Friday, September 18, 2020

Spain may recognize Kosovo...

SManalysis: 2008-01-20

Spain would be ready to recognize Kosovo if it reaches an agreement with Serbia.


This was reported by the Brussels portal EU Observer, referring to unnamed sources in the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry reminds that Spain did not recognize Kosovo because it considered that the unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 was "contrary to the rule of law, but it believed in the inevitability of an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia," TV Prva reported.

The EU Observer also states that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia did not answer the question of their current position, but that, if Spain changes its mind, other EU countries would follow its example, in case an agreement is reached between Serbia and Kosovo.

It should be reminded that Spanish officials have repeatedly stated that they oppose the recognition of Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence, because such a decision could imply a similar scenario with Spanish Catalonia, where the aspiration for secession has been growing for years.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, French Media report


by GCT
France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, French Media report

France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, so that the country can face the current challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, French media have reported.

According to the media, the issue was discussed during a telephone conversation between Greece’s Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and his French counterpart Florence Parly.

The reports refer to two French FREMM frigates, built respectively as “Alsace” and “Lorraine” in 2019. They are currently in the final stage of testing and have state-of-the-art area air defence systems. The frigates can also reach a maximum speed of 27 knots.

Further, the two ministers also discussed the 18 French Rafale that Greece will be getting as well as the doctrine of defence assistance, which provides for military support from one country to another in the event of military involvement.

The reports have not been confirmed by the Ministry of Defence.

It is recalled Greece’s Finance Minister Christos Staikouras last week said that the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves to support its armed forces. “The Prime Minister’s mandate is to reduce taxes as much as possible, to be close to the lower classes and to strengthen the the armed forces’ prevention force,” Staikouras said during an interview with Alpha TV.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will travel to French Mediterranean island of Corsica on Thursday at the invitation of French President Emanuel Macron.

According to government sources, they will discuss the broader framework of Greek-French cooperation. It is considered very likely that the agreement on the sale of French weapons (Rafale aircraft and more) will be finalized in the conversation between the two leaders.

The French leader seems to aspire to play a leading role in European affairs and has become Greece’s warmest ally, while also being one of the toughest critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


Contacted by Naval News, the French Ministry of Armed Forces replied: “The Ministry of the Armed Forces has no plans to lease the last two units of the FREMM series to Greece.”

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Donald Trump hopes for election boost from Kosovo-Serbia talks

Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, and Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić
Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, and Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić

White House summit irritates EU diplomats, who say deal brokered by them is near

Shaun Walker Central and eastern Europe correspondent

Thu 3 Sep 2020 The Guardian

The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia will meet at the White House on Thursday and Friday, in an encounter that some see as a push for a diplomatic win for Donald Trump to brandish during his re-election campaign.

Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, will meet with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, in talks that Trump aides say will be primarily about economic issues between the two countries, but may pave the way to a broader deal.

The goal of the talks is “to create economic development that will then somehow change the dynamic amongst the political class”, said a senior adviser to Trump in a call with reporters earlier in the week. The adviser said it was not yet clear whether Trump would take part in the meetings – suggesting he would only meet the two leaders if there is a deal to be signed.

Kosovo broke from Serbia after a war and Nato bombing campaign, and declared independence in 2008, but the two sides have no relations.

The White House diplomatic push, led by the Trump loyalist Richard Grenell, has irritated some European diplomats, who say the EU’s long-running mediation process should be given priority.

It has also prompted fears that a land swap could be on the table as part of the deal, which many believe would have knock-on effects in other parts of the Balkans. Grenell has long denied that a land swap is under consideration.

Grenell, who has courted controversy as Trump’s ambassador to Germany and then as acting director of national intelligence, has also attracted criticism for his negotiation tactics. In April, Kosovo’s ousted prime minister Albin Kurti accused Grenell of mounting a coup to overthrow him so he could present Trump with a diplomatic success in an election year. “My government was not overthrown for anything else but simply because Ambassador Grenell was in a hurry to sign an agreement with Serbia,” said Kurti.

A meeting at the White House planned in late June fell apart at the last minute after prosecutors at a court in The Hague announced they had filed a draft indictment against Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaçi. The statement was released as Thaçi was already en route to Washington.

Now, two months before the US election, the meeting will finally take place, with the emphasis on economic progress.

“We can either sit around and continue talking about political issues that get us nowhere, or we can do something that President Trump thinks might work, and we’re going to test it to see if it works,” said the Trump adviser.

The EU-brokered talks were on hold for two years after Kosovo imposed import tariffs on Serbian goods, but have recently resumed. Meetings in Brussels, including expert dialogue and top-level discussions, are planned for next week.

The EU envoy for Kosovo-Serbia talks, Miroslav Lajčak, has said an EU-brokered deal to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina could be ready soon.

“Let’s see how much time we need, but I am speaking about months, I am not speaking about years,” he said at a forum in Slovenia this week. “Both parties are committed, both parties are serious, respecting each other.”

CIA report 1994: The Albanian government is favoring ethnic groups of Albanians from the north, to concentrate in the areas where ethnic Greeks live, a clash that could cost the economic and political stability of Albania ...


In the declassified CIA report, 1994, "ALBANIA'S GREEK MINORITY: POTENTIAL FOR TROUBLE", the CIA analysis states that "there is a strong tendency for the Albanian government to use ethnic Albanian groups to be installed in the south, in areas inhabited by ethnic Greeks, a precedent which could destabilize the whole territory, due to the greed of economic zones and the upset of ethnic balances.

But although the year 1997 Civil War, divided Albania in two, leaving behind about 6 thousand killed, the occupation of economic areas where ethnic Greeks live, especially on the Ionian coast, Vlora - Himara - Saranda - Ksamil, today has brought over population Muslim and Catholic Albanians from the north of Albania, which clearly shows a disturbance of ethnic balances which could cost dearly the political stability of Albania ,,,

During the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1997, a wave of ethnic Muslim Albanian refugees from Kosovo concentrated all the way to Vlora, but former Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou called on the Albanian government not to cross the "Red Line' to install Muslim Albanians in Greek territories. , like Himara or Saranda, .
Rama e Tsipras ranë dakord për pronat në bregdet - Tv Klan

In 2016, there was tension between two Albanian political leaders, Sali Berisha in opposition and Prime Minister Edi Rama, who accused each other of carrying out mass displacement of Albanians to the south of the country. The accusations have recently focused on Parliament, prompting the Greek government to accuse the Albanian side of ethnic cleansing against the Greeks of Himara.

In the years after 1997, the influx of Albanians into the areas of ethnic Greeks has not ended. in 2016, The Greek press and the Tsipras Government accused Tirana government of carrying out ethnic cleansing, influencing with "legal initiatives for mass invasions of the Albanian population towards the historic Greek territories in the south, threatening to block the stabilization process of association with the EU.

Meanwhile, we are in the middle of 2020, the government of Albania has started a process of registration of property titles, which is concentrated in the first area, the Municipality of Himara. According to the official Albanian applications, about 8 thousand properties are to be registered by the ethnic Greeks of Himara (?), while about 8 thousand others are to be registered by Muslim Albanians, adding about 5 thousand properties in state administration, a breakdown of balance terrible a dangerous precedent for ethnic clashes with Albanians and Greeks. The Albanian government has favored Albanian oligarchs to build on properties looted but contested by ethnic Greeks in Himara, but this registration risks failing because the Greek Minority Organization Omonia and the Greek Goverment, will not recognize it.

It is a critical moment for Albania, while an inevitable conflict will be generated in the war between Turkey and Greece, due to the economic zones and the regulation of the national borders, which could erupt for the entire Balkans. The occupation of areas inhabited by ethnic Greeks by Muslim and Catholic Albanians, especially from Kosovo, is a precedent, as the CIA report points out, to destabilize Albania, a report which in the first phase of destabilization in 1997 led to a Civil War, while in the phase that we are experiencing today in 2020, towards the ethnic Greeks, especially in the Ionian coast Vlora - Himare - Saranda - Ksamil, is carrying out ethnic cleansing, occupation of lands with overcrowding of investments with Albanians.
In Albania, live about 300 thousand ethnic Greeks who are forced to live in both Greece and Albania due to the threat from Albanians to seize their lands, especially on the Ionian coast, while the conservative government of Mitsotakis, strangely opened the light green for the opening of Albania-EU negotiations in February 2020, just on the eve of ethnic tensions in Northern Epirus, in the hope that Tirana will recognize the decisions on the AOZ Maritime Economic Zones, with Greece. But this is unlikely to happen, while the situation of the Greeks in southern Albania is more alarming than ever, due to the massive occupation by Albanians, and the tendencies of the two governments to remain silent about this occupation.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Athens denies NATO statement that Greece and Turkey will begin talks


Athens has denied that Greece and Turkey will soon begin talks to de-escalate tensions in the East Mediterranean, according to Hellas Journal.

Hellas Journal reported that “the information that came to light about alleged technical talks in NATO do not correspond to reality, according to diplomatic sources in Athens.”

Only moments before the denial, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “the two Allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish deconfliction mechanisms and reduce the risk of incidents and accidents in the East Mediterranean.”

In a statement made in a link in the same tweet, Stoltenberg said that he believes the tensions can be relieved “in the spirit of NATO solidarity.”

“Greece and Turkey are valued Allies, and NATO is an important platform for consultations on all issues that affect our shared security. I remain in close touch with all concerned Allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of NATO solidarity,” he said.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Πρίστινα: Ο πρόεδρος του DUI, Αλί Αχμέτι, καταθέτει στους ανακριτές του Δικαστηρίου της Χάγης Αποστολή με μήνυμα ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου


Ο πρόεδρος του αλβανικού κόμματος στη Βόρεια Μακεδονία -  της Δημοκρατικής Ένωσης για Ενσωμάτωση (DUI), Αλί Αχμέτι

Σεπτέμβριος 2, 2020. ECHEDOROS

Ο πρόεδρος του αλβανικού κόμματος στη Βόρεια Μακεδονία -  της Δημοκρατικής Ένωσης για Ενσωμάτωση (DUI), Αλί Αχμέτι,  σήμερα στις εγκαταστάσεις της αποστολής της ΕΕ - της EULEX στην Πρίστινα, κατέθεσε ενώπιον των ανακριτών της Ειδικής Εισαγγελίας για Εγκλήματα Πολέμου στο Κοσσυφοπέδιο.

Σύμφωνα με το Euronews Albania, ο Αχμέτι έφτασε στις εγκαταστάσεις της EULEX μετά τις εννέα το πρωί.

 Η ανάκριση πραγματοποιείται στην Πρίστινα, και όχι στη Χάγη, όπου βρίσκεται η Ειδική Εισαγγελία, η οποία λειτουργεί εκεί για πρακτικούς λόγους,  όταν οι καλεσμένοι μάρτυρες δεν μπορούν να ταξιδέψουν στις Κάτω Χώρες.

Ο Αλί Αχμέτι, ολοκλήρωσε μετά από οκτώ ώρες τη συνέντευξη από εξειδικευμένους εισαγγελείς στο Κοσσυφοπέδιο σχετικά με τον πόλεμο του «Απελευθερωτικού Στρατού του Κοσσυφοπεδίου»- UÇK.

Στο κτίριο της  EULEX, το οποίο χρησιμοποιείται ως χώρος για ανάκριση σε όσους προσκαλούνται από το ειδικό δικαστήριο και δεν μπορούν να ταξιδέψουν στη Χάγη, ο Αχμέτι μπήκε στις 09:30 το πρωί και έφυγε στις 17:30 το απόγευμα.

Η ανταποκρίτρια του 'Euronews Albania',  Εριόνε Ποπόβα [Erjonë Popova] αναφέρει από το Κοσσυφοπέδιο ότι η ανάκριση του αναμένεται να συνεχιστεί την επόμενη μέρα, τις πρώτες ώρες του πρωινού.

Ο αρχηγός του DUI Αλί Αχμέτι είναι ένας από τους ιδρυτές του Απελευθερωτικού Στρατού του Κοσσυφοπεδίου (UÇK) και πρώην μέλος του Γενικού Επιτελείου, αλλά δεν υπήρξαν συγκεκριμένες κατηγορίες εναντίον του.

Ο Αλί Αχμέτι γεννήθηκε στις 4 Ιανουαρίου 1959 στο χωριό Ζαγιάζ στο Κίτσεβο της Βόρειας Μακεδονίας  και σπούδασε φιλοσοφία στην Πρίστινα. 

Στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1980 ασχολήθηκε με φοιτητικές διαμαρτυρίες, οι οποίες τότε έδειχναν ανοιχτή αντίθεση στις γιουγκοσλαβικές πολιτικές κατά του αλβανικού πληθυσμού στο Κοσσυφοπέδιο. Για την πολιτική του δραστηριότητα συνελήφθη και καταδικάστηκε σε φυλάκιση 1 έτους.

Στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1990 ήταν ένας από τους ηγέτες που δημιούργησαν το UÇK  ως στρατιωτικό σχηματισμό, το οποίο το 2000, μετά την απόσπαση του Κοσσυφοπεδίου από τη Σερβία, αυτός και άλλοι ηγέτες ενταγμένοι στον «Εθνικό Απελευθερωτικό Στρατό» επέκτειναν τη δραστηριότητά του στην επικράτεια της Βόρειας Μακεδονίας.

Monday, August 31, 2020


Is Macedonia on the Brink of Another Ethnic Conflict?

Είναι υπερβολή να μιλούμε για «αλβανοποίηση» της πολιτικής ζωής και των θεσμών στο κράτος των Σκοπίων; Μετά τις πρόσφατες βουλευτικές εκλογές, όχι. Η αλβανική κοινότητα, η οποία επισήμως αποτελεί το 25% – και ανεπισήμως το 30% λόγω υψηλής γεννητικότητος- σε μία χώρα με 2,1 εκατομμύρια κατοίκους, καταλαμβάνει πολλές και σημαντικές θέσεις – κλειδιά. Θυμίζω ότι ο Ζόραν Ζάεφ του Σοσιαλδημοκρατικού Κόμματος ανέλαβε την Πρωθυπουργία χωρίς να έχει την απόλυτη πλειοψηφία. Στην κυβέρνησή του μετέχουν δύο αλβανικά κόμματα. Οι Αλβανοί θα ορίσουν Πρόεδρο της Βουλής, Υπουργό Εξωτερικών, Υπουργό Οικονομικών και στις τελευταίες 100 ημέρες προ των εκλογών θα ορίσουν και τον Πρωθυπουργό. Έτσι υλοποιείται η υπόσχεση του Αλβανού πολιτικού Αλί Αχμέτι για Αλβανό Πρωθυπουργό στο γειτονικό μας πολυεθνικό κράτος.

Θυμίζω ότι ήδη από τα προηγούμενα χρόνια η αλβανική μειονότητα έχει κερδίσει την ισοτιμία της αλβανικής γλώσσας με τη σλαβική των Σκοπίων (αυτή που κακώς αναγνωρίζει ως «μακεδονική» η Συμφωνία των Πρεσπών). Θυμίζω επίσης ότι από το 1991, οπότε ανακηρύχθηκε ανεξάρτητο το κράτος αυτό, μέχρι και σήμερα η αλβανική μειονότητα έχει διεκδικήσει ακόμη και με τα όπλα την ενίσχυση των δικαιωμάτων της.

Τι σημαίνει για τα ελληνικά εθνικά συμφέροντα η αλβανοποίηση των Σκοπίων;

Ενθαρρύνεται ή μάλλον αποθρασύνεται ο αλβανικός εθνικισμός. Ήδη γίνονται συζητήσεις για την ενοποίηση Αλβανίας και Κοσσυφοπεδίου κάτω από το έμβλημα του αετού της Μεγάλης (ή Φυσικής) Αλβανίας. Οι Αλβανοί διανοούμενοι προτιμούν τον όρο Φυσική Αλβανία, διότι θεωρούν ότι τα φυσικά σύνορα του αλβανικού έθνους περιέχουν εδάφη πέραν της σημερινής Αλβανίας. Ο αλβανικός εθνικιστικός άνεμος θα πιέσει την Ελλάδα με μοχλό το τεχνητό ζήτημα των Τσάμηδων- απογόνων των συνεργατών των Ναζί και εις βάρος των Βορειοηπειρωτών. Στην κεντρική πλατεία των Τιράνων ο Πρωθυπουργός Ράμα τοποθέτησε συμβολικά και μία πέτρα από την ελληνική Θεσπρωτία, την οποία η αλβανική κυβέρνηση αποκαλεί Τσαμουριά.

Ενισχύεται ή ήδη υπαρκτή τουρκική επιρροή στα Σκόπια. Οι υποστηρικτές της εθνικώς επιζήμιας Συμφωνίας των Πρεσπών διακήρυτταν ότι …κατόρθωσαν να απομακρύνουν την τουρκική επιρροή. Κάτι τέτοιο βεβαίως δεν έγινε, όπως διαπιστώνουμε και από τη συμμετοχή των Σκοπιανών βουλευτών κάθε χρόνο στις εκδηλώσεις του Τουρκοκυπριακού ψευδοκράτους για την εισβολή του 1974. Τώρα, με την παρουσία Αλβανών πολιτικών σε καίριες θέσεις, η Τουρκία αυξάνει την επιρροή της στα Σκόπια.

Το ερώτημα είναι αν και πού θα σταματήσουν οι Αλβανοί τώρα που τους άνοιξε η όρεξη. Τι άλλο θα διεκδικήσουν; Το Κοσσυφοπέδιο- Κόσσοβο είναι δίπλα και αποτελεί κίνητρο για μελλοντική ένωση όλων των εδαφών που θεωρούνται «αλβανικά». Με απλά λόγια: Θα αποσχισθούν από τα Σκόπια οι δυτικές περιοχές με τον αλβανικό πληθυσμό και τις αλβανικές σημαίες, που ήδη κυματίζουν σε δημαρχεία και πανεπιστήμια; Η Ελλάς πρέπει να είναι έτοιμη να αντιμετωπίσει τέτοια διαλυτικά φαινόμενα στη γειτονιά της.

Η αλβανοποίηση οδηγεί λόγω φόβου σε μία αμυντική βουλγαροποίηση του σλαβικού στοιχείου. Πολλοί από τους λεγόμενους «Μακεδόνες» ανακαλύπτουν ότι οι γονείς τους ήταν Βούλγαροι και μακεδονοποιήθηκαν δια της βίας από το κομμουνιστικό καθεστώς του Τίτο. Χαρακτηριστικό παράδειγμα ο πρώην Πρωθυπουργός των Σκοπίων Λιούπτσο Γκεοργκίεφσκι, ο οποίος τώρα δηλώνει Βούλγαρος και τον ακολουθούν δεκάδες χιλιάδες Σκοπιανών. Για την Ελλάδα η επιρροή του βουλγαρικού εθνικισμού στους Σλάβους των Σκοπίων ανακαλεί μνήμες της φονικής συγκρούσεως μεταξύ Βουλγάρων κομιτατζήδων του ΒΜΡΟ και ελληνικών ενόπλων ομάδων στη διάρκεια του Μακεδονικού Αγώνος (κυρίως 1903-1908). Η επίσημη βουλγαρική θέση είναι ότι η ιστορία και η γλώσσα του σλαβικού στοιχείου των Σκοπίων αποτελούν τμήμα της βουλγαρικής ιστορικής, εθνολογικής και γλωσσικής παράδοσης.

Καντονοποίηση: Μήπως τελικά αυτή θα είναι η μέση λύση για να αποφευχθεί η διάσπαση του πολυεθνικού κράτους; Ομοσπονδιακή δομή με ένα αλβανικό καντόνιο στα δυτικά, ένα βουλγαρικό στα ανατολικά, ένα μικρό σερβικό στον βορρά, κάποιο άλλο για όσους επιμένουν να δηλώνουν «Μακεδόνες» κ.λπ. Αυτή είναι η προσωπική μου πρόβλεψη για τα αμέσως επόμενα χρόνια. Τότε, όμως, θα τεθεί το ερώτημα: Αν οι αυτοαποκαλούμενοι «Μακεδόνες» αποτελέσουν ένα από τα 4-5 καντόνια σε μία ομοσπονδιακή χώρα, με ποιο δικαίωμα θα επιβάλλουν το όνομά τους σε όλη τη χώρα; Θα ανοίξει νέα συζήτηση για το όνομα του κράτους καταδεικνύοντας ότι η Συμφωνία των Πρεσπών δεν έλυσε κανένα ουσιαστικό πρόβλημα.

Ας παρατηρήσουμε προσεκτικά την προϊούσα αλβανοποίηση των Σκοπίων.

Άρθρο στην ιστοσελίδα, 30.8.2020


Election in Montenegro: Opposition parties jointly win a tight majority of seats


By EWB - 30.08.2020
Parliament of Montenegro; Photo: Parliament of Montenegro
PODGORICA – According to the 89% of the data in the sample of Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), three opposition coalitions have won 42 out of 81 seats in the Assembly of Montenegro. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) has achieved the worst result in its history and could relinquish power for the first time since the establishment of the multi-party system in 1990.

President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, who is also the leader of DPS, remains in office regardless of the result, with his mandate expiring in 2023.

According to CeMI, DPS has won 34,8% of the vote and 29 seats, 7 less than in 2016. The coalition around the Democratic Front, “For the Future of Montenegro”, is closely behind with 32,7% and 28 seats.

In order to form a ruling majority, the Democratic Front, which is mainly representing ethnic Serbs and Serbian Orthodox population in Montenegro, will have to reach a coalition agreement with a pro-EU Democratic Montenegro, which has won 10 seats, as well as progressive URA movement, which has won 4 seats, according to the projections.

Coalition partners of DPS, the Social Democrats, are projected to win 3 seats, while the Bosniak and Albanian minority parties, which also support the current government, are expected to have 5 seats altogether.

The Social Democratic Party, which was a coalition partner of DPS until 2016, is projected by CeMI to win 2 MPs. Even with their support, a possible coalition around DSP currently has 39 seats, two short of a majority. Coalitions around the Democratic Front, Democratic Montenegro and URA have excluded post-election cooperation with DPS.

If a government is formed without DPS, it would be the first such case in 30 years. MP Slaven Radunović, a member of the Democratic Front, announced that the “Berlin Wall has finally fallen in Montenegro”, referring to the fact that DPS is a successor party of the Yugoslav Communists in Montenegro.

The turnout was high, with 75% of the voters going to the polls, 3 points more than in 2016 and 11 points more than at 2018 presidential election.

Montenegro has been experiencing a political turmoil ever since December last year, when DPS majority adopted a controversial Law on Religion, fiercely opposed by the Serbian Orthodox Church, which invited its members to vote against DPS. The coalition around Democratic Front seems to have profited the most from the polarisation caused by the Law.

DPS has also experienced serious anti-corruption protests in 2019.

CeMI and Center for Democratic Transition, which have monitored the election day, have reported a number of irregularities.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Φράνκος Φραγκούλης, μήνυμα προς Έλληνες πολιτικούς από το Όρος Γκράμοζ: "Ενώστε την Ελεύθερη Ήπειρο με τη σκλαβωμένη Βόρεια Ήπειρο"



Πρώην Αρχηγός  του Ελληνικού Στρατού και πρώην Υπουργός Άμυνας Φράνκος Φραγκούλης, μήνυμα προς Έλληνες πολιτικούς από το Όρος Γκράμοζ: "Ενώστε την Ελεύθερη Ήπειρο με τη σκλαβωμένη Βόρεια Ήπειρο"

 Θυρανοίξια Εκκλησιας της Παναγίας Γοργουπηκόου στο ύψωμα 2.199 του Γράμμου

. Ηλίας Μάκος
Με μια σεμνή τελετή έγιναν το Σάββατο 29 Αυγούστου 2020 τα θυρανοίξια της Εκκλησίας Παναγίας Γοργοϋπηκόου, στο ύψωμα 2.199 του Γράμμου, από τον Σεβ. Μητροπολίτη Κονίτσης κ. Ανδρέα.
Νωρίτερα ο Σεβασμιώτατος τέλεσε τρισάγιο στο παρακείμενο μνημείο για τους πεσόντες μαχητές του Ελληνικού Στρατού την περίοδο 1946-1949, ενώ στο ναό τελέστηκε μνημόσυνο για την ανάπαυση των ψυχών τους.
Η εκκλησία της Παναγίας Γοργοϋπηκόου ανεγέρθηκε σε σύντομο χρονικό διάστημα με πρωτοβουλία του Στρατηγού ε.α. και πρώην Αρχηγού ΓΕΣ και πρώην υπουργού Εθνικής Αμύνης Φράγκου Φραγκούλη, ο οποίος ανταποκρίθηκε σε σχετικό αίτημα του Μητροπολίτου Ανδρέου.
Συνέβαλαν και ο ιερομόναχος Αθανάσιος Μετεωρίτης, καθώς και άλλοι δωρητές, παρακινούμενοι από το Φράγκο Φραγκούλη για την εκπλήρωση του τάματος.
Ο κ. Φράγκος, ο οποίος ήταν παρών στα θυρανοίξια, καθώς και δεκάδες άτομα, τόνισε ότι "παρακαλούμε η Παναγία να μας έχει υπό τη σκέπη της τις δύσκολες αυτές στιγμές, που περνάει το Έθνος μας".
Και πρόσθεσε: "Εμείς δεν φοβόμαστε,οι Ένοπλες δυνάμεις της Χώρας είναι ισχυρές, αρκεί οι πολιτικοί να μην ακολουθούν τακτική κατευνασμού και να έχουν φοβικό σύνδρομο".
Σε επιστολή του, που αναγνώστηκε στη λιτή εκδήλωση, προς τον Φράγκο Φραγούλη ο Μητροπολίτης Κονίτσης Ανδρέας, αναφέρει, μεταξύ άλλων, αφού τον ευχαριστεί, ότι στην ανέγερση της εκκλησίας αυτής και στον εξοπλισμό του με όλα τα χρειώδη, συνετέλεσε "η ευγνωμοσύνη σας προς τους ηρωικούς αγώνες του στρατού και της αεροπορίας μας ώστε να παραμείνει η πατρίδα μας ελεύθερη και αδούλωτη από την τυραννία".

Ο πέτρινος αυτός ναός με εικονογραφίες αγίων κατά κύριο λόγω στρατιωτικών ή σχετιζόμενων με το στρατό ως προστάτες του (όπως ο όσιος Παΐσιος ο ασυρματιστής), που φιλοτεχνήθηκαν από τη γυναικεία αδελφότητα της Μονής Αγίου Στεφάνου Μετεώρων, αποτελεί ένα μικρό κομψοτέχνημα.
Να σημειωθεί ότι στην κορυφή του Γράμμου, σε ύψος 2.520 μ., στρατιώτες έχτισαν, το 1948, ένα εκκλησάκι αφιερωμένο στην Παναγία, στην Υπέρμαχο Στρατηγό του Έθνους, ως αφιέρωμα τιμής για την προστασία της, αλλά και ως ορμητήριο πνευματικών ανατάσεων την ώρα των μαχών.
Αυτό το εκκλησάκι έγινε ερείπια, σωριασμένες πέτρες, λόγω της εγκατάλειψης και της αδιαφορίας.
Στη θέση του, όχι στο ίδιο σημείο, αλλά χαμηλότερα ήρθε να υψωθεί ένα νέο παρεκκλήσι της Παναγίας, αφού προηγουμένως αποκαταστάθηκε ο δρόμος προς το μνημείο, που τα προηγούμενα χρόνια ήταν σχεδόν απροσπέλαστος.
Για να θυμίζει στους προσκυνητές των αιματοπότιστων και αιματοβαμμένων εδαφών την υποχρέωση όλων μας να υπερασπιζόμαστε την Ελλάδα και την Ορθοδοξία με θάρρος και παρρησία.
Η προσευχή προς την Παναγία, μέσα και σ' αυτό το ταπεινό εκκλησάκι εκεί ψηλά στο Γράμμο, ας είναι μια παράκληση προς τη Θεοτόκο ο ίλιγγος της διχόνοιας να μη ζαλίζει το νου, να καταλαγιάσει η σκόνη, που κατά καιρούς σηκώνεται, και δεν μας αφήνει να δούμε το φως και η ζωή μας να είναι καθαρή και όχι βουτηγμένη στα κάθε είδους πάθη.
Δείτε τα βίντεο:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Greek DM tells NATO that Greece’s equal standing with Turkey is “not acceptable”


It has been a busy day for Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos who informed the European Union’s Defense Ministers and NATO’s head about the current situation with Turkey in the East Mediterranean.

“At the Informal Meeting of the EU Defense Ministers, I informed my counterparts extensively, the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and Deputy Secretary General of the UN Jean – Pierre Lacroix, on the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the provocative actions by Turkey in an area of ​​the Greek continental shelf,” Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Twitter.

However, in speaking with Stoltenberg, Panagiotopoulos did not shy away from telling the NATO head that the Alliance’s equal treatment of Greece and Turkey, in spite of the latter’s war mongering and provocations, is not “acceptable.”

“NATO’s policy of equal distances is detrimental to our country, but also to the cohesion of the Alliance, and therefore is not acceptable,” Panagiotopoulos told Stoltenberg.

The Minister of National Defense participated in the Informal Meeting of the Ministers of Defense of the European Union that took place today in Berlin. He briefed his counterparts, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, about the latest developments in the East Mediterranean following provocative actions by Turkey.

During the first Working Session, Panagiotopoulos pointed out the challenges of security and stability in the East Mediterranean from Turkey’s delinquent behavior within the Greek continental shelf. He stressed that Turkey’s general stance and its destabilizing illegal actions in the East Mediterranean constitute a blatant violation of Greece’s sovereign rights and pose the risk of escalating tensions in the region.

The Minister also made it clear to his counterparts that Greece, with absolute respect for international law, consistently faces the current challenge and fully defends its national sovereignty and the external borders of the EU, highlighting the important and difficult task of the Greek Armed Forces. However, he also stressed the European Union’s commitment to maximum vigilance and its role in order to restore the environment of peace, security and stability in the region.

During the discussion on EU co-operation with partners in the operational part of the Common Security and Defense Policy, Panagiotopoulos particularly noted that cooperation with third countries must presuppose that the latter share the principles and values ​​of the Union while acknowledging the consistently positive and constructive EU cooperation.

On the other issues on the agenda, the Minister of National Defense emphasized the support of Greece in processes, such as the strategic compass aimed at developing a strategic culture within the Union, in order for it to be able to take autonomous action where circumstances require it.

During the working dinner that followed, he did not fail to mention the importance of maintaining the resilience of the EU in the face of multiple challenges that lurk in the present period, attaching particular importance to the demonstration of solidarity and readiness.

Turkish FM makes threats to Greece during joint statements with German ally

Turkish FM makes threats to Greece during joint statements with German ally (VIDEO) 2

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu threatened Greece with use of force and said Turkey’s response will not be an accidental one, but a direct action with no hesitation.

The remarks were delivered in a joint presser with visiting Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who attempted to mediate by just calling for dialogue despite his Turkish ally directly threatening Greece next to him.

“I want to make the following recommendation to Greece. Give up on being bratty. You talk like this with unconditional and full EU support. When not received, you blame those EU countries as well. You have to understand that you will not get anywhere with this,” he said.

“Especially do not put yourself at risk by following the encouragement of some countries. In other words, if you make statements like ‘we will defend our rights here,’ or ‘we will do exercises there,’ or if you take the wrong steps, we will not have an accidental response this time,” Çavuşoğlu continued.

“Whatever is necessary, we do it without hesitation. So, do not get agitated, encouraged by these countries and act with common sense,” the Turkish Foreign Minister said.

“In order for Greece to behave more sane, the European Union and other countries should also warn Greece. So they should warn instead of unconditional support,” he said.

“Greece has already seen in recent meetings that they will not receive this unconditional support. In other words, if such messages continue to be given, then Greece will think healthier and take better steps. But these provocative steps do not help Greece at all,” Çavuşoğlu concluded in his speech given next to his German ally.

Germany has been a centuries long ally with the Turks and for this reason is completely unprepared to place sanctions on Turkey despite its constant threats against European Union member Greece and its daily violations of Greece’s air and maritime space.

Monday, August 24, 2020

We are on the verge of a military confrontation with Turkey: Greek MP

France sends forces into eastern Mediterranean to quell tensions between  Greece, Turkey | Fox News

At a time when the Greek government is trying to keep a low profile regarding Turkish delinquency in the Aegean in order to start, through German mediation, investigative contacts, Maximos Harakopoulos stressed in Parliament that Greece’s neighbour “have pushed us to the brink of military confrontation,” Documento News reported.

After the revelation of the Oruç Reis Turkish research vessel violating Greece’s maritime space and the resignation of the Greek Vice Admiral and former National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Alexandros Diakopoulos, the chairman of the Public Administration Committee, Maximos Harakopoulos, argued more or less that we are one step away from a military conflict with Turkey.

“Greece is facing a crescendo of Turkish challenges,” said the Member of Parliament that belongs to the ruling New Democracy party.

He added that this situation “has pushed us to the brink of military confrontation.”

According to Harakopoulos, Ankara has chosen a revisionist policy, which is subject to the neo-Ottoman proposals. He added that instead of international law, Turkey has adopted the law of power and conquest.

This is of course beyond doubt as Turkey refuses to resolve its manufactured crisis with Greece over maritime space by utilizing international law or institutions.

Turkey is one of 15 countries in the whole world to not sign and/or ratify the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea, and it is also one of the few countries in the whole world to not recognise the authority of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Both of these mechanisms could be used to resolve the maritime issue, but Turkey refuses to do this.

On August 12, things became tense when the Turkish Kemal Reis frigate that was escorting the Oruç Reis research ship collided with the Greek Limnos frigate which was monitoring the illegal movements of the Turkish fleet in Greeece’s continental shelf, as reported by Greek City Times.

The Limnos was watching the Oruç Reis from a safe distance. The Kemal Reis, considered one of the best ships in the Turkish Navy, estimated that the Greek warship was planning to obstruct the navigation of Oruç Reis.

The captain of the Greek frigate, Lieutenant Captain Saliaris, followed a steady course and continued the voyage to monitor the Turkish research vessel without changing direction. The Kemal Reis continued to approach the Greek warship.

When it was about 450 yards away from the Greek warship, the captain of the Turkish frigate had to according to international navigation rules give priority to the Greek frigate – but did not. The result was that the Greek frigate with its bow collided with the rear of the Turkish frigate through exceptional seamanship.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm?

Sailors standing on the deck of a warship at a parade during the Turkish International Ceremony at Mehmetcik Abidesi Martyrs Memorial near Seddulbahir Turkey on April 24, 2015.
The region’s powers and the West are facing off against Turkey—and Turkey is not going down without a fight.


Sailors standing on the deck of a warship at a parade during the Turkish International Ceremony at Mehmetcik Abidesi Martyrs Memorial near Seddulbahir Turkey on April 24, 2015.

Sailors standing on the deck of a warship at a parade during the Turkish International Ceremony at Mehmetcik Abidesi Martyrs Memorial near Seddulbahir Turkey on April 24, 2015. CARSTEN KOALL/GETTY IMAGES

In mid-August, a Turkish and a Greek warship collided in the Eastern Mediterranean, raising tensions in the most combustible naval stand-off the region has witnessed in 20 years. The crisis had started two days before, when Turkey deployed an energy exploration ship along with its naval escort to search for oil and natural gas in waters near the Greek island of Kastellorizo—waters Athens claims as its own maritime territory.

More than ever before, the latest cycle of escalation risks spiraling into a multinational conflict.  Making a show of staunch support for Greece against Turkey, France dispatched warships to the contested waters and promised more. Egypt and Israel, which hold regular joint military exercises with Greece, have also expressed their solidarity with Athens. With France and Egypt already in open conflict with Turkey in Libya, observers around the world fear that any further escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean could set off a Euro-Middle Eastern maelstrom.

How did the Eastern Mediterranean become the eye of a geopolitical storm?

For decades, Eastern Mediterranean maritime boundary disputes were a local affair, confined to sovereignty claims and counterclaims among Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. But over the past five years, the region’s offshore natural gas resources have turned the Eastern Mediterranean into a key strategic arena through which larger geopolitical fault-lines involving the EU and the MENA region converge. Italy and France have played integral roles in driving that change, which has placed the EU and Turkey’s already complicated relationship onto more adversarial terms.

The game changer was the August 2015 discovery of the massive Zohr natural gas field in Egyptian maritime territory by the Italian energy major Eni. The largest Eastern Mediterranean gas find to date, Zohr’s advent meant the region suddenly collectively had marketable volumes of natural gas. Eni, which is also the lead operator in Cyprus’s natural gas development, began promoting a plan to pool Cypriot, Egyptian, and Israeli gas and use Egypt’s liquefaction plants to cost-effectively market the region’s gas to Europe as liquified natural gas (LNG). The Italian company also happens to be a lead stake holder in one of Egypt’s two LNG plants.

Although commercially sensible, there was a geopolitical glitch to the Egypt-based LNG marketing scheme: It left no role for Turkey and its pipeline infrastructure to Europe, dashing Ankara’s in-progress plans to become a regional energy hub. In 2018, French energy giant Total, the EU’s third largest company by revenue, dealt another blow to Turkey by partnering with Eni in all of the Italian firm’s gas development operations in Cyprus, placing France in the middle of the eastern Mediterranean energy morass. Around the same time, Cyprus officially agreed to supply Egypt’s LNG plants for export. After Cyprus inked that deal, Israel, which had previously been considering building an Israel-Turkey undersea gas pipeline, followed suit and contracted to sell its gas to Egypt as well.

Turkey expressed its displeasure at these developments by engaging in a series of measured exercises of gunboat diplomacy, sending exploration and drillships into Cypriot waters, each with naval escort. The country continues to refuse to recognize Cyprus’s maritime boundaries, which Ankara maintains were drawn illegally at Turkey’s expense.The country continues to refuse to recognize Cyprus’s maritime boundaries, which Ankara maintains were drawn illegally at Turkey’s expense. In doing so, it claims to be defending the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the northern half of the ethnically divided island, who have been left out of the development of Cyprus’s offshore natural gas reserves despite being the legal co-owners of Cyprus’s natural resources.
With each Turkish action, the Egypt-Israel-Cyprus-Greece front increasingly gained military support from France, Italy, and the United States, each of which has significant economic investments in Eastern Mediterranean gas. For Turkey, its NATO allies’ support of this group is a betrayal, and tantamount to a policy of containment, which it cannot tolerate.

How did Libya enter the Eastern Mediterranean Morass?

In a bid to break out of its regional isolation, in November 2019 Turkey signed its own maritime demarcation agreement with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in war-torn Libya. The deal was an attempt to gain greater legal standing to challenge the maritime borders Greece had established with Cyprus and Egypt, upon which their eastern Mediterranean natural gas development plans depend. The Ankara-Tripoli maritime boundary agreement was accompanied by a military cooperation pact providing the GNA a security guarantee against the efforts of General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, backed by France and Egypt, to topple the Tripoli-based government.  The GNA formally activated its military pact with Ankara in December, linking the already tense maritime stand-off in the Eastern Mediterranean to the Libyan civil war.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Congress Pushes for Sanctions on Turkey, Russia Over Libyan War
Putin and Erdogan “act when there’s a stick involved,” a House aide said.

An employee sorts Turkish lira banknotes at a bank in the town of Sarmada in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on June 14.
Erdogan Has Hidden an Economic Disaster Deep in Turkish Banks
And he won’t be able to keep the game going for much longer.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Greece Accidentally Steered Into a Foreign-Policy Crisis
Turkey is redrawing its borders in the Aegean—and the Greek government is failing to do much about it.

Ankara’s overt intervention in the conflict in the first half of 2020 turned the tide of the Libyan civil war.Ankara’s overt intervention in the conflict in the first half of 2020 turned the tide of the Libyan civil war. Having succeeded in preserving the GNA, Turkey’s large military presence in Libya now provides Ankara a platform from which to challenge Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece over the Eastern Mediterranean’s maritime boundaries. Taking advantage of its newly enhanced regional position, Turkey sought to press its claims against Greece by sending its Oruç Reis seismic survey ship, accompanied by a group of five naval vessels, to the contested waters near Kastellorizo.
So what’s Turkey beef in the Eastern Mediterranean?

From Turkey’s viewpoint, Eastern Mediterranean’s de facto maritime boundaries unjustly and illegally deny Turkey part of its rightful maritime territory. Therefore, the region’s arrangements for offshore natural gas development, which depend on these de facto boundaries, are likewise illegitimate. In turn, Turkey regards its actions as defending international law. The divide goes back to the so-called Seville map that informs the region’s commonly accepted maritime boundaries. This European Union-commissioned map study, which was prepared by the University of Seville in the early 2000s, made the decision to define maximal boundaries for Greece and Cyprus at Turkey’s expense by using the coast of every inhabited Greek island—no matter how small and no matter how close to Turkey’s shores—as its starting point. Turkey has a point about the demarcations being unfair. Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline is longer than the U.S.-Mexico border. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) principle of equity and the international case law based upon it, Turkey is likely entitled to a larger maritime zone than it is has received on account of that extensive coastline. However, Turkey refuses to become an UNCLOS signatory, closing off its avenue of legal recourse.

Instead, Turkey found a partner with which to make its own map. In a mirror-image move to the Seville Map, the map of the Turkey-Libya maritime boundary agreement defines a maximal maritime zone for Turkey by denying any of Greece’s islands a continental shelf or an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which provides sovereign rights over offshore energy resources. The agreement establishes an 18.6 nautical mile boundary segment between Turkey and Libya, and then, projecting out from that line, the Ankara-Tripoli map exclusively divides the entire maritime zone between Turkey and Libya, an area stretching from Turkey’s southwestern corner to the opposite coast in eastern Libya. All of Greece’s islands are effectively ignored.

Turkey’s method for drawing the Ankara-Tripoli map is specious. Most egregiously, the map ignores the presence of Crete, which is 3,219 square miles and between these coasts. UNCLOS Article 121, an article dealing with the legal status of islands, affirms that island coastlines generate continental shelves and EEZs the same as any coastal land formation, except those that “cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own.” Crete, with a population of almost 650,000 (nearly the same as Athens), would unquestionably generate an EEZ.

On Aug. 6 this year, Greece decided to answer Turkey in kind by signing a similar maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt. Days later, the Oruç Reis research ship and its naval escort charged into waters within Greece’s maritime boundaries.

What’s Next? 

There are strong incentives for most of the parties in the region and the European Union to contain the current escalation and find an off-ramp to the crisis. Despite backing Greece, neither Egypt nor Israel can afford to be drawn into a war with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. The EU has expressed its unequivocal support for members Greece and Cyprus, but the bloc is divided on how to handle the current crisis. The six Mediterranean EU countries are evenly split.  Greece, Cyprus, and France advocate strong action against Turkey while Italy, Malta, and Spain—which all share significant commercial interests with Turkey in the central and western Mediterranean—have refrained.

Germany, holding the EU presidency since July, could break the deadlock.

Although Berlin typically defers to Paris on Mediterranean policy, it is keen to keep Ankara as close to the EU as possible. Still, Turkey is playing close to the edge.  If it pushes too far, the European Union, as well as the United States, will swing fully over to the side of Greece. The red line that Turkey cannot cross is Crete, whose southern waters are thought to contain significant volumes of oil or natural gas. Although internationally recognized as Greek territorial waters, the Ankara-Tripoli map assigns the area to Libya. If Turkey sends its energy exploration ship near the southern shores of Crete, then all bets are off.

So far, Turkey has not crossed that line. Ankara may be holding exploration in Crete’s waters as a negotiating card. Any serious deescalation process between Turkey and Greece requires a third party with sufficient sway to push Ankara and Athens into serious talks. In that respect, perhaps the most hopeful sign for the region is the recent constructive efforts of the United States to achieve a cease-fire and buffer zone in Libya. The de-linking of the various regional conflicts creates an opening for a pragmatic dialogue on Mediterranean maritime boundaries. There is a window for an off-ramp. That opportunity will require the United States, perhaps in concert with Germany, to act with diplomatic skill and commitment.

Michaël Tanchum teaches international relations of the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Navarra, Spain and is a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Studies (AIES). He also holds fellow positions at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Hebrew University, Israel, and at the Centre for Strategic Policy Implementation at Başkent University in Ankara, Turkey (Başkent-SAM). Twitter: @michaeltanchum

Greek PM's message to Turkey on CNN- ‘Stop provocations’

Greek PM's message to Turkey on CNN- ‘Stop provocations’
by GCT

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on Turkey to “stop the provocations” in the Eastern Mediterranean, during an interview on CNN with Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday evening.

“My message to Turkey is very simple: stop the provocations and let’s start talking as civilised neighbours,” Mitsotakis stated, adding that the only disagreement with Turkey is the delimitation of maritime zones.

“What we’ve told Turkey very openly is that we should sit and discuss as civilised neighbours,” and if the issue cannot be resolved between the two, “then we can always take it to the international court,” he added.

The PM stressed that Greece “cannot tolerate is unilateral activity by Turkey,” which challenges Greece’s EEZ “by sending not just an exploration ship but also a significant number of military vessels to the area. Greece has never escalated tension first.”

Turkey is behaving in a manner that does not accord with international law, he said, especially towards a fellow NATO member. “If Turkey considers these areas to be disputed and we consider them to be part of the Greek EEZ, they should sit down with us and discuss about it. This is what we have always proposed. What we cannot accept is a fait accompli as a result of Turkish provocation,” he continued.

This issue, Mitsotakis further said was not a Greek-Turkish one. “I don’t think this is a disagreement between two neighbours. I think this is a challenge for Europe, it’s a challenge for the world,” he stressed.

Mitsotakis also said that the neighbouring country should know that if it continues its unilateral path, it will damage its relationship with the EU, and there will be consequences.

The Greek PM also referred to the recent agreement with Egypt for the demarcation of exclusive economic zones, saying it could “serve as a blueprint” for other agreements in the region. “But this cannot happen if we are engaged in sabre-rattling and if we have to face now and then half the Turkish fleet sailing in the Aegean or the eastern Mediterranean,” he continued.

When asked about the New York Times article claiming that the Greek Coast Guard had abandoned migrants at sea, he said that Greece had been a victim of a misinformation campaign. This is part of Turkey’s efforts to “weaponise the migration issue,” he pointed out, as Europe saw at the Evros borders between the two countries. It also insults the Greek Coast Guard, which has saved tens of thousands of lives in the sea and the Greek islands that took so many migrants in.

“Greece is a country that respects international rules. We have granted asylum to tens of thousands of people and helped them integrate in Greek society. We are working with Europe on a new pact on immigration and refugees. We want the Europeans to be our partners in this effort. We do not want to be left alone in managing this problem. We are the first country to organise returns of migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected, in tandem with the International Migration Organisation. We have a comprehensive migration/refugee strategy, which at its premise has the need to protect both our land and sea borders,” he concluded.