Politics, Europe

N.Macedonia bolsters relations with Greece

Greek support for North Macedonia's EU negotiations plays great importance, says Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani

Talha Ozturk   | 14.01.2021
N.Macedonia bolsters relations with Greece

BELGRADE, Serbia

Greece and North Macedonia should set an example of friendship in the Balkans, said North Macedonia's foreign minister on Thursday.

Bujar Osmani's remarks came during his official visit to Athens.

On social media, Osmani praised the good bilateral relations, saying: "Establishing example of friendship, good neighborly relations, of building trust - as an impulse that goes beyond the borders of our countries, creating a positive."

Osmani later in a written statement said his country's intention is to build a deeper long-term friendship with Greece.

"Our sincere intentions are to cross the threshold of good neighborliness, as a correct political narrative and to lay the foundation for building a deeper long-term friendship between the two countries, as the highest expression of the success of politics and diplomacy," Osmani said.

The principled support of Greece for the start of EU negotiations with North Macedonia, without delay, is especially important, he added.

"We appreciate this support and consider it one of the key inputs in building a long-term friendship between the two countries. In the same direction, I want to emphasize the cooperation within NATO, through the arrangement between the two countries for the protection of the airspace, which greatly contributes to the promotion of trust between the two countries in terms of politics and security," he also said.

Osmani's visit focused on establishing the framework for further activities of two countries in accordance with the Action Plan for Cooperation and the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, known as the Prespa Agreement.

In addition, intensification and promotion of economic cooperation through greater cooperation of the chambers of commerce in the field of infrastructure, cross-border facilitation of citizens' movement, energy, further deepening of political dialogue, friendship and good relations with neighbors were on the agenda as well as policies for building a common European future, according to the Foreign Ministry.

During the visit, three memoranda of understanding were signed between the two countries for cooperation in the field of investment and foreign trade between the companies Greece SA and Invest North Macedonia, for cooperation between the foreign ministries in education of diplomats and the field of civil protection.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that with the new deals the two countries took a step forward and focused on areas where there is great potential for cooperation, such as energy, economy, and investments.

"The European Union has an obligation to keep enlargement policy on the table," Dendias said, adding: "We cannot afford to create a vacuum of instability in our region that could easily be filled by other non-EU forces supporting extremism."

Formerly known as Macedonia, the country changed its official name to North Macedonia in 2019, following 22 years of dispute with Greece, to move forward with its Euro-Atlantic integration.

The move allowed the country to be a member NATO in March 2020.

North Macedonia has a population of little over 2 million and its main objective is becoming an EU member.

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