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Opening Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs, N. Kotzias, at the 2nd Ministerial Meeting between Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Thessaloniki, 05.10.2017)
Good morning. We now continue with the second meeting of the four countries of the South as I call it, of southeastern Europe.
Yesterday we had a very interesting discussion with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the other Ministers on the situation in the region, on the future of the region, both as regards the european prospects of the area, and as regards our collaboration. We spoke about the preparation of the next meeting and we exchanged views on the topics that we will be discussing during lunch.
This morning we have two sessions. The first concerns matters of security; citizens’ security and cross border collaboration, as well as new issues, such as fire fighting and fire safety, because in the summer we witnessed the need for collaboration between our countries, in order to combat large fires. As you are aware, fires know no borders. They are globalised phenomena that exceed borders, which require collaboration in firefighting efforts.
In the third session we will be discussing issues related to energy. These are issues of great significance to us all. Our region is very central for future energy pipelines.
In general, I would like to thank all the Ministers from all four countries for coming here, for attending this meeting. We all agreed that this collaboration is beneficial to everyone. These are meetings where we share with great sincerity our thoughts for the future, and discuss issues that need to be resolved and clarified. And this is also an element of our overall policy, namely the building of great schemes of cooperation throughout the region, both in Southeastern Europe and in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean.
I take this opportunity to remind you that on the evening of 29th October, and mainly on the 30th, we will be holding the 2nd International Meeting for the Protection of Religious and Cultural Communities in the Middle East, who are the great victims of the wars taking place there. And my colleagues from the other three countries are welcome to attend that meeting also. They have an open invitation. And they have also been invited to the third Rhodes Conference on Security and Stability, to take place in the last week of June of 2018. This demonstrates that our cooperation is not only taking place on a bilateral or a european level, but is multifaceted, covering many aspects of multilateral diplomacy.
Thank you, once again, for attending. Welcome to you all. Thanks to all my colleagues for their cooperation and to all the delegations here. And a good morning to the press.