Friday, October 19, 2007

NATO cautious on Albania's membership hopes
Published: October 19, 2007
BRUSSELS, Belgium: NATO warned Albania on Friday that it must push through more reforms of its justice and political system to win early membership in the Western military alliance.

"The invitation tickets are not punched yet; further reform is necessary," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after a meeting with Albanian's president Bamir Topi. "A lot of work will still have to be done and no guarantees can be given." Albania, along with Macedonia and Croatia, hopes to be invited to join NATO at a meeting of allied leaders next April in Bucharest, Romania.

Topi pledged that Albania would carry through the reforms and stressed the high level of support for membership among political parties and the Albanian public. "This is a very significant moment for Albania," Topi said. "I guarantee that we will deepen the reforms of the justice and electoral system, and focus attention on the fight against organized crime and corruption."


De Hoop Scheffer praised Albania's participation in NATO's military mission in Afghanistan and its "moderating voice" in the Balkans amid growing tension over the final status of Kosovo.
However, he said it was too early to judge if Albania would receive its membership invitation in Bucharest.
NATO officials say Croatia is expected to receive an invite in April, but doubts remain about the prospects for Albania and Macedonia.

Albania is one of Europe's poorest nations. Since the collapse of communist rule in 1991, it has sought to join NATO and the European Union, but its progress has been slowed by political instability and corruption.
However, Albania has developed military cooperation with the 26-nation NATO alliance and currently has 138 soldiers serving alongside NATO troops in Afghanistan.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

ALBANIA; Importance of Freedom of the Press, Monitoring by US Embassy

Daily Press Briefing Oct. 18, 2007
U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing by Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey

The Greek Journalist Llambros Papantoniu asks about ulterior develompents in Albania.

Q.... On Albania, Mr. Casey, the Greeks in Northern Epirus, otherwise the Kosovo of Albania, protested yesterday against banning of Greek TV stations in Albania. Since the Albanian move against the freedom of the press, I'm wondering if you could any comment.

MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros, I'm not familiar with the individual incident. Obviously we support freedom of the press and freedom of expression, whether that's in Albania or Greece or any other country. We believe it's important for you and your colleagues and others in the news media to be able to operate freely, to report on individual policies and ideas and events as they see fit. So again I'm not familiar with this specific incident. But again we would encourage all countries to exercise tolerance and make sure that they are doing nothing that would inhibit freedom of the press.


Q....Mr. Casey, is your embassy in Tirana watching carefully the systematic destruction of the Greek Byzantine church in Northern Epirus by the Albanian authorities, as it was reported extensively? Any comment?


MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros, I'd refer you to the embassy in terms of what they are following or not. Certainly any issues related to religious freedom as well as freedom of the press are things that our embassies all throughout the world routinely monitor and cover. Okay, Mr. Lambros. Now is the last --
The Foreign Minster of Greece Dora Bakogianis met with the Director of Minorities Agency of Albania Kostandina Bezanis

Photo: Bakogianis and Bezanis

During the meeting in Athens, tow personalities spoken about Greek Albanian relations and particularly for the Greek Ethnic Minority which lives Albania.

Bezanis expressed Ms. Bakogianis the efforts of Minorities Agency of Albania to be implemented with European standards by Albanian state. Ms. Bakogianis who met Ms. Bezanis for the second time inside six months said for Albanian Greek relations and particularly the efforts of Greece to help Albanian`s integration to Nato and European Union.

Ms. Bezanis is also an American Citizen and member General Council of Pan Epiriotic Federation of the World. His father Theodoris Bezanis has been member of Trial hold against five Omonia`s represent in 1994.

Nevertheless the HRUP (The Party which supports politically the Greek Minority of Albania) has been against continuing of Albanian Government, proposing the new composition of Albanian Government headed from Sali Berisha. The Chairman of HRUP Evangelos Doules is counter balance to any pressing regarding the polemics about the General Attorney Theodoris Solaku.

HRUP is member of Berisha`s government coalition holding the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues since last parliamentary elections of 2005. HRUP Has three represent of Albanian parliament in total 140 posts. HRUP has been also member of government coalition headed from Fatos Nano from 1997 to 2005, declaring as “Indipendent Party, which support Minorities in Albania, particularly the Greek Minority.
European Commission gives €200 million to reform Albania's economy, judiciary, fight poverty

The Associated Press
Published: October 18, 2007

Poto: Solana and Berisha

TIRANA, Albania: The European Commission will give Albania €200 million (US$284.5 million) in a three-year program to help the country reform its economy and judiciary, promote social development and fight poverty, officials said Thursday.


The program, which will run until 2009, was announced by the commission's office in Tirana and the Albanian Ministry of European Integration. It aims to strengthen Albania's democratic institutions and the rule of law, reform its public administration, promote economic reforms, enhance human and minority rights and gender equality, develop civil society and regional co-operation, strengthen sustainable development and reduce poverty, according to a statement. The program will also help the country align its laws with EU legislation. The aid package comes under an assistance program for countries that are considered possible future members of the European Union.

Last year Tirana signed a pre-membership agreement with the EU, an initial step toward joining the 27-member union. The agreement allows it to benefit from the assistance program under EU budgets for 2007-2009 for transition assistance, institution building and cross-border cooperation.

Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, who heads the European Commission's delegation to Albania, said the Albanian government would be expected to gradually assume responsibility for implementing the program. Brussels also wants more media freedom, an independent judiciary, stronger property rights and a tougher fight against corruption in Albania, a Balkan country of about 3.2 million people, which is one of the poorest in Europe.

The EU is the biggest aid donor to Albania, providing more than €1.2 billion (US$1.7 billion) since 1991.
Omonia protests against banning of Greek TV stations in Albania, while in Southern continue violation of Byzantine churches.

Photo: The Orhodox Byzantine Monastir of Zvernetsi
Thursday, 18 October 2007

Omonia, the organization of the Greek minority in Albania, voiced criticism against the Albanian Government for shutting down of transmitting antennas of five Greek TV stations in southern Albania.

Omonia raised accusations that the Greek-language TV programs watched by the Greek minority have been shut down on purpose. The Albanian Government's move was condemned also by the Mayor of Girocastro and the other local authorities in the region. According to them, the Government suspends the right of Greeks to watch TV programmes on their mother tongue.

The Albanian Broadcasting Council set out a country-wide action for shutting down the TV stations that lack a proper broadcasting license. The Council announced that except for those in south Albania, a number of other TV stations in central part of the country have been closed.

In Addition of anti hellenisation process, a numerous orthodox Byzantine churches has been target by “as usually unknown persons”. The Old Byzantine Churche of Zvernetsi, part of Monastery in North of Vlora Region, where live a large Greek community (not known officially from Albanian authorities) has been violated.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

THE GREEK FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES BEGINING...
Cabinet touches on foreign policy issues, EU Reform Treaty
PHOTO: Karamanlis and Bush
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Inner Cabinet focusing on foreign policy issues, especially the reform treaty for creating a European Union Constitution.
After the meeting, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said she had briefed the Cabinet in detail on the progress made on the Reform Treaty, saying the issue was "heading for a happy ending". She predicted that many months of work leading to the Reform Treaty would be approved by EU leaders at the upcoming informal summit in Lisbon, saying that it would allow Europe to turn a new page with the treaty in force. "We hope that this will happen before the end of the year, so that 2008 will be the year for the ratification of the new European Reform Treaty and the start of this new page, which will essentially be completed with the European elections of 2009," the minister said.
Another issue addressed during the meeting was Greece's dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name, and results of her talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on the specific issue a day earlier, Bakoyannis reported. "Apart from this, our positions on the FYROM issue are known and we have no new developments," she added. The foreign minister also clarified that the convening a council of political party leaders had not been discussed by the Cabinet.
"The Greek side has made clear that what it wants is to find a mutually acceptable solution, a mutually acceptable name, one that will allow both countries to set their relations on a new path and enter a better period," Bakoyannis stressed. Apart from the above, she added, the meeting on Tuesday focused on Kosovo and other issues of regional interest, in addition to a series of issues concerning Greek foreign policy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Foreign Albanian Minister Lulezim Basha is involved at investigation for Durres Kukesi High Way corruption.
Photo: Berisha and Basha
The request was presented by economic crime directory and the request was confirmed from General Attorney. Charges against Basha will be present after communication with parliament.
The Prosecutor hands over request immunity removal.

During last days Theodhori Sollaku is target to leave his position as General Attorney by Government Coalition headed from Sali Berisha. Even the high level Organized Crime and Corruption risks Albania to joint to NATO Alliance and EU, the opposition coalition parties consider the polemics about General Attorney as “The Last Battle” of Prime Minister Berisha to unification his powerful mandate, a dangerous precedent seeing the his period when he was President of Albania 1992 - 1997. The new President Elected Bamir Topi was also high represent of Democratic Party of Sali Berisha

The Albanian Kosovo High Way, 250 km a “patriotic investment” is speaking in Albanian opinion as the investment of Greater Albania which links Kosovo and Albania with finances founds of Albanian people (!!!). The politic opposition of Albania is against Turkish American company “BETCHEL”, which is raising the abusive project from 450 to 850 million euro.