Diplomatic Diary: Azerbaijan, Greece aim to boost relations


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is in Greece. Also in diplomatic news: Turkey has named an ambassador to Kosovo, and Portugal and Serbia signed a defence co-operation agreement.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reviews a Greek honour guard during a welcoming ceremony in Athens on Monday (February 16th). [Getty Images]

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Athens on Monday (February 16th) for a three-day official visit. Aliyev will meet with Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and other senior officials. Talks will focus on issues related to transporting Azerbaijani gas to Greece and ways to further boost bilateral relations.


Bosnian and Herzegovinian (BiH) Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj met with Croatian counterpart Gordan Jandrokovic on Monday (February 16th) in Zagreb. Both agreed they want to further develop their countries' relations. Jandrokovic stressed that Croatia supports BiH on its road to the EU and NATO and will use its accumulated experience to help its neighbour.


Metin Husrev Unler will be the first Turkish ambassador to Kosovo. Unler is the former deputy head of the directorate general for multilateral political affairs at the Turkish foreign ministry. Until now, Turkey had representation on a charge d'affaires level in Kosovo. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo's independence.


Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac met with Portuguese counterpart Nuno Severiano Teixeira on Friday (February 13th) in Belgrade. Regarding his country's NATO bid, "The aim is to win over as many countries as possible to represent Serbia's interests in NATO," said Sutanovac, after signing an agreement on defence co-operation with Teixeira.


Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu arrived on Monday (February 16th) for a two-day official visit to France. Diaconescu will meet French counterpart Bernard Kouchner to discuss European, regional and international issues of common interest, including topics related to the global economic and energy crisis.


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Albanian Ambassador to Macedonia Vladimir Prela passed away from a heart attack on Saturday (February 14th), media reported on Sunday. Prela became ambassador to Macedonia in 2002 but continued to serve after his term ended while awaiting the appointment of his successor. In 1999, Prela became the first Albanian ambassador to what was then the Serb republic of Kosovo.


Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski met on Tuesday (February 10th) with Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov and Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski during an official visit to Sofia. They focused on the implementation of Pan-European Transport Corridor 8 and co-operation between the two countries in the field of energy. Parvanov also expressed Bulgaria's support for Macedonia's EU and NATO integration.

(Various sources -- 10/02/09-17/02/09)

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