Diplomatic Diary: NATO chief makes last visit to Bucharest


NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made a historic visit to Romania. Also in diplomatic news: Greece and Cyprus backed Turkey's EU bid, and Macedonia will send a new ambassador to Serbia.

Outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made a final visit to Romania. [Gabriel Petrescu]

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was in Bucharest on Thursday (April 23rd) and Friday on a last visit to Romania before his mandate ends on July 31st. The visit marked the 60th anniversary of NATO's founding and the fifth anniversary of Romania's entry into the Alliance. De Hoop Scheffer and Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu met on Friday to discuss Black Sea and Western Balkan issues.


Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis urged Turkey on Thursday (April 23rd) to change its policies towards Cyprus and play a key role in helping reunify the divided island. In Nicosia, Karamanlis and Cypriot President Demetris Christofias voiced their support for Turkey's EU accession but said that Ankara should fulfil its commitments before joining the bloc.


Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt pledged on Tuesday (April 28th) his country's full support for Turkey's EU accession process. "Turkey belongs to Europe," Reinfeldt said during an official visit. Later, Reinfeldt held talks with counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on <b>Greece</b> and Macedonia to reach an "acceptable solution" to their name dispute, media reported on Thursday (April 23rd). Clinton encouraged the countries to overcome their differences to allow for unblocking Macedonia's NATO bid. Clinton also said Washington will keep discussing the issue with its NATO and EU partners.


<b>Macedonia</b> will send Ljubisa Georgievski to Serbia next month as its ambassador, local media reported on Monday (April 27th). Serbia expelled the last Macedonian envoy to Belgrade, Alexander Vasilevski, in October following Skopje's recognition of <b>Kosovo</b>'s independence.


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Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday (April 28th) as part of his official visit to Russia. Experts speculate the meeting's one-day postponement signifies Bulgarian-Russian discord on the South Stream project. Sofia wants a new pipeline built rather than grant Russia access to Bulgaria's natural-gas pipeline network.


Greece and Albania signed an agreement Monday (April 27th) on the delimitation of their maritime space and continental shelf in the Ionian Sea. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and visiting Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis described the agreement as "particularly significant". Karamanlis pledged Greece's full support for Albania's EU bid and congratulated Berisha over his country's recent NATO accession

(Various sources -- 21/04/09-28/04/09)

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