Minister Cowen to visit the Western Balkans
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., will make a four-day visit to the Western Balkans, from 12 to 16 May, as part of the preparations for Ireland's EU Presidency in the first half of 2004. Developments in the Western Balkans will continue to be an important foreign policy priority for the European Union throughout the Presidency.
On 12 May, Minister Cowen will hold meetings in Belgrade and Podgorica with the President of the new state union of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic and the Foreign Minister, Goran Svilanovic. He will also hold meetings with the Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Zivkovic, who was appointed following the assassination of Prime Minister Djindjic in March, and with the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukaovic.
On 13 May, he will travel to Sarajevo for meetings with the three members of the collective Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic and with the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown.
On 14 May, the Minister will visit Kosovo for meetings with the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Michael Steiner, with President Ibrahim Rugova and with Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi. He will also visit the Irish army contingent serving with the KFOR international peace-keeping force in Kosovo.
Minister Cowen will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 15 May, for discussions with President Trajkovski and Prime Minister Crvenkovski and with Foreign Minsiter Ilinka Mitreva.