Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias reiterated on Thursday Greece's support for the inclusion of the western Balkans in NATO and the European Union during a joint press conference with his fYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov in Skopje, as part of his one-day visit.
"We want our northern neighbor in both NATO and the European Union. But we want them based on the rules and conditions set by the European Union and NATO," he said in his opening statements.
"We strongly believe that the integration of the countries in the Western Balkans, and in particular of our northern neighbour, into the Euro-Atlantic structures will facilitate our lives and contribute to the development of the whole region," he added.
This path requires that the two countries develop their economic and social relations and overcome the issues caused by irredentism that create non-existent geopolitical problems, he said. Kotzias said Greece and fYROM don't have geopolitical differences but instead share common interests.
After his meeting with Dimitrov, the minister was received by President Gjorge Ivanov, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani.
In his meeting with Ivanov, the two officials exchanged views about regional developments and the educational and cultural relations between the two countries.
With Osmani, Kotzias discussed ways to expand and deepen cooperation between the two countries with the Greek minister noting Greece?s readiness to help fYROM in their reform efforts.
He also met with the President of VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski, who reviewed recent developments within the country and recognized Greece's role in the recent political crisis in Skopje as very positive, as well as the fact that Athens never intervened in the country's domestic affairs. Gruevski then discussed the positive prospects for bilateral relations, highlighting the importance of the confidence-building measures which started during his tenure.
The Greek minister later met with Parliament President and head of the largest Albanian party DUI, Talat Xhaferi, with whom they discussed the positive path of bilateral relations. Xhaferi also expressed his willingness to promote cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries.