Greek foreign minister meets ethnic Albanian and Serbian officials

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will meet ethnic Albanian and Serbian officials to discuss the future of Kosovo, the ministry announced Wednesday. Starting Thursday, Bakoyannis will visit Sarajevo , Bosnia - Herzegovina , Kosovo's capital Pristina and Belgrade , Serbia before traveling to Vienna to meet Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. envoy for Kosovo talks.

At talks in Vienna , Kosovo's ethnic Albanians are demanding full independence from Serbia but Belgrade is seeking to maintain at least some control over the province. Kosovo has been a de facto U.N. protectorate since the end of the war there in 1999.

" Greece has an important role to play in the Balkans ... It's our obligation to do what we can to support stability in the region," Bakoyannis said. Bakoyannis was appointed foreign minister after a Cabinet reshuffle by Greece 's conservative government two weeks ago.

Also Wednesday, Bakoyannis said she was optimistic that stalled United Nations-brokered talks could resume toward finding a solution for war-divided Cyprus . President Tassos Papadopoulos, the Greek Cypriot leader, met U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Paris Tuesday and telephoned Bakoyannis Wednesday. Annan and Papadopoulos agreed that preliminary talks on "technical issues" could resume with the aim of restarting full negotiations at a later date. "The developments are very positive," Bakoyannis said, reports the AP.


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