Kostunica in Athens

Lightning visit on Montenegro and business matters

by Kyra Adam

(“Eleftherotypia”, January 17, 2001)

The lightning visit—it lasted just 12 hours—of Yugoslav President Voislav Kostunica formalised both his government’s relations with Athens and the continuity of his country’s relations with Greece, regardless of the succession of regimes.

During their talks, the Yugoslav President and Greece’s political leaders touched on three basic issues:

  1. Bilateral relations and new prospects for economic co-operation, mainly on the basis of agreements reached in the Milosevic era.
  2. The problems of Kosovo and Montenegro with regard to maintaining peace and security in the region, on the basis of the inviolability of existing borders.
  3. The huge environmental and health problem associated with pollution from depleted uranium released during the bombardments.

Appropriate solution for Montenegro

President Stephanopoulos of Greece clearly enunciated the problem in Kosovo and Montenegro:

I reaffirmed our country’s position with regard to the situation in Kosovo, where it is essential that the Security Council Resolution be implemented, and our opposition to any change in borders, which would be to the detriment of the entire region. We also expressed our hope that an appropriate solution might be found to the problem of relations between Serbia and Montenegro, in the framework of existing constitutional bonds and always on the basis of the dialogue that must exist between the two parties.

For his part, President Kostunica stressed that:

What characterises the government in Belgrade is its constant readiness to engage into conversation. This constant readiness to conversate is displayed by the Belgrade government in the matter of Kosovo. In addition, it has shown self-restraint with regard to the violence manifested by Albanian terrorists. We are seeking to establish a dialogue with moderate Albanian elements in Kosovo” […]

Neither Athens nor Belgrade publicly mentioned the issue of relations between Belgrade and Montenegro yesterday, although this is a subject of particular interest to Athens. Montenegrin independence would act as a green light to Kosovo for a similar move, which would lead to border changes and upheavals that Athens for obvious reasons does not want…

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