21 May, 2008
Strengthening regional cooperation was the focus of discussions held here on Tuesday at the conference of member-states of the Southeastern Europe Cooperation Process, in the framework of the Bulgarian presidency.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in the afternoon, accompanied by Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos to attend the leaders' dinner, while Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had arrived earlier representing Greece at the conference of Cooperation foreign ministers.
The agenda of talks includes securing stability in the region and promoting the regional character of cooperation, in close cooperation with the European Union in the framework of reshaping regional cooperation in southeastern Europe.
Special importance is placed on converting the Stability Pact and consolidating the Regional Cooperation Council and its operational apparatuses.
The permanent establishment of the Council's secretariat in Sarajevo was decided in this framework, in the "Home of Greek-Bosnian Friendship", that has been created with Greek government funds.
The opening of an office in Brussels was also decided, which will function as a liaison between the EU and the Regional Cooperation Council.
The office, to be headed by Vassilis Koronakis, will preoccupy itself with human capital issues and with the means of communication. In two years' time it will also be assuming the Council's administrative issues.
As the European prospects of the countries in southeastern Europe are being discussed at the conference, the Greek prime minister, as well as the Greek foreign minister, are expressing the Greek government's steadfast position that Greece supports their incorporation in NATO and the EU, on condition that they will observe the principles, values and terms governing them.
Foreign minister Bakoyannis held a discussion with her Serb counterpart, while on Wednesday Prime Minister Cosats Karamanlis will be meeting Serb President Boris Tadic, whose party came first in the recent general elections.
The conference is also being attended by Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia. The conference will come to an end on Wednesday with the issuing of a joint statement.
Source: Athens News Agency