President Stevo Pendarovski received today the letters of credence of the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hellenic Republic to the Republic of North Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Roussos Koundouros.
At the ceremony, President Pendarovski said that the relations between the two countries today are characterized by friendship, high level of political dialogue and commitment to the policy of good neighborliness and regional cooperation. President Pendarovski expressed confidence that in the coming period priority will be implementation of specific projects, which will affect the further intensification of economic ties.
Ambassador Koundouros stressed that Greece is ready to support our country in the process of accession to the European Union and expressed a strong commitment to strengthening the overall bilateral relations, with special emphasis on promoting economic cooperation.
Please find below the integral addresses of President Pendarovski and the Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, Roussos Koundouros.
Welcome Address by President Pendarovski
I have this exceptional pleasure and honor to receive the Letters of Credence of Her Excellency, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, appointing you as the new Greek Ambassador to the Republic of North Macedonia.
Let me sincerely welcome you to the Republic of North Macedonia and wish you success in performing this responsible office.
We highly appreciate your professional engagement so far and believe that it will contribute to the enrichment of the bilateral relations and cooperation between our two countries, which share the same commitment to peace, freedom, democracy and prosperity in the Region and beyond.
I assure you that in carrying out your mission you will enjoy our full support and cooperation.
With the signing of the Prespa Agreement, a new chapter in our bilateral relations began. With the Agreement, we showed how open issues between two neighboring countries can be resolved, and we also paved the path to significantly enhanced cooperation, based on mutual respect and partnership, which will be, most of all, beneficial for our peoples.
In this context, let me conclude that, today, the relations between our countries are characterized by sincere friendship, high level of political dialogue and further commitment to the policy of good neighborliness and regional cooperation.
The vitality of our relations has been shown in action in dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cooperation and coordination between the institutions of the two countries in the first wave, in view of successfully repatriating the Macedonian and Greek citizens, was really at a high level.
We should not forget the constant joint effort and contribution to the security and stability of our common border in dealing with migrant flows, which still cause serious consequences and troubles in Europe and beyond.
Based on these positive examples, I am deeply convinced that there are numerous opportunities before us for further advancement of bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.
In that regard, I appreciate that we should give special priority to the areas where due to the absence of an appropriate legal framework in the past, cooperation was almost non-existent.
Hence, I believe the implementation of specific projects to improve rail, road and energy connections, communications, tourism, human flow, science and education, will significantly enrich the spectrum of relations and will further intensify economic ties, where we already note excellent results.
Greece is among the five most important trade partners of our country, which gives enough room to use the potential and opportunities to improve business relations.
The Republic of North Macedonia officially became a NATO member in 2020, where it is committed to ensuring peace and stability on an equal footing with other member states. Within the NATO cooperation framework, as allies and neighbors, we signed the Technical Arrangements between the Ministries of Defence of the two countries for airspace protection, which is another confirmation of the built mutual trust and contribution to shared security in a broader context.
A significant process towards achieving European aspirations for equal membership in the European Union is ahead of us. We sincerely count on the strong support of Greece, as a friend, ally and strategic partner of the Republic of North Macedonia in this process.
Our expectations are that in 2021 the first Intergovernmental Conference will be held, which will mark the official start of accession negotiations, which will give us the opportunity to practically prove that we are ready to move the process of our European integration forward.
Having said that, I would like to express my conviction that during your term, with joint engagement and efforts, we will contribute to further deepening and intensification of bilateral relations and cooperation between our two friendly countries and we will have the opportunity to witness together even greater rapprochement between our peoples.
On this occasion, I would like to ask you, on my behalf and on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, to convey the assurances of my highest consideration to Her Excellency, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the sincere wishes for her good health.
At the same time, I would like to express my satisfaction with the invitation to visit Athens for the first official visit at the presidential level for the entire period of our relations.
I look forward to the opportunity to start talks on the overall cooperation of our countries at the highest level, and I am confident that this will be a strong impetus for further development of our relations.
In the end, Your Excellency, allow me, once again, to wish you much success and good health in the execution of your ambassadorial function.
Welcome Address by Ambassador Koundouros
I am honored to present my credentials, as well as the recall letter of my predecessor.
Allow me to begin by stressing Greece’s sincere wish and commitment to promote good neighborly relations, close cooperation and friendship with the Republic of North Macedonia.
As direct neighbors, we can achieve a lot by working together.
There are obviously promising possibilities to further strengthen bilateral relations in many areas of common interest, in a way that will benefit our respective countries and their citizens.
This includes our economies and we view ever closer economic cooperation to be top priority.
There are encouraging signs and we should seize the momentum.
Certainly, one of the pillars to build a solid relationship in the present and for the future is the full, consistent and in good faith implementation of the Prespa Agreement in its totality.
Along with the important step of NATO accession, the Republic of North Macedonia has chosen the path of European integration and has become candidate for accession to the European Union.
Greece views this process with satisfaction, as it has proved to be a factor of stability, democracy and prosperity in Europe, and is essential for our part of the Continent as well.
Also very importantly, Greece is convinced of the necessity of regional cooperation based on good neighborly relations.
Indispensable condition for that is the respect for the United Nations’ principles and the observance of international law and international Treaties and agreements by all, without exceptions.
As a member state of the EU, Greece is willing to support you in taking the accession process forward, by fulfilling the necessary conditions, and in making eventually this fundamental choice of your people a reality.
Excellency, we are very much looking forward to your upcoming official visit to Greece later this year, upon an invitation by the President of the Hellenic Republic, which is demonstrating the dynamics of our bilateral relations.
Last, allow me to express my personal commitment in contributing to realize the steps necessary to further deepen and strengthen our relations.