Friday, March 04, 2005

Greek premier urges Russian involvement in Kosovo's status

Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis proposed on Thursday [3 March] a new player that should give its approval for the final status of Kosova [Kosovo]. He stated that in order to come to this status, the European Union and the United States should also have the cooperation of Russia. "The resolution of Kosova's final status requires full cooperation between the European Union, the United States, and Russia," he said. He added: "The talks should be developed to conform to international conventions and UN resolutions."

The Greek prime minister expressed this conclusion after the joint meeting that he had with Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. He assessed this meeting as being very fruitful. In the meantime, UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] Chief Administrator Soeren Jessen-Petersen also received him at UNMIK headquarters. The EU and the United States have been mentioned so far as the key players in resolving Kosova's status, but not Russia.

Speaking about the future status of Kosova, Karamanlis said that this should be resolved only after the standards set by the international community are fulfilled, while he did not unveil the position of Greece regarding the form of this status. "Our position is the European position. The main issue today is to ensure stability and prosperity and to guarantee that a solution that is in accordance with the European values and standards will be found," he said.

The Greek prime minister assessed as quite positive the Kosova Government's efforts to fulfil the standards, also stressing that a lot of work has remained to be done. "With all the efforts that have been made, other efforts remain to be made to guarantee security to the non-Albanian communities, especially to the Serbs, as well as the measures that should be undertaken in order to create the conditions for the return of thousands of refugees. Additional measures are also necessary to secure churches and religious monuments," the Greek prime minister said.

Speaking about the current situation in Kosova, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis mentioned the high level of employment and lack of security for foreign investments. "Kosova faces a high level of unemployment. I am certain that a stabilizing economic programme and improvement of security conditions, also combined with the privatization process, will also offer investment opportunities to Greek investors," he said.

At the meetings that he had, the institutional leaders and the UNMIK chief thanked Karamanlis for the political, economic, and military contribution of his state, while he himself also mentioned the latter.

President Rugova also requested the "formal recognition of the independence of Kosova" from Greece, regarding which he said that: "it is one of the main states in the EU." Meanwhile, the [Kosovo] prime minister only accompanied the two of them, without addressing the journalists. "We are committed to having an independent Kosova, integrated in NATO and the EU, and in a friendship with the United States. We are ready to assume all our international obligations. Kosova will be a likeable member of the EU," the Kosova president stated.

The Greek prime minister also had a separate meeting with Oliver Ivanovic, leader of the "Serb List for Kosova and Metohija [Kosovo]." Ivanovic stated that he requested Karamanlis to influence changing UN Security Council Resolution 1244. "As a NATO and EU member, Greece is quite important for us. We have re-emphasised our position regarding Resolution 1244, which should be changed regarding several important and vital issues before it is discussed," Ivanovic stated after the meeting.

Karamanlis came to Prishtina on a one-day visit following his visit to Belgrade, where he also met with senior state officials.

[Box] Karamanlis: Greece has no plans for resolution of Kosova's status

The Greek prime minister denied having brought with him any plans drawn up in Greece for the resolution of Kosova's future status. "Greece has no plans about the status of Kosova. The only thing for which we have discussed was the Greek position that the standards set by the international community should be implemented before the talks on the status begin. This position of Greece was conveyed to all my interlocutors at the meetings that I had with them," Karamanlis stated after the meeting at UNMIK headquarters.

On the day when the Greek prime minister visited Kosova, there were reports in the media that he has also brought a plan drawn up by his state regarding the resolution of Kosova's status.

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