Monday, December 31, 2007

VASSILIS BOLANOS PERSON OF THE YEAR, 2007

The Mayer of Himara Municipality wins the "Person of the year 2007" voted by the World Hellenic Organization:”NOIAZOMAI”. According to greek media, Hellenes Abroad and in Grece have voted Vassilis Bollanos for great effors to protect hellenic values in Northern Epirus and for his declaration on TV Albanian Station “Top Channel” saying” “KOSOVO AND NORTHERN EPIRUS ARE SIMILAR QUESTIONS”
For the declaration of Bollanos reacted not only the Albanian politic opinion but also Athens has been against any alternative solution reacting: “The Kosovo matter is not analog with Northern Epirus Issue”. But actually regarding the possibility “Macedonian Veto” of Athens by Greek polling opinions, the Northern Epirus or “Hellenic Kosovo” claimed by Hellenic Federation of the World is considered as more important national Greek Issue, which must resolve before Kosovo Status for Independence in condition that Greece must help Albania to joint to NATO and EU. Greece is the only NATO`s and EU country which could make veto to Macedonia name both for Kosovo Independence, if Skopie does not change the Constitutional Name as “Macedonia” while Tirana to begin for solution the Northern Epirus Issue before Kosovo decision.

In June 2007, the Pan Epirotic Federation of America, a strong brunch of Greek American Lobby in USA, urges to call Washington, EU and Athens to take extreme measures to Tirana including the stopping process of Albania to EU and NATO.
see" THE NORTHERN EPIRUS..... THE HELLENIC`S KOSOVO",

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Albania's foreign minister stripped of immunity, faces charges of corruption

The Associated Press
Photo: Basha and Raice in Washington D.C.
TIRANA, Albania:

Albania's parliament stripped the foreign minister of immunity Thursday, paving the way for the public prosecutor to charge him with corruption and abuse of power.
The lawmakers voted 107-12 in favor of investigating Lulzim Basha over allegations of improperly favoring a U.S.-Turkish joint venture in the awarding of a highway construction contract while he was transport minister.

Basha, who has not yet been charged, denies the accusations and says he is willing to answer any questions about his handling of the highway project, which he said was proud to have been part of.Addressing the parliament before the vote, Basha urged the lawmakers to remove his immunity, saying the move would be a break with the country's past of shielding officials.
Basha, who was transport minister from September 2005 until becoming foreign minister in April of this year, could be tried for abuse of power, corruption and causing the budget to swell by some €385 million (US$548 million).

The allegations against Basha are related to an October 2006 deal the state signed with the Bechtel-Enka consortium, made up of San Francisco, California-based Bechtel International Inc. and Istanbul-based Enka. The consortium was awarded a €418 million (US$595 million) contract to build a 65-kilometer (40-mile) section of road.

The highway, to be completed in 2009, will link Albania's isolated north to neighboring ethnic-Albanian-dominated Kosovo. Organized crime and corruption are major issues in Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, which is struggling to integrate with international institutions.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

THE NEW BALKAN MAP .....http://www.noiazomai.net/41.html

FROM... NOIAZOMAI .........THE PAN HELLENIC SITE OF THE WORLD

http://www.noiazomai.net/

"THE PANDORA`S BOX"

RELATED WITH THE NATIONAL GEORRAPHIC 1912 - 1913 http://www.nationalgeographic.gr/extra/1912/



ΠΡΟΗΓΕΙΤΑΙ ΣΤΑ ΒΑΛΚΑΝΙΑ Η ΛΥΣΗ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΕΘΝΩΣ ΕΚΚΡΕΜΟΥΣ ΖΗΤΗΜΑΤΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΒΟΡΕΙΟΥ ΗΠΕΙΡΟΥ

ΑΝΟΙΓΕΙ Ο ΦΑΚΕΛΟΣ ΒΟΡΕΙΟΗΠΕΙΡΩΤΙΚΟ

SPECIAL NEW SECTION: NORTHERN EPIRUS

http://www.noiazomai.net/Boreiohpeirotiko.html

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

PYRROS DIMAS, THE "LION" OF HIMARA

Born October 13, 1971 is a Greek weightlifter and three-time Olympic champion. Dimas was born in Himara, Albania, to parents of Greek origin, and emigrated to Greece in 1991. He first competed for Greece in the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 82.5 kg class. At a time when Greek success at the Olympics was limited, he and Voula Patoulidou (who won the gold at the 100m hurdles) became instant national heroes. They were greeted as such on their return to Greece at a grand ceremony attended by more than 100.000 people at the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens. His birthplace gave rise to his nickname "The Greek Lion of Himara". His outstanding number of Olympic Gold Medals created another nickname "Midas".


With the 1993 and 1995 World titles under his belt, Dimas was heavily favoured for the 83 kg class at the 1996 Summer Olympics, where he was the flagbearer of the Greek Olympic team. He won the event with two new World Records.


At the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won yet another gold medal, this time in the 85 kg class. This made him one of just three weightlifters at that time to have won three Olympic gold medals, the others being Naim Süleymanoğlu (Turkey, but born in Bulgaria) and Kakhi Kakhiashvili (Greece, but born in Georgia). Halil Mutlu (like Süleymanoğlu, a Bulgaria-bo Turk) would become the fourth in 2004.


At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Dimas was again chosen as Greek flagbearer for both the opening and closing ceremonies. Dimas was recovering from knee surgery and a hurt wrist and was not expected to compete in these Olympics, but he came away with a bronze medal in the 85 kg class, becoming only the fourth weightlifter in history to win a medal at four different Olympic Games and only the third to win them successively four times, thus cementing his status as a national hero in Greece - a hero indeed who helped the obscure Greek weightlifting sport reach world records.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

State Departament: Importance of Minority Rights and Religious Freedom in Albania (Northern Epirus)

Daily Press BriefingTom Casey, Deputy SpokesmanWashington, DCDecember 18, 2007

Mr. Lambros Papantoniou?

Q: On Albania, Mr. Casey, what is the U.S. policy vis-a-vis to the Greek minority of Northern Epirus in Albania, since in the most recent days the entire Himare area is under attack by Albanian mob,destroying 35 Greek churches and terrorizing the Greeks?

MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros, I don't have anything new to offer you in terms of the issues related to the territorial integrity of any ofthe countries in the region.

Certainly we believe it's important for all the countries in the Balkans to ensure protection of minority rights and religious freedoms. That's a general principle that we certainly adhere to and promote. I don't have anything specific for you, though, on any of these individual incidents.

Q: One more, on Kosovo. Tomorrow is the discussion at the
U.N. on the final status of Kosovo, and I'm wondering, Mr. Casey, if you'd care to make any statement.

MR. CASEY: Well, Mr. Lambros, you know our position on Kosovo, and I fully expect that you will hear that from Ambassador Khalilzad and other officials there. Certainly we all believe that the time has come to deal with the final status of Kosovo. And as you know, we strongly believe that the way forward lies with implementation of the basic outlines of the Ahtisaari plan, including, in the short term,supervised independence for Kosovo.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2007/dec/97782.htm

Monday, December 17, 2007

Greek chambers' president gives address in Albania

The president of Greece's Central Union of Chambers of Commerce (KEEE) George Kassimatis carried out a visit to neighbouring Albania recently at the invitation of his counterpart Ilir Zhilla.

According to a press release issued by the group on Monday, Kassimatis outlined the problems and obstacles faced by Greek businesses active in the sectors of trade and investments in Albania, as he cited an unstable institutional framework, particularly in the taxation and the customs regime, insufficient implementation of legislation and the lack of consistency of public services, which he said translates into negative repercussions for entrepreneurial activities.

Kassimatis also referred to outstanding debts by Albanian agencies to private enterprises and the Greek state. During his visit, the Greek business official met with Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Economy Minister Gene Ruli and the members of the Albanian Parliament's Economic Committee.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

EXPLOSION AGAINST BYZANTINE CHURCH IN HIMARA REGION

Photo: BYZANTINE MONASTER OF PANAGIAS - DRYMADON This monastery is a pure white building; located on the peak over the village of Drymades has distinctive architecture.

The explosion blast against Byzantine church "Agia Pandelimonis" was happened in Drimades (Dhermi) one of more important tourist center of Southern Albania (Northern Epirus in Himara Region) where lives a large old presence of Hellenic Community.

According to Albanian Daily Newspaper “Shekulli” the Police authority which made the investigation process, after declared that “is not a blast explosive but has been made from thunder – struck destroying the Byzantine church”.

But the community has been against version of police declaration. According them: “the blast is explosive against the Orthodox Church and it is a terrorist act”. Some of other churches has been stolen many days before the blast in the village Drimades.

Drimades with it beautiful paradises beaches in Ionian Coast is one important culture center particularly for foreign tourists for the rich values of Byzantine churches. There are about 35 churches (10 of them are Byzantine period) and three orthodox Monasteries are visiting by thousand foreign tourists on the last year.

Anyway in Southern Albania decides of Orthodox Churches has been violated or stolen by vandals particularly in Korca, Argjirokaster, Fieri and the Himara Region.

see more:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Albania destroys munitions surplus

December 13, 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- In what U.S. State Department officials say eliminates a potential terrorist threat, Albania has destroyed its largest stockpile of surplus munitions.
The U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Albania announced the destruction of nearly 40,000 surplus munitions including anti-ship naval mines and aircraft bombs among others, the State Department reported.

"The destruction of these weapons eliminated a potential source of materiel that could have been used by terrorists or illegally sold to state sponsors of terror and other states of concern. As the majority of these weapons were stored in a dozen sites throughout Albania, most of which were in close proximity to homes and schools, they also posed a serious threat to public safety," the release said.

Implemented by the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund, the Albanian Armed Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams eliminated the munitions after the training of Albanian EOD teams.
Using approved Albania Ministry of Defense procedures, teams destroyed the munitions on designated military installations in what officials call an ecologically responsible way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BERISHA CALLS TO CHANGE NATIONAL FLAG IN INTEREST OF "THE GRATER ALBANIA” ......

........PRISTINA TAKES ENERGY FROM TIRANA

Photo: PM Berisha and FM Basha

Tirana, December 10, 2007

“If we need to have one symbol national flag for all Albanians, our officially flag could change”, declares, Berisha during the emission “Opinion” of National TV Station “KLAN”.

During politic debate of “Opinion” the must important program in the country of TV “KLAN”, where was invited together with Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, The Albanian Prime Minister declares about the future symbols of Kosovo after the independence and the Albanians role for unification saying: “If we need to have the national flag for all Albanians, sure our national flag could change".

We must have for all Albanians in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia one united symbol flag, even Tirana has officially and Kosovo des not have too”. During the politic debate which was concerning for the Independence of Kosovo and after, Berisha and Thaci have been united for any developments between Kosovo and Albania, even an economic blockade from Serbia would isolate the Kosovo.

Berisha also said that: “to see as immediately moment any possibility occasion to help with our Port Harbowrs and Roads which links Kosovo and Albania and my government will be ready to collaborate as national obligation for future economy of Kosovo particularly after the Independence”.

ALBANIA GIVES 1.2 MILLION kvh ENERGY TO KOSOVO

The Albanian Governament has decided to help Kosovo economy giving about 1.2 million kvh in the day, sorces said from albanian press. Not only aero ports offers of Tirana for Kosovo for any escalation of Serbian economic blockade but also under a "patriotic decision to help kosovo albanians with electric energy in a critique moment when Albania is including a total "black out" of it teritor and the economy is raising to 8% of inflation in January, said sources of Albanian Central Bank.

KESH the albanian Corporate Energy said that "the Albania economy needs for about 12 million kvh energy for the day but only 8 kvh is producting from interior hidro energitic sistem. The rest energy by import is unsufficent to help the economy of the country. Only Tirana has interroction with about 6 hours in the day, while in other territores it goes to 10 hours in the day.

Waiting Kosovo Indipendence, Tirana and Pristina have intesifed their bilateral relations from politically to full economic aid to integrate Kosovo economy inside "albanian national strategy". Thousand albanian of kosovo have albanian passport particularly for students, bussinesmen linked with economic interests as "Real Estate" to buy albanian propreties, while the moviments between Kosovo and Albanian borders are "inexistent" out of the taxes. Last year, thousand albanians of Kosovo have been principal tourists of albania, contributing to raise the finances of Albanian Government.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prodi talks energy, Kosovo, during Albania visit
Photo : Prodi Berisha in Tirana Monday, 4 December 2007
4 December 2007 13:49 Source: B92, BIRN
TIRANA -- Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and his Albanian counterpart, Sali Berisha, met Monday in Tirana

The pair vowed to increase cooperation over energy issues between their respective governments, BIRN reports.The Italian premier stressed the need for new energy sources to ensure the economic growth of both countries. “Albania cannot enjoy economic growth without addressing the lack of energy sources. Italy is also interested in new sources of
energy for its own needs,” Prodi said at a joint newsconference. During the meeting a memorandum of cooperation was signed by Albania’s Minister of Economy and Energy, Genc Ruli, and the head of the Italian power company Enel, Fulvio Conti.
Berisha welcomed the move to strengthen economic cooperation. “We have worked [as a government] to create an attractive climate for Italian investors in Albania,” Berisha said. Italy is Albania’s biggest trading partner. Albanian exports to Italy amounted to USD 574mn in 2006, and its imports were valued at USD 883mn. In a speech to Albania’s parliament, Prodi called on Albania’s politicians to step up the reforms necessary for their country’s integration into the EU.
“Justice reform, the fight against criminal elements and a modern electoral system should be at the top of the agenda,” the Italian Prime Minister said while addressing Albanian MPs. In a meeting with the Speaker of parliament, Jozefina Topalli, Prodi promised that Albania’s Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU - a key step towards eventual EU membership - would ratified by the Italian parliament during the coming week. At his earlier news conference Prodi had a message of restraint for Kosovo’s

independence-seeking leaders, saying that determining the UN-administered territory’s future status needs more time. “That process would be destroyed in an irreversible way, if a hurried decision was taken after December 10,” Prodi said.

The Italian premier was referring to the call made by several Kosovo Albanian leaders for independence to be declared after the Troika of international mediators, presents its report on the talks to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a week’s time. Prodi restated his government’s position that Kosovo’s status should be based on the plan for internationally-supervised independence, proposed by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which was subsequently rejected by Serbia and blocked by Russia in the Security Council. He added that Kosovo's leaders should take their decisions in coordination with the EU.
10 years ago........Prodi visited Vlora.......
VLORA, Albania (AP) — Italy’s premier met with rebel leadersSunday and promised Albanians they will see a markedimprovement in their chaotic country once a multinational force isfully deployed to ensure safe delivery of food.
Despite strong anti-Italian sentiment, Premier Romano Prodi andhis Albanian counterpart, Bashkim Fino, were greetedenthusiastically by some 10,000 people during a two-hour visit.Animosity toward Italy has surged here since a Vlora boat filledwith Albanian refugees collided with an Italian vessel last monthand up to 80 people perished. Eight European nations have pledged troops for a 6,000-membermultinational force — to be fully operational by the last week ofApril — that will secure the ports of Vlora and Durres and Tiranaairport. “The situation will really change for the better next week whenmost of the force is deployed,” Prodi told the packed crowd in thesunny city square.
Photo: Prodi accompagnated from rebels in Vlora city on April 12, 1997
Prodi, speaking from a balcony after his meetings with Fino andlocal rebel leaders, Prodi said the multinational force was coming“to help the Albanian people in this difficult situation and will notinterfere in the internal politics of the country.” The crowd, cheering and waving flags, demanded the resignationof Albanian President Sali Berisha, whom they blame forinvestment schemes that collapsed and cost tens of thousands ofAlbanians their life savings.

Vlora, 50 miles southwest of the capital Tirana, is the birthplace ofthe insurgency that has swept Albania in the past three months. Albanians took to the streets to protest the shady schemes, andmany overran army bases, stealing weapons and ammunition.More than 360 people have been killed and 3,500 injured in theensuing violence, and 13,000 Albanians have fled to Italy. Italian soldiers and rebels armed with Kalashnikovs escortedProdi and Fino through the streets before they boarded ahelicopter for Tirana.

Prodi called for a moment of silence in memory of the Albanianrefugees who drowned last month. He said Italian authoritieswould try to raise the sunken Albanian vessel.
Earlier Sunday, 40 French soldiers arrived in the western port ofDurres, 22 miles from the capital, joining 120 Italian paratroopers. Prodi said the Italian-led force will stay one month after electionsare held in Albania. “It is important to prepare for rapid, democratic and properelections,” Prodi said. “Speed is essential.”

The caretaker government is planning to hold elections and areferendum on the form of government in June, but politicaldifferences may delay the process.Berisha has not ventured from the capital in three months andopposes any deals with rebels.

He is opposed by the southern insurgents, has dwindling supportin the caretaker government and also is facing dissent within his own Democratic Party. More than 40 party leaders have criticizedhis authoritarian rule. The party met behind closed doors Sunday to discuss calls forBerisha’s ouster from the party leadership.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Antidote to nationalism

To avoid war in Europe we must give the Balkans hope, rather than hold the ring with troops
By Peter Preston

Monday December 3, 2007The Guardian
Here is a sad little tale with a big, sad conclusion. It begins a decade ago, when I did some Guardian Foundation work with the British Association for Central and Eastern Europe (Bacee) and joined its governing body. It organised seminars all over the newly free countries of Europe, brought study groups to Britain, and helped train politicians, judges and journalists in the rhythms of democracy. When central Europe was EU-embraced, it moved on to the parts that Brussels hadn't reached yet: the Balkans and beyond.

But then, suddenly, a minor mandarin arrived announcing that priorities had changed, that the Foreign Office grant that helped make Bacee possible was going, gone. Europe didn't matter any longer, it seemed. Only the Middle East counted when disposable funds had to be disposed of. And that, after many gallant efforts, turns out to be the end of active life. Bacee goes into indefinite hibernation next year. The Balkan problem - unlike the West Lothian problem - is deemed "solved" for all relevant financing and face-saving purposes.

Except that that's rubbish. Except that, in a few days' time, Kosovo will bubble over the brink again. Except that more war, in our own continent, seems bleakly imminent. Except that Britain's foreign policy "priorities", as detailed in rolling spending reviews, were bunk.
You learn many things when you hit the seminar trail in the Balkans, but first you learn that the fragments of old Yugoslavia see their future inside the union we regard with a curl of the lips. Slovenia joined in the last wave but one. Croatia, accession treaty drafted, stands on the edge of membership. Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and - yes! - Kosovo, are further down the queue but near the top of an urgent agenda. Serbia is key to everything and split: but the forces of relative rationality and reform define themselves by the European issue, too.
And, if you head south, there's the free nation we prefer not to think about - Albania: too much crime, too many problems. But that's not what EU diplomats say when they go to Tirana. They say that Albania, too, waits in union line.

So the links are clear, and so are our defences against anarchy. The Balkans belong to our Europe. They want it, and the chance of prosperity it offers. We want it and have told them as much. The policies we're pursuing in the region only make sense if that's true. Membership is our patent antidote to narrow nationalism. The EU that helped bring peace to western Europe long ago still has much work to do.

But then, as with the fate of Bacee, note how nothing connects. Political Europe is stalled over immigration, Turkey, reform treaties, economic lethargy. Croatia is pending because the European commission needs its structural reforms first. The FO is more interested in exporting balm to Basra or jets to Saudi. The Balkans have been left to drift and fester. Guess what that means today as Serbia fumes and Russia turns unhelpful? The only solid answer to the Balkan question is a European one.

But mumbling and grumbling far away - in France, the Netherlands, the UK - has utterly lost that plot. Our interminable domestic squabbles over reform don't stretch to Dover, let alone to the Danube. We are the authors of our own misfortune. Would Bacee, carrying on, have been able to make a difference? Probably not. But the association's biggest coup was starting a New Serbia Forum that brought together future movers and shakers as Milosevic fell. Bacee opened some Belgrade windows to a wider, more peaceful world. But who needs expertise or contacts when interest dies?

And thus that fateful old question is asked again: how to put a region - part inside our house, part waiting on the doorstep - together. By giving it cohesion and hope. By promising and delivering. By knowing what's important and what's blah. The lesson of Kosovo is clear enough and an eerie replica of crises the world never solves - Kashmir, say, or Cyprus - because troops just holding the ring are of no account. Take them away and you're back to square one. What you have to put in their place is a sense of direction: but that, when the chap from the FO with his closed cheque book and closed mind comes calling, is precisely what we've lost.

Friday, November 23, 2007

THE ALBANIAN NATO`S LONG WAY

By Stavros Markos*

Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Justin Rhodes, right, allows an Albanian boy to listen to a compact disc player at an elementary school in Fier, Albania, on June 12, 1999.

“Albania has made insufficient progress on the political reforms signed with the Euro-Atlantic alliances namely NATO and the European Union”. Those are the findings of the special report from Brussels and in relation to the pending application by Tirana.

Last week, the Chairman of NATO, Jap De hop Shaffer, met with the Albanian President Bamir Topi. Sheffer declared during the press conference that; “Albania has made progress so as to enjoy a NATO inclusion, but unfortunately the politically reforms are insufficient for a conclusive “YES” in order to be accepted in the military alliance”. Even though the critical comments by the NATO Head where seriously considered by the Albanian opposition, the Albanian government, remains indifferent and continues its rhetoric that it maintains cozy relations with Washington and that it supports with peacekeeping forces the Alliance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Tirana there was another upturn, concerning the visit of the US Permanent Ambassador in NATO, Victoria Nuland that also stated against the accession of Albania. More specifically she said that "NATO Membership requires 26 votes”, implying a stall in the process by some of the other countries, as the President Topi and Prime minister Berisha found out.

On the Kosovo issue, the Albanian Administration summoned all its diplomatic corps in the World on a meeting organized in Tirana, so as to raise the efforts of the rights of Kosovo Albanian People for “the process towards independence”. The Kosovo issue is actually the primal aim of the government and it has launched an impressive international trial in order to succeed, over the coming weeks and before the end of the negotiations that will last up to the 10th of December.

The Prime Minister Sali Berisha met in Egypt with the High Representative of the Islamic Conference looking for his support for an independence of Kosovo. Albania continues to be a member of the Islamic Conference since 1992, a decision that was taken by the former President Sali Berisha (1992–1996) but was never ratified by the Albanian Parliament. The political opposition in Albania expressed its concern around the visit of Berisha to the Islamic Conference and categorized it as a negative outcome for the Kosovo negotiations.

The European Community expressed its worry around the incapability of Tirana to fulfill its obligations for political reforms of the Stabilization Association Process with the EU. Last week the Head of the Unit for Albania of the European Commission, Helmud Lohan, during his meeting with Prime Minister Berisha mentioned the critical points for Albania's path towards the EU, mainly the lack of electoral and judicial reforms. One day before the High Commissioner for enlargement of the EU Oli Rehn commented for the low probability of both Albania and FYROM to be accepted into the Union over the coming years.

On the developments regarding stability and security, Albania is confronting a number of problematic sectors such as Corruption, Organized Crime prevalence, and the energy problem. The criminal groups and the corruption of the Albanian administration has become a widespread custom for the majority of the public officials. The Albanian Judicial faces the problem of accommodating an extremely large number of prisoners whilst the security authorities often provoke violation of basic human rights. The regressive institutional confrontation between the General Attorney Theodori Sollaku and the Prime Minister Sali Berisha concerning issues of Organized Crime and Corruption has been an indicator towards the risk of a new destabilization phase in Albania. The political opposition accuses the Foreign Minister Lulezim Basha as corrupted because of the 350 million Euro contract of the Tirana - Pristina Motorway (The Greatest Albanian Investment ever).This particular project is constructed by a Turkish-American consortium “Bechtel Company”, and continues to be financed from the public funds but the Attorney has filed an inquiry and accuses Minister Basha of corruption and demands the termination of his ministerial immunity by the Parliament.

Currently some 80% of the total budget concerning public investment in Albania is being spent on the High Way Tirana-Prishina. Thus the Southern Albanian infrastructure programs have been halted despite the fact that there are allocated funds for this region by the EU and the EBRD. According to the Albanian press half of the Albanian population in Northern Albania does not pay energy and water rates since 1991, while in the Southern part of the country the population is obligated to pay a high price, amid electricity and water shortages that are quite often.

The problems accumulate also in the economic sphere, by examining the inflation of the Albanian economy. According to the Albanian statistic service for October 2007 the index price was at 4.5% but in reality the analysts stated it exceeded the 8% mark. The International Monetary Fund has claimed that inflation would increase more in the country and in parallel the power-cuts have reached on average 10 hours per day, creating an unbearable situation for the local industry and the household consumers.

The Human Rights United Party (HRUP), which represents parts of the Greek Minority urges for the formation of a new governmental coalition. Political analysts in Albania are experiencing the dangerous power that the Prime Minister Sali Berisha is enjoying, and especially his endeavors to fill the vacant post of the General Attorney, after a decision by the Parliament to discharge Theodhori Sollaku as the “Top Albanian Persecutor”.

In Albania, the Organized Crime is listed as a host state on “money laundering”, particularly from Islamic Investments. The Italian RAI TV transmitted a “Special Dossier” about Albania discussing the dangerous perspective of Albania into the EU as Muslim country and the empowerment of the Islamic influence in a societal level, particularly after 2001.

The Albanian stability is associated directly with the developments in Kosovo and in FYROM. The clashes between Albanian paramilitaries in the Kosovo-FYROM borderline are getting pace over the past month and Tirana is accused by Skopje that they turn a blind eye on the illegal importation of weaponry by the Albanian minority in FYROM. By December the 10th when the negotiations for Kosovo will be officially over, there is a real danger of a serious attack by Albanian paramilitaries against the security forces of FYROM and that will surely inflame tension between the two states and beyond.

Stavros Markos (Journalist and Member of the World Security Network Foundation Southeastern Europe Office)
http://rieas.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=487&Itemid=42

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What will bring the meeting Papulias – Topi?

By Stavros Markos*

Not only diplomatic relations but also very important issues to be open such are “The Kosovo Independence and more human rigths for the greeks in albania”.

Photo; The Albanian President Bamir Topi

The Albanian President Bamir Topi will start on the end of November to visit Athens. During three day of his visit, he will meet the Greek counterpart Karolos Papulias and other high Greek represent. The visit is considering very important particularly for the role of Greece bused to the ulterior developments in Balkan Region and Kosovo Status Finale.

But the Greek Albanian relations some times are very confuse regarding historically circumstances; often as “good neighbored bused on the Greek minority of Albania” and often “unacceptable perspective seeing the “Law of War with Albania from Greece” as pretexts to deportation of about 20 thousand Chames Community from Greece named as “fascist collaborationist”, in the end of The Second World War”.

Anyway actually is staring the big process to reopen some very important historically issues on the Balkan Region, which is linked Albania and Greece for the Kosovo Issue and the future integration of Albanian State to NATO and EU.

According to Information the Albanian President Topi will present to Greek counterpart Papulias 5 points of Albanian national requests.

  1. Greece must declare in favor of the Independence of Kosovo (including also Cyprus vote)
  2. Greece must declare in the favor of Albania to joint NATO Alliance.
  3. Greece must ratification the Stabilization association process with EU by Greek Parliament as other countries of EU, (including Cyprus)
  4. Athens must help for the special status of Albanian emigrants, which are working in Greek Territory often clandestine and not known by Greek authorities.
  5. Under the “Friendly Agreement between Tirana Athens of 1996” Greece and Albania must respect the Albanian proprieties (Is not clear for the cham issue) based on the human international rights both Greek proprieties in Albania (!!!)

Analyzing 5 points of Tirana to Athens, excluding 4 points, the first is new “The Kosovo Support Independence” but very important regarding exclusively agenda of Topi to Papulias. During his visit in Balkan region (Montenegro, Macedonia) and other EU states, Topi has declared the support for Independence of Kosovo from all members of European Union in accordance with Washington. Tirana has expressed to know firsttly the Kosovo Independence particularly after December 10, when the Contact Group will finish the efforts to resolve an agreement between Beograd and Pristine.

But what is waiting the Greek response would be not a surprise for Albanian counterpart. According to information, Karolos Papulias in accordance with Albanian requests will be present the Large Autonomy of Greeks in Albania. Albania and Greece have contradictory estimations about the Greek Ethnic Minority who live in Southern Albania. According to Tirana the Greeks of Albania are only 1.17% a number unacceptable for Athens when Greek Organization “Pan Epiriotic Federation of America” and Foreign Greek Ministry said over 600 thousand Greeks in Albania, even Athens continues to support a General Counting Population of Albania to resume this diplomatic problem bused on the human rights individual declaration to the ONU Charter”.

Meanwhile, every thing is open to see the consequences after the Meeting Topi - Papulias but diplomatic sources said the interference of the State Department to support the visit of Albanian President in Athens. Athens is important "advocate voice" of Albania to joint to NATO Alliance and EU integration.

Stavros Markos
(Journalist, Member of the World Security Network Foundation -Southeast Europe Office
www.rieas.gr


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ALBANIA, THE GREAT RISK TO COME BACK TO “CIVIL WAR OF 1997”
“The precedent to re start the destabilization of the country"

Some Months ago, the Prime Minister Sali Berisha urges by the "Inquiring Police Section" of Interior Ministry to open all the crimes made during period of “Extraordinary Situation” of Albania during 1997 period, after collapse of Pyramids Schemes. According to Albanian opposite the inisiative of Prime Minister Berisha is very dangerous because could come back the Civil War in Albania, provoking a large conflict between Northern and South of the county. Decides of arrests begun in Cerric, a little town near Schumbini River 50km from Tirana under accuse for Massacres during 1997 against “The Republican Guard”.

Photo: The Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi accompanied by head of rebels Zani Caushi during his visit in Vlora on April 12, 1997.

But every thing is going to be officially open from Persecutors now, when in Saranda Town, southern Albania, begun the arrests under accuse “Massacres made in 1997 against police authority”. Hundred police Special Forces come from Tirana in collaboration with police station of Saranda and Vlora, arrested about 25 persons and others are incurring for all the crimes made in 1997, said the Albanian press. In addition, according to information, the police forces could make arrests in all Southern Albanian Territory, including Vlora, Argjirokaster, Berati, Fieri, Koritca ect. “The Civil War of 1997 in Albania known as “Extraordinary Situation of 1997” could come backagain if Special Forces will continue the actions”said many annalists of the country.

Photo: American citizens board a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallion combat assault helicopter in a field inside the U.S. Embassy housing compound in Tirana, Albania, on March 15, 1997. Operation Silver Wake is the evacuation of noncombatants from Albania to ensure the safety of American citizens and designated third country nationals. U.S. Naval forces from the USS Nassau (LHA 4) Amphibious Readiness Group continue to evacuate citizens from the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Siegel, U.S. Navy.
The catastrophic situation of Albanian economy under the inflation to vergrown to 8%, the energetic collapse of the country and over alls the situation in Kosovo to the limit ofthe status of Independence during the end of December is passing the country again under ful of strong measures obsserving from NATO alleance. According to OSCE report based from estimates of “The ALBA Operation 1997” the Multi International Protectorate Forces installed in Albania by ONU Resolution of March 11, 1997, are about 8000 killed during “Civil War of Albania” only in Vlora Region has been killed about 1600 persons.
ALBANIA 1997 The rebellion against President Berisha
Anywhere, the geopolitical annalists based to the Security and Stability of the Balkan Region comment often the dangerous situation of “Domino Effect” after proclamation of Independence of Kosovo as "infected zones" including particularly states as Macedonia, Bosnia and Albania. According the experience of 1997 and 1998 (The Coup D`etat), Albania is the country, which the stability is not controlled well from government authority even about 1200 NATO troops arei nstalled and hundreds of Europol agents are working to special operation against Organized Crime.

The Special Report of CNN of 1997:

"Albanian troubles expose north-south differences"
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9703/11/albania.split/index.html

Albanian troubles expose north-south differences

March 11, 1997 Web posted at: 9:45 p.m. EST (0245 GMT)
From Correspondent Siobhan Darrow


VLORA, Albania (CNN) -- The people of Vlora, the southern stronghold of Albania's rebellion, are trying to put their revolt in order, inviting local police officers loyal to their cause to help reign in the chaos. The rebels, who have named themselves the Salvation Committee, say they won't surrender to this government or any other until their demands are met.
"We'll only find a solution to this problem when the main issue, which is financial, is solved," said Alberto Bukir, head of the Salvation Committee in Vlora. "All political solutions are a bluff." Government troops have dug in north of the Shkumbin River, pulling back to the historic fault line dividing this river country's two major ethnic groups: the Ghegs in the north and the Tosks in the south. Their differences threaten to split the country in two, although neither group says it wants to fight the other.



Just across the Adriatic from Italy, Vlora has always been more open to the outside than the more insular north. When communism collapsed, not all those influences were good. Drug trafficking and smuggling flourished in the town, and it became known as Albania's crime capital. Impatient to live the lives they now see via satellite television, the wealthier Tosks were easy prey for get-rich-quick pyramid schemes. They had more to lose when those schemes collapsed.


And the man they blame, President Sali Berisha, is a Gheg from the north.
"The Tosks provided the leaders of the Communist Party, and the Ghegs felt they lost out in the competition for power," political analyst
Mark Almond said. That gap was something Berisha quickly made up for when he came to office, filling security ministries and the parliament forces with his northern brethren, and fueling distrust in the south.


To an outsider, the whole country may look lost in a time warp. But to the cosmopolitan Tosks in the south, the north is a backwater. The Ghegs are mountain people still deeply rooted to their traditions; they are more isolated and less sophisticated than their southern neighbors. But like the Tosks, the Ghegs say they don't want the current civil strife to turn into a fight between the two groups. "We haven't fought in the past," said one middle-aged man. "We have been united and must stay that way. There are too few of us Albanians."
Albania's Tosks and Ghegs have lived in relative harmony for centuries. But with the country now practically split in half, their differences could be exploited by parties uninterested in peace.




Also International References for "Albania Civil War1997:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/albania.htm
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9701/27/albania/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9703/06/albania.late/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9703/03/albania/
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9703/04/albania.emergency/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9703/13/albania.evac

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Security News

Photo: The US Ambassador accredited to Albania, HE Mr. John L. Withers II, welcomed by the NATO Senior Military Representative, Brigadier General Anastasios Rintis.

ALBANIAN SECRET SERVICE “SHISH” CALLS FOR MORE FINANCES

The head of Albanian Secret Service Bahri Shaqiri, during a meeting with the member of Security National Commission of Albanian Parliament has spoken for the necessary of much more finances for SHISH. “For the next budget of 2008, SHISH need about 4.5 Million Euros, to be in total efficiency, regarding the ulterior developments in Balkan Region ” Shaqiri said.

“Even the meeting was closed for the media, the High Represent of Albanian National Security was very preoccupied for tensions in the area border particularly from the north” seeing the Status Final of Kosovo, underlines the Newspaper “SHQIP”. According to media, is not clear if the finances would use to fights corruption and organized crime or to another very important direction such is the Terrorism Islamic in the area, one of must important mission of SHISH after 2001 with American and European Secret Services.

ALBANIA BUYS 4 MILITARY SHIPS FROM “DAMEN SHIPYARDS”

4 Military Ships will buy Albania from Holland in total of 31 Million Euros to modernize Albanian “Coast Guard Forces”, said the Defense Minister of Albania Fatmir Mediu during meeting with represent of “Damen Shipyards” Rene Berkvens. One of the ships will product in Holland when other three will build in Vlora Naval Base of Orikumi next years.

Is not very clear if the modernization of Albanian Naval Forces is under the observation of NATO experts but one month ago Spain, has refused to sell military ships for Albania.The old Naval Base in South Western of Albania across Italy, Vlora`s Bay, installed in Orikum under “Varsavia Agreement” in 1957 to protect the Russian Submarines, is reconstructed from Turkish Naval Forces after collapse period of 1997, when the Albanian military ships used as clandestine transportation to Italy.
THE GREEK PRESIDENT KAROLOS PAPULIAS HONORED FROM ARGIROCASTRO MUNICIPALITY

Argirocastro, November 13, 2007

The Greek President Karolos Papulias is Honored as "Argirocastro Citizen" from Municipality of Argirocastro, a Center Region of Southern Albania. The head of Argirokaster Municipality Flamur Bine addressed to the Greek President during ceremony where was present many personalities of the region, from the Greek Minority and greek officials as "great friend of albanian people".
In fact tow years ago, Papulias annuled an official visit in Albania, when hundert member of Chameria Community used pressing for his visit in Saranda Town. Next week, Papulias has inviated the albanian counter part Bamir Topi to visit Athens. The bilaterar relations between Athens and Tirana are delevoping under important changes in Balkan Region, particularly for Kosovo Issue, where Greece is palying an important diplomatic role as member of NATO and EU.
According to information the albanian president will claim the suport by Athens for Kosovo Indipendence, the albanian emigrant status in Greece, the continuing of the economic aids particularlty for energy and the stabilisation suport proces to NATO and EU of Albania prespective. Also Topi means to deviate the "Chameria Issue" during the meeting.
The greek president requests would be in epicenter of Greek Minority as guaranty of bilateral relations between Tirana and Athens. Athens is obsserving "under special attention"
all the problems of the human rigths regarding the proprietes of greek minority in albania, the greek investiments ecct. Papulias has been greek soldger on the front against Italian Fascist invasion in Octobber 1940 in Southern Albania (Northern Epirus)

Bakoyannis briefs President Papoulias on foreign affairs issues
Athens,
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday and briefed him on current foreign affairs issues.The briefing included the latest developments in Kosovo, which were relayed to Bakoyannis the previous day by the Russian Federation's representative in the Kosovo mediation troika, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko.The foreign minister said that Greece would contribute as far as possible to finding a solution in Kosovo through dialogue.Bakoyannis also briefed the president on developments surrounding the dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue, in view of a new round of talks and the imminent arrival of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz in Athens and Skopje.Other issues covered by Bakoyannis in the meeting were developments in neighbouring Turkey and the agenda for talks due to take place in Athens next week between the Greek government and visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi.
Plan to integrate migrants
Ministry hopes for smoother transition of foreigners into community
The Interior Ministry will launch a program aimed at helping to integrate the country’s 900,000 legal foreign residents into the community through initiatives in education and employment, according to Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The 2007-2013 program will cost 50 million euros in the first year and will be mostly funded by European Union funds.
“It is the first complete program put together with the object of smooth and fast induction into the community of migrants that legally reside in our country,” said Pavlopoulos. “The basic innovation is in connecting migrants with growth and prosperity in all sectors,” he added.
Attica, central Macedonia, the Peloponnese, Crete and central Greece are home to the largest populations of foreigners.
Nearly six in 10 of the country’s new residents come from Albania, according to the ministry, with Bulgarians, Romanians and Ukrainians next on the list.
An influx of immigrants into Greece between 1991 and 2001 caused the population to swell by around 700,000 and at least another 170,000 are believed to have settled since 2001, according to the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (IMEPO).
Greeks have so far been divided as to their stance on migrants.
A VPRC poll earlier this year showed more than half (54 percent) of those polled said they thought immigrants had boosted the Greek economy, while 56 percent blamed them for the country’s high jobless figures.
Just over 60 percent believe that migrants should be allowed to vote, while only 47 percent said they should have the right to to run as political candidates.
According to the Interior Ministry, the new program, titled Estia, will also aim at stamping out incidents of racism and xenophobia by raising community awareness on migrant issues. The Interior Ministry also said it will set up a migrant policy and social induction department.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Balkans: Macedonia clashes 'signal wider unrest'
Police display confiscated weaponry in Skopje, Nov. 9 (photo credit: MIA)
Belgrade and Skopje, 9 Nov.(AKI) – Macedonian police clashes with “criminal bands” on Wednesday in which six ethnic Albanians were killed and 13 arrested may signal wider conflict in the region, political and military analysts said on Friday. The police swept mountainous area near the town of Tetovo, bordering Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province, in search of armed bands which have been operating in the area. After a ten-hour shootout, six “criminals” were killed, police said, and a cache of heavy and light weapons were discovered.The weapons seized on the Sara Mountain were to be displayed to foreign military attaches in Skopje on Friday, police minister Gordana Jankulovska was quoted as saying by the MIA news agency. The police said most of the bandits involved in Wednesday's clashes recently escaped from jail in neighboring Kosovo, which has been under United Nations control since 1999. They bandits had been sentenced for various crimes and Macedonian authorities suspect they were helped to escape by ethnic Albanian guards, several of whom had been arrested afterwards.But despite Skopje’s insistence on the criminal aspect of the Wednesday shootout, a mysterious Tetovo-based organization calling itself 'The Political-military organizational committee of Kosovo liberation armies' said in a statement they were “forced to organise themselves into regular military units to defend the Albanian people and its territories”. Ethnic Albanians, who make about 25 per cent of Macedonia’s two million population, rebelled in 2001, but the dispute was settled by the Ohrid peace accord which granted them greater rights and regional autonomy.Tetovo, with predominantly ethnic Albanian population, was the centre of the rebellion and the police said most of those killed on Wednesday were spearheading the 2001 uprising. The Tetovo organisation said in the statement there would be no peace in the Balkans until all ethnic Albanians living in the region were free to unite with Albania.The unrest in Macedonia coincided with growing support from Western powers for majority ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, who demand independence from Serbia, despite strenuous opposition from Belgrade. A prominent Belgrade military analyst, Miroslav Lazanski, said Kosovo independence would provoke a domino effect in Macedonia, Montenegro and even Greece, which have a sizeable ethnic Albanian minority.“That means Macedonia is next,” Lazanski told Serbian news agency Tanjug. “Encouraging separatism and Kosovo's independence will surely raise tensions in Macedonia and spread the conflict there,” he said. “The high tide of violence and separatist ambitions” will later spread to Montenegro, Lazanski warned. “When you encourage one, others come forward with the same demands and they will not stop until they are all united in a Greater Albania,” he said. “What’s common to all Albanian political organisations is that they are a part of a single Albanian national plan in the Balkans,” said another analyst, Aleksandar Radic. Meanwhile, Kosovo ethnic Albanian leaders have warned that incidents like the one in Tetovo were detrimental to their independence drive and called for restraint.The Albanian foreign ministry in Tirana condemned violence in Macedonia and appealed to local authorities not to use excessive force in areas populated by ethnic Albanians. NATO airstrikes in 1999 drove out Serbian troops amid ethnic fighting and gross human rights abuses during a two-year war with ethnic Albanian guerrillas. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. Thousands of people died in the conflict.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Albania in nuclear export scheme John Hooper in Rome

Saturday November 10, 2007
The Guardian


It is one of the poorest countries in Europe, which still endures acute electricity shortages and almost daily blackouts, even in the capital.

Still, Albania is undaunted. In a proposal that has alarmed neighbouring Greece but elicited interest from Italy, the country is proposing to host nuclear plants that would supply electricity across the Adriatic by way of an underwater cable.

The news emerged at an Italo-Albanian business conference in Tirana, where the prime minister, Sali Berisha, said he aimed to turn Albania into a regional energy superpower - a glorified socket on the Adriatic capable of supplying cheap electricity to Balkan neighbours and Italy.

He said the government was consulting contractors such as Westinghouse. Zana Gonxholi, an economic adviser to the Albanian government, said a Franco-Swiss consortium had prepared a plan for a nuclear plant at Drac on the north coast.

An Albanian civil nuclear programme could not only help the country fill its own gaping power shortfalls, but get around popular resistance in Italy to nuclear generation. A referendum there in 1987 led to a five-year moratorium on nuclear power, and no government has since dared reopen the issue. But the idea has prompted alarm in neighbouring Greece.

The daily La Stampa yesterday reported that talks had been held with the Italian grid operator, Terna, on linking the Italian and Albanian electricity networks. Pier Ferdinando Casini, a leading candidate to take over from Silvio Berlusconi as leader of the Italian right, said the chance "must not be allowed to slip".

The prime minister, Romano Prodi, is due to visit Albania for talks early next month.

Friday, November 9, 2007


THE MAJER OF HIMARA VASSILIS BOLLANO VISITS THE STATE DEPARTAMENT

The Head of Municipality of Himara Vassilis Bollano had a tour and meetings in USA. He met with US Orthodox Archibishop Demetrius and some other high functionaries of Greek American Lobby of America including Father Kosmas Karavellas from Himara his origin.

Also Vassilis Bollano met with high represents of State Department during his tour in Washington. Bollano had special meeting with Member of US Congress as Congressmen’s Bilarakis and Sarbannas.

In the end of his tour in USA Bollano met with represent of Pan Epiriotic Federation of USA. For Bollano`s visit, the Greek Ambassador in Washington Alexandros Mallias, who is "Citizen Honore of Himara" made a Diner.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Albania's parliament votes to oust top prosecutor
The Associated PressPublished: November 5, 2007

PRISTINA, Serbia: Parliament voted Monday to oust Albania's top prosecutor for allegedly violating the country's constitution and failing to fight organized crime.

Lawmakers voted 77-37 to dismiss Prosecutor-General Theodhori Sollaku — a decision that must be ratified by President Bamir Topi in order to take effect.

Opposition parties had boycotted most of the impeachment process, accusing Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democratic Party of trying to seize control of the judicial system.

In Monday's vote, lawmakers backed the findings of an investigation by a parliamentary committee. It found Sollaku had failed to cooperate international law enforcement agencies, approved the release of 22 convicted criminals without proper cause, and failed to act in serious criminal cases.

Sollaku, who was once Berisha's legal adviser, rejected the allegations and called the effort to oust him "a subversive act and an institutional coup."

Corruption and organized crime are rife in Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries. President Topi, who took office in July, is likely to back the top prosecutor's removal.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Northern Epirus Forum and Himara Community protests in front of Albanian Embassy in Greece at November 5, 2007


The violation of Human Rights, the assimilisation process of lands and proprieties of Greek Community occupied from Albanian Mafia, the abusive decisions of fascist Albanian tribunals against the interest of Greek Community, the vandalism against Orthodox Churches, the prohibition of Greek Masmedia and TV stations for Greek Community who lives in Northern Epirus (Southern Albania) are the must important issues of massive protest against the Albanian government.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Violence possible after Kosovo talks, intelligence
Thursday, November 01, 2007 12:32 PM

AP. BELGRADE, Serbia-Serbia's intelligence agency warned Thursday of possible unrest in Kosovo when talks end in December about the separatist province's future status.

Rade Bulatovic, the head of Serbia's Security Information Agency, told a parliamentary committee that "protests, unrest and even Serb-Albanian conflicts are possible" in the U.N.-run region.

Bulatovic said the instability was "particularly expected" if Kosovo declares independence from Serbia following a Dec. 10 deadline set by international mediators in the negotiations.

Kosovo is formally part of Serbia, but its majority ethnic Albanian population are seeking independence. Belgrade strongly opposes the idea.

Internationally-brokered negotiations on the province's status have produced no agreement so far. The U.S., Russian and EU mediators have set the Dec. 10 deadline for any deal to be reached.

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have threatened to unilaterally declare independence if the negotiations fail to produce a result. Serbia has said it would never recognize Kosovo's independence.

There was no immediate comment from the U.N. authorities in Kosovo to Bulatovic's statement. U.N. and NATO officials have pledged to maintain peace and stability.

A 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian security forces in Kosovo left thousands dead and ended when NATO air attacks forced Belgrade to pull out of the province.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Southeast Europe Project
invites you to a forum as part of the
Tsakopoulos - Kounalakis Lecture Series

Enlightenment from Athens to America :
Reason and Religion in Democratic Society

with

Dr. Jennifer Hockenbery, Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department, Mount Mary College ( Wisconsin )

Thursday, November 8, 2007
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
5th Floor Conference Room


RSVP acceptances only sep@wilsoncenter.org
For directions visit www.wilsoncenter.org/directions
All events, unless otherwise noted, are held at the:

Woodrow Wilson Center
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004

Monday, October 29, 2007

Albania Lobbies Islamic Conference over Kosovo

29 10 2007 Tirana _ Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha has called on Egypt to persuade the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, OIC, member-states to recognize en bloc a possible declaration of independence by Kosovo.

While presenting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit with an overview of the situation in UN-administered Kosovo, Berisha asked his host to use Egypt’s considerable influence with the other Arab states.

“After December 10, Kosovo must declare independence in coordination with the USA and the EU. It can’t be a part of Serbia because historically it has not been a part of Serbia,” Berisha said during the meeting in Cairo on Sunday, media reported.

Although administered by the UN since the war of 1999, Kosovo formally belongs to Serbia which does not want to concede the Kosovo Albanians’ demand for independence.

Gheit promised the Albanian prime minister that his country would make a substantial effort to make Kosovo a priority issue at the next OIC Islamic Summit Conference, due in Senegal in March 2008.

Kosovo Albanian leaders have slammed the latest round of talks in Vienna on their homeland’s status as unproductive.

The current phase of talks since August has been overseen by a “Troika” of international mediators.

Several Kosovar leaders have declared that if the ongoing negotiations fail to produce agreement, Kosovo should press ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence.

Albania announced it was joining the OIC in 1992, a few months after the collapse of its hardline communist regime.

It is the only country in Europe where the majority of the population have a Muslim cultural background.
Prime Minister Berisha met with Commissioner of Human Rights of EU Hammarberg:

Albania is under observation of High Commissioner of Human Rigths of EU, who arrived in Tirana last Sunday. During meeting between the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the EU commissioner Hammarberg the epicenter of the debate was over alls the situation of greek minority, which claimed from prime minister as "good and normal Relations". Particlularly the Prime Minister Berisha declares in the end of meeting with EU Commissioner Hammarberg that: "The greek Minority and HRUP is part of my governament coalition"

But the paradoxes about "existence" of Greek Minority continue often to presente to the high european representatives on "tow standarts"; The first; as a greek minority represent inside HRUP (Human Rights Union Party) as coalition member of government "privileged as good relations between Athens and Tirana" and The second; The reality of another antagonism showed, the realy discrimination situation against the Greek Community.....the continuing of violation of human rights from vandalism to the greek orthodox churches, the land assimilisation proces, the greek schools prohibites, the total block of greek media, the counting general popullation, the decisions of albanian tribunals to conquiste proprieties, to the massive escape of the greek popullation obligated to leave their mother lands to go in greece, etcc..


Commissioner Hammarberg to assess human rights situation in Albania.

Strasbourg, 26.10.2007 – Starting Monday 29 October, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, will pay a five-day high-level official visit to Albania to assess the overall human rights situation in the country.

Mr Hammarberg’s agenda focuses on a broad range of issues including the functioning of the judiciary, conditions of detention, torture and ill-treatment, trafficking in human beings, gender equality, Roma and minority rights as well as social and economic rights. Accompanied by three members of his Office, Commissioner Hammarberg will also visit various institutions such as a police station, detention centre, shelter and psychiatric establishment in Tirana, Shkodra, Vlorë and Elbasan.

During the visit, the Commissioner will meet with top State authorities including the President, Mr Bamir Topi, the Prime Minister, Mr Sali Berisha, and the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Jozefina Topalli. Further talks will be held with ministers and parliamentarians, the Presidents of the Constitutional Court and High Council of Justice, the Prosecutor General, the Ombudsman and local authorities. Moreover, Mr Hammarberg’s agenda includes meetings with representatives of the civil society and international organisations.

The Commissioner will present his preliminary observations on Friday 2 November at 11h00 during a press conference organised in the Council of Europe’s Information Office in Tirana (Sheshi Skenderbej, Palatti i Kultures, Kati I pare).

The visit is part of the activities carried out in accordance with the Commissioner’s mandate to assess the implementation of human rights obligations by all Council of Europe’s member States. An assessment report with relevant recommendations will be presented and published within three months after the visit.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Vlora Region against Investment Pipeline Burgas Vlora. But the Central Election Commission does not aprove the referendum for Thermo Central Electric which will be instald in Vlora Region. The albanian oposition supports the rights of people of Vlora`s Region.

“Referendum or Protests”: This is the ultimatum made by Vloras`s Region represent in the end of decision of Central Election Commission of Albania.
The Berisha`s Government is raising the tenssion against people of Vlora. The Burgas Vlore is a Pipeline Transporter, which financed from Company associated by V/American President Dick Chaney, but is under volation of population of region of Vlora Bay.

AMBO pipeline is a planned oil pipeline from Bulgarian Black Sea port Burgas via Macedonia to Albanian Adriatic port Vlore. The aim of the 894 kilometer long trans-Balkan pipeline is to bypass Turkish straits in transportation of Russian and Caspian oil. The pipeline is expected to cost about 1.5 billion USD and it will transport 750,000 barrels of oil per day.[1] There will be four pump stations, two in Bulgaria and one each in Macedonia and Albania, constructed along the route.

The pipeline is planned to be built and operated by the US-registered Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation (AMBO). The project is backed by the US government, who financed a feasibility study of pipeline.[2]

Burgas Vlora is linked with V/American President Dick Chaney, which is not favorite alternative from peoples of the area of Vlora Region which have requested referendum for the future of the Region.

The only alternative energy of AMBO pipeline of Balkan Region is Burgas Alexandropoulos, which has begun the start project much of it financed from “Latsis Group” a multi millioner from Northern Epirus (Old Epirus Province separated from Greece).

Anyway, the albanian oposition (Left Coalition headed from Socialist Party) expresed it politicaly suport to people of Vlora`s Region for the democratic rights about the referendum.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Greek revival: High style in Athens

Ochre & Brown Boutique Hotel has a prime location in the Psyrri district
The clothing boutique Bettina carries haute designers and edgier labels
Head to Pasaji for a mix of traditional and modern Mediterranean cuisine



By Eleni N. Gage


CNN -- Since the 2004 Olympics, Greece's ancient capital, Athens, has undergone a much-needed face-lift. And with a new look drawing international attention, the city is hitting its stride. Athens has a thriving contemporary art scene that contrasts with its ancient landmarks.
Stay
True to the hotel's name, the 11 modern rooms at the new Ochre & Brown Boutique Hotel (7 Leokoriou St.; 30-210/331-2950; ochreandbrown.com; doubles from $230) are swathed in earthy colors and brightened with accents of bright red, orange and pink. The hotel's best asset: a prime location in the up-and-coming Psyrri district, bridging old and new Athens. Stroll the nearby pedestrian walkway that encircles the Acropolis, or spend time in the modern art galleries and hub of Athens's thriving nightlife.

If you prefer Neoclassical opulence to boutique flair, check into the 1877 Hotel Grande Bretagne (Syndagma Square; 30-210/333-0000; grandebretagne.gr; doubles from $781). The ground floor holds a 12,000-square-foot spa with six thermal suites. Even more impressive is the rooftop restaurant, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the Acropolis.

The affordable gray and blue Periscope (22 Haritos St.; 30-210/729-7200; periscope.gr; doubles from $200) pays homage to modern-day Athens. Twelve of the hotel's 21 guest-room ceilings are papered with aerial photos of the city.

Set in the fashionable Kolonaki neighborhood, the clothing boutique Bettina (29 Anagnostopoulou St. and 40 Pindarou; 30-210/339-2094) carries haute designers such as Superfine on the ground floor and edgier labels --ThreeAsFour and Greek newcomer Angelos Frentzos -- on the top two.

Around the corner, the tiny jewelry shop Apriati (29 Pindarou; 30-210/360-7878) sells whimsical baubles. Most noteworthy are the 18-karat-gold necklaces that come with your choice of pendants: a hotel-room key or a pig (in honor of the current Chinese year).

Greece's hottest export these days? Mastiha, or mastic, a pungent resin from a tree that grows only on the island of Chios and is known for its therapeutic properties (a mastiha spa just opened in New York City). At the Mastiha Shop (6 Panepistimiou Sudagma; 30-210/363-2750), you'll find flavored sweets as well as beauty products from the coveted Greek naturopathic line, Korres.

The Center of Hellenic Tradition (36 Pandrossou St.; 30-210/321-3023), arguably the prettiest store in Plaka, the city's tourist hotbed, forgoes kitschy souvenirs for ceramic plates from the island of Rhodes and intricately carved wooden frames and trays from Epiros.

Do . Athenian heritage is visible at every turn, from the sculptures at the National Archaeological Museum (44 Patission; 30-210/821-7717; culture.gr) to the collection of Cypriot antiquities at the Museum of Cycladic Art (4 Neophytou Douka St.; 30-210/722-8321; cycladic-m.gr). But over the past several years, the city's contemporary art scene has evolved, with museums such as the Herakleidon Experience in Visual Arts (16 Thissio; 30-210/346-1981; herakleidon-art.gr) and the new three-story Pireos Street Annexe (138 Pireos St.; 30-210/345-3111; benaki.gr) staging rotating exhibitions of recent art and photography.

After dark, bypass the touts trying to lure you into Plaka's mediocre night spots and head to Brettos Bar (41 Kydathineon St.; 30-210/323-2110). This narrow hideaway has 28 different liqueurs, all distilled in-house. Flavors range from amaretto to the surprisingly subtle rose petal. To hear live traditional Greek music, swing by the spacious, low-lit restaurant lounge Hrisomilo (12 Agatharchou; 30-210/331-7061), in the Psyrri district.

Eat. French food with a Greek twist earned Spondi (5 Pyrronos St.; 30-210/752-0658; dinner for two $200) a Michelin star in 2003. The three-story Neoclassical restaurant serves dishes such as roast lamb with candied lemon, pineapple, and coriander -- and, for dessert, a velvety chocolate ganache cake with tonka-bean ice cream.

At Cretan-inspired Alatsi (13 Vrasida; 30-210/721-0501; dinner for two $116), writers and artists gather for fresh stamangathi greens drizzled in lemon and olive oil -- the secret to long life, according to the locals -- and stewed chicken with noodles.

For a mix of traditional and modern Mediterranean cuisine, head to Pasaji (Stoa Spiromilou, CityLink; 30-210/322-0714; dinner for two $77). Don't miss the addictive Anatolian phyllo -- wrapped rolls stuffed with graviera cheese.

The low-key taverna Filoistron (23 Apostolou Pavlou; 30-210/342-2897; dinner for two $45) sticks to delicious basics such as rollakia -- braised suckling pig wrapped in eggplant. Snag a table on the roof deck for a spectacular nighttime view of Mount Lycabettus.
FIRE INSIDE ORTHODOX CATEDRAL OF KORICA

Photo:The Orthosox Cathedral of Korica

“Unknown persons” burned some objects inside cathedral but many people who where walking near cathedral at the moment, reacted immediately stopping the fires.

After a meeting a front of Orthodox Cathedral of Korca by Romes Community, means that during the night “unknown persons” have burned some objects inside Cathedral, stimulated also with super carburant explosive. The reaction of orthodox community of Korca has been admired which together with police forces made under control the fires.

Is the firs time that failed a tentative to burn the must Orthodox Cathedral of Albania, in Korca Rergion, constructed after 1997. In Albanian opinion this tragic eveniment has been not evidenced as the bad precedent to destruct the religions harmony of Albania, even according to orthodox community, the vandalism against Byzantine Churches of Albania, have been target to violate existing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brutal incident against the represent of Greek Minority in Albanian Parliament
Photo: Vangjel Tavos
On Wednesday night the private house of Parliament Member of Albania (Socialist Party) in Argirokaster Region, Jorgutsati village, Vangjel Tavos has been violated from polices authority. According to “News 24 TV” an independent broadcaster media in Tirana, Tavos also a represent of Greek Minority in Albanian Parliament, has denounced the arrogance used from security authorities during a control with out persecutor office mandate.

Tavos accuses police Albanian authority for brutal violation of civil rights on press conference made after incident. Tavos who in this time was in Tirana, was informed from his parents in Jorgutsati for brutal intervention inside his private house from police uniform. “Is absurd this eveniment to control a member of Albanian parliament having also “special mandate”. “For what raisons makes ..said Tavos.

This is the second time that the Albanian authority has "violated" the Greek represent in Albanian Parliament. Tow years ago in an incident near village Nepravista, Argirokaster Region, Tavos has been target from Special Forces of Albanian authority violating him during a demonstration of his electorate minority zone.
Macedonian policeman killed in ambush near Kosovo

Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:58am EDT

SKOPJE, Oct 24 (Reuters) - A Macedonian policeman was killed and two were injured when their patrol car was ambushed by armed men in a volatile region near the border with the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, officials said on Wednesday."

A police team patrolling the area near the Macedonia-Kosovo border was ambushed and shot at with automatic rifles," a police spokesman told Reuters."They lost control and their vehicle crashed."The incident took place near the border post of Kodra Fura. The area is not far from the village of Tanusevci, an ethnic Albanian enclave that was at the centre of a 2001 separatist insurgency that was resolved by NATO and EU diplomacy.

Armed gangs and smugglers have carved out a police no-go area around Tanusevci, heightening fears of regional unrest if ethnic Albanians in Kosovo lose patience with the West's stalled efforts to grant them independence from Serbia.