Athens sees role in Kosovo talks

Greece is prepared to play a special mediatory role in the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said during a visit to Pristina on Saturday, although he evaded questions about whether Athens is ready to recognize the breakaway province as an independent state. «I believe that Greece has a special role in the talks between Pristina and Belgrade,» said Droutsas at a joint news conference with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. «We are part of the region and we think that we can play this role, taking into consideration the consequences and responsibilities.» Droutsas stressed the good personal relationship that Prime Minister George Papandreou has with both Thaci and Serbian President Boris Tadic. Last month, the International Court of Justice ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia did not violate international law. Greece is not one of the 69 countries that recognizes Kosovo. «The important thing is that all the member states of the [European] Union agree on a very important thing, that this region has clear European prospects and that the future of the entire region lies within Europe,» Droutsas said in response to a question about the issue of recognition. Following Droutsas’s visit, Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said the «time has come» for Greece to recognize Kosovo.