Bilateral relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece are excellent, with no open issues, but also with considerable room for improvement, especially in the field of economy and foreign trade, BiH Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said today in Sarajevo, after her meeting with Greece his counterpart Nikos Dendias.
The good relations between the two countries, she added, are confirmed by the bilateral agreements signed in the field of economy, investment protection, defense, traffic, culture, education and science.
“These agreements represent the foundation that corresponds to our future efforts to improve co-operation, and I believe co-operation will continue, especially in the field of energy,” Turkovic said.
She recalled the business forums held between BiH and Greece in Sarajevo and Athens in recent years, and expressed their willingness and hope that they would continue to be held in the post-pandemic era. Turkovic said it is in BiH’s interest to improve its foreign trade with Greece in the future, which currently does not meet expectations. In the first nine months of 2020, imports from Greece were at 85m BAM, while exports from BiH were at 9.8m BAM. She stated that an additional problem was the COVID-19 pandemic, due to which total foreign trade in this period had shrunk by 56.7 percent.
“We deeply appreciate Greece’s position that the European perspective of the Western Balkans should be a priority not only for those countries, but also for the EU. “In this context, regional co-operation, which has recently been strengthened through the signing of a declaration on the common regional market under the Berlin Process, is extremely important for us,” Turković said.
According to the BiH Minister, in today’s discussion they paid special attention to the crisis that is aggravating BiH, informing her colleague in detail about the latest developments about the situation of migrants.
“We are pleased with the recent messages and moves from senior EU officials who increasingly understand the seriousness of the situation and share our views on resolving the crisis. Our position is that the EU involvement should be strengthened in resolving this issue and that it is not fair that only two cantons in the Federation of BiH bear the burden of the entire migrant crisis. “Therefore, I reiterate my position that the burden of the crisis should be spread throughout the country and that our border should be strengthened as soon as possible in such a way that migrants are not able to enter,” Turkovi tha said.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that, during the talks, the need to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields was stressed. In addition to political dialogue, he said, they discussed increasing economic co-operation in other areas, particularly in culture and education.
Dendias underlined support for three hospitals in BiH; General Hospital, “Prim. dr. Abdulah Nakaš ”Sarajevo and the University Clinical Center of Republika Srpska in Banja Luka each, in the amount of 50 thousand euros each, while 30 thousand euros were allocated for the Clinical Hospital in Mostar.
“Greece constantly supports and is committed to all the countries of the Western Balkans joining the EU family. Greece did it about 40 years ago and we hope the whole Western Balkans will follow suit. “We hope to be able to support BiH and the Western Balkans region not only at the state level, but also the EU as a whole,” Dendias said.
Finally, according to the Greek Minister, they discussed regional development and the need for good neighborly relations based on the principle of law.
“Greece and BiH share the same approach to strengthening our relations,” concluded Minister Dendias, who invited Minister Turković on a return visit.
Dendias also met with members of the BiH Presidency.