adhered to.

Vulin was on a two-day visit to Athens, but he cut his trip short because of the killing of one EULEX staff member.

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