Welcoming the guest, Arsic expressed satisfaction with the reunion with the Head of Greece-Serbia Parliamentary Friendship Group whom he had had the opportunity to meet when he was Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly in the previous legislature. Arsic pointed out that the relations between Greece and Serbia are traditionally good, with a very long history of diplomatic relations, dating back to 1871. He added that the intense cooperation and visits of high officials continue apace, as they did in previous years, emphasising the visit of Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to Greece, as well as the invitation extended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The PFG Head took the opportunity to thank Greece for its unreserved support of Serbia in the European integration process, as well as the support it provides to the Western Balkans initiative. He said that Serbia has established a Commission for Cooperation between the two parliaments with Greece, which confirms the strong ties between the two nations and parliaments.
Arsic also thanked Greece for its constant support of our country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, explaining that Serbia deeply appreciates its position on the self-proclaimed so-called state of Kosovo.
The Head of Greece-Serbia Parliamentary Friendship Group Christos Boukoros said that the two countries share special, brotherly ties and the parliamentarians’ role is to maintain and strengthen that bond. He took the opportunity to invite the members of the PFG with Greece to visit Greece. He stressed that Greece would remain firm in its resolve never to recognise the independence of the Serbian southern province, adding that his country supports dialogue and a peaceful resolution to the issue. He went on to say that Greece is one of five EU member states not to have recognised the independence of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metohija, adding that it advocated and pointed out to the Union that it must maintain a neutral position and help dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Boukoros said that during the Greek presidency of the EU, Serbia had opened 18 chapters, which clearly indicates full support for membership in this community. He also said that Greece openly supports the Open Balkan initiative which can only contribute to the strengthening of the region and solidify its stability.
Boukoros pointed out that there is vast space to expand cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries, citing the fact that over a million Serbs visit Greece every year, adding that there is also potential for cooperation in the field of infrastructure, agriculture, science and technology. He emphasised that the project of renovation and construction of the Athens-Thessaloniki-Skopje-Belgrade railway is of special importance for the entire region.
In the meeting, the officials paid special attention to the issue of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metohija, with PFG Head Veroljub Arsic pointing out that this issue is not only political, it is also a security issue, not only for Serbs living in this area, but for the entire region. He said that he was aware of the pressure exerted on the Greek government which it has successfully resisted. He stated that the provisional institutions in Kosovo-Metohija often use force inappropriately, under the pretext of fighting organised crime. He thanked Greece for not supporting the formation of the so-called the Kosovo Army and openly supporting the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. He called on Greece to refrain from cooperating with the Pristina authorities, as such moves are seen by these institutions as support for further irresponsible policies. Milovan Drecun, member of the PFG with Greece and Chairman of the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija, also spoke on the topic, stating that the Kosovo-Metohija issue is a matter of the future of the Republic of Serbia and its integrity, regional stability and economic progress. "Serbia is determined to resolve the Kosovo problem in a peaceful political way and is ready to reach a compromise solution while respecting the interests of the Albanian nationality." He asked the Greek MP to convey to his colleagues and members of the Government that Pristina does not want dialogue and undermines it at every step, with all available means, disrespecting agreements and treaties, and speaks openly about the formation of Greater Albania, which theoretically also covers part of the Greek state. Strengthening of military and security forces on this territory is another worrying issue for which there is no reason, because Serbia does not want a conflict, said Drecun. Boukoros restated that Greece would stand by Serbia in resolving this problem peacefully and give its full support, and that it would not succumb to attempts to usurp peace and stability in the region.
At the end of the meeting, the officials opined that parliamentary diplomacy can contribute to the development of relations between the two countries at all levels, especially in culture, economy and infrastructure.