Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
13/11/2009TIRANA, Albania -- The opposition Socialist Party's (SP) two month-long parliamentary boycott does not hinder the visa liberalisation that Albania is seeking in 2010, Prime Minister Sali Berisha told lawmakers Thursday (November 12th).
He reiterated that the majority is ready to establish a parliamentary panel to look into the SP's demands. The SP insists the June general elections were "manipulated" and says the boycott will continue until an investigation is conducted.
A crack in the party surfaced Thursday when five SP lawmakers invited colleagues to quit the boycott for the sake of EU integration reforms and return to parliament next week.
US Urges Solution to Albania Political Crises13 November 2009
US Ambassador in Tirana John L Withers called on Prime Minister Sali Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to find common ground and resolve the politcal row that has engulfed the country since the 28 June parliamentary elections.
“Our position (on the parliamentary boycott) is that it would really be for the best if dialogue could occur among the leading political actors to reach some sort of compromise that would end this particular stalemate,” said Withers in a statement.
“I think we all feel that not having the opposition in the parliament is not good for the country as a whole,” he noted, adding that: “We would like to see that resolved, but we think that it is absolutely vital (to understand) that this is really is a question for the Albanian political leadership to resolve (and) we hope that they can resolve it among themselves and things can go back to the way that they should be.”
The Socialist Party, headed by Tirana's mayor Rama, has boycotted parliamentary sessions ever since the new parliament was reconfigured in September, after the June poll.
Rama considers the electoral process as marred by fraud and has asked for a recount of the vote as precondition for his deputies to return to parliament. The request has been denied by the Democratic Party headed coalition of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who has argued that the courts have already given their rulings on the election results, and the government cannot circumvent their authority.
Tου Σταυρου Τζιμα
Οι δύο πιο σημαντικές συμφωνίες που υπέγραψαν τα τελευταία χρόνια η Ελλάδα και η Αλβανία παραμένουν μετέωρες. Η μία αφορά τα θαλάσσια σύνορα των δύο χωρών και η άλλη τα νεκροταφεία των Ελλήνων στρατιωτών που σκοτώθηκαν το 1940 στον ελληνοϊταλικό πόλεμο. Υπογράφτηκαν από τις κυβερνήσεις Μπερίσα και Καραμανλή, αλλά δεν έχουν επικυρωθεί ακόμη από το αλβανικό Κοινοβούλιο.
Mολονότι οι υπογραφές μπήκαν με τον πιο επίσημο τρόπο, οι συμφωνίες, αντί να διευθετήσουν εκκρεμότητες, κινδυνεύουν να καταστούν σημεία τριβής στις σχέσεις των δύο χωρών. Ούτε η ελληνική Βουλή έχει βεβαίως κυρώσει τις συμφωνίες ακόμη, όμως στην Αλβανία έχουν καταστεί, ειδικά εκείνη για τα σύνορα, αντικείμενο σφοδρής κομματικής διαμάχης, γεγονός που δεν αφήνει αδιάφορη την Αθήνα.
Η σοσιαλιστική αντιπολίτευση και οι σύμμαχοί της εκδήλωσαν εκ των υστέρων υπόνοιες ότι οι Ελληνες τους έκλεψαν στη χάραξη της θαλάσσιας οριογραμμής και προσέφυγαν στο συνταγματικό δικαστήριο εναντίον της συμφωνίας. Ταυτοχρόνως, μερίδα του πολιτικού συστήματος και της πνευματικής ελίτ θεωρεί ότι η παρουσία νεκροταφείων στην Κλεισούρα και τους Βουλιαράτες υποδηλώνει ελληνικές βλέψεις στην Αλβανία και βάλλει κατά της συμφωνίας.
Στο ίδιο μήκος κύματος κάποια ΜΜΕ των Τιράνων, που τροφοδοτούν την κοινή γνώμη με σενάρια συνωμοσίας των Ελλήνων. Θα περίμενε κανείς ότι η ατμόσφαιρα καχυποψίας που επί μισό και πλέον αιώνα συσσώρευσε γκρίζα σύννεφα στον «μοιρασμένο ουρανό» των δύο γειτόνων έχει διαλυθεί.
Η αλήθεια είναι ότι μετά την κατάρρευση του καθεστώτος Χότζα έγιναν πράγματα και από τις δύο πλευρές που έσπρωξαν τις ελληνοαλβανικές σχέσεις στο χείλος του γκρεμού. Δικοί μας ακραίοι εθνικιστικοί κύκλοι και υψηλών πατριωτικών τόνων επίδοξοι ηγέτες -ανάμεσά τους κάποιοι που σήμερα διεκδικούν κορυφαίους ρόλους στην πολιτική ζωή- ονειρεύονταν αλλαγές του συνοριακού status και ενίσχυσαν λογικές και πρακτικές που ερέθιζαν και έδιναν τροφή στον αλβανικό εθνικισμό. Αυτός ξεσπούσε στην ελληνική μειονότητα, ασκώντας εις βάρος των Βορειοηπειρωτών άγρια τρομοκρατία, με απώτερο σκοπό την εθνική εκκαθάριση του νότου και εν πολλοίς το πέτυχε, αξιοποιώντας με τον καλύτερο γι’ αυτόν τρόπο τα λάθη της Αθήνας.
Φαίνεται ότι τα ταμπού δεν έχουν ξεπεραστεί, μολονότι οι σχέσεις μεταξύ των δύο χωρών είναι άριστες και οι όποιες ιστορικές διεκδικήσεις καθίστανται άνευ νοήματος, δεδομένου ότι στο -σύντομο ελπίζω- μέλλον οι δύο γείτονες θα είναι μέλη της Ε.Ε. και τα σύνορα θα πέσουν.
Το άσχημο είναι ότι εν υπνώσει προκαταλήψεις και εθνικές φοβίες εξάπτονται, ειδικά στην Αλβανία, με μοναδική ευκολία από κόμματα και πολιτικούς για εσωτερική κατανάλωση, γεγονός που κάθε άλλο παρά ενισχύει την εικόνα της χώρας στην Ευρώπη.
NATO and EURO-POL observing everything by electronic panel investigation in Albania. Brussels asks Tirana for new security measures and EU obligations for stability of the country
His name is Lizander Saraci, is one of the Albanian emigrant who lives from long times in Europe, annalist and opinionist in Albanian media, who often menaces member and personalities of the Greek Community of Albania, particularly journalists who have the Greek origin from Northern Epirus in Albania.
This is the last menace, only some days ago, during his comments on Albanian nationalist blogs, who claims opened for the dead of Greek journalists.
This person comes and comments systematically in the Albanian nationalist media against the leader of the Albanian Orthodox Church his Eminence Anastas Janullatos organizing petitions against his stay at the top of the Albanian Orthodox Church, when this is the right of Greeks and Albanian citizen orthodox community to chose their patriarch or high represents.
Anyway, NATO and EURO-POL observing everything by electronic panel investigation in Albania. Brussels asks Tirana for new security measures and EU obligations for stability of the country
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Balkans remains the EU's litmus test
For two decades, the western Balkans has been a real-life testing ground of the foreign policy of the European Union. While nobody wanted it that way, the EU's common foreign and security policy was born in the context of the Balkan wars in the 1990s. Since then, the Balkans has been the frontier for the EU's evolving foreign policy.
It was a difficult birth, and we learned hard lessons. As a result, we are today more capable of working for peace and stability.
In recent years, the European perspective has helped stabilise the western Balkans. The prospect of and conditions for joining the EU have driven democratic and economic reforms forward.
Croatia is nearing the finishing line, after four years of negotiations. We have free-trade arrangements in place with the rest of the western Balkans – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. We are also working to extend visa-free travel next January to the countries that have met the EU's conditions, especially the issuing of biometric passports.
Still, this progress remains fragile. Despite relative political stability in the region, there is no ‘end of history' in sight. We cannot afford to lull ourselves into complacency when facing dangerous political minefields in the western Balkans, either in the form of bilateral problems between certain countries, or domestic stalemates in others.
Therefore, we must continue what I would call a policy of political de-mining in the western Balkans. That means tackling these problems one by one, by combining the EU's soft power and classical tools of diplomacy.
We have seen some successes, such as the recent agreement on arbitration to solve the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, which was signed in Stockholm on 4 November. This enabled us to unblock and resume Croatia's accession talks after a long break.
Next, we want to see progress on the name issue of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The country is a positive example of the EU's gravitational pull and has performed impressively in EU-related reforms after years of stagnation. This enabled the European Commission last month to recommend opening accession negotiations with the country.
The governments in both Skopje and Athens have a fresh and strong mandate and have started to engage in serious talks. There should now be a real chance to settle this difficult bilateral issue, which has hampered progress in that corner of the region for 18 years.
Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains in a self-inflicted political stalemate that has dragged it backwards recently. In October, together with Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, I met the leaders of the country on two occasions in Camp Butmir in Sarajevo to try to unblock the stalemate.
Bosnia and Herzegovina risks being left permanently behind the other countries of the region in EU and NATO integration. We offered its leaders a package of measures – including constitutional changes – that would jump-start the country's EU and NATO integration.
I hope, for the sake of their citizens and the western Balkans as a whole, that the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina will commit themselves to a compromise that will help the country move forward. This is the last chance for the present generation of political leaders to bring the country into the European mainstream, which is deeply wanted by its citizens.
Our policy of stabilisation – sometimes also called enlargement – in the western Balkans has wider implications for the EU's foreign policy and its global role. We must learn from our experience there and apply these lessons when developing a more robust and effective foreign policy.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty soon, we stand before a historic opportunity to move the EU's foreign policy and global role to a new level.
The EU's credibility as a global actor continues to rest on our ability to shape our own immediate neighbourhood. In south-eastern Europe we can make a real difference. This is where the EU's common foreign and security policy has proven its value.
Olli Rehn is the European commissioner for enlargement.
Bollanos meetings during dinner hosted with V/US President Joe Biden and US Secretary Hillary Clinton
November 6, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden and his wife hosted a formal dinner on Nov. 4, at the Vice Presidential Residence to honor His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who during this third leg of his trip to the United States is visiting Washington, DC.His All Holiness and the Vice President had a long and fruitful meeting immediately prior to the dinner, where issues of mutual interest were discussed including religious freedom and religious tolerance, the interreligious and intercultural dialogue initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki and the leadership role of His All Holiness for the preservation of the natural environment.
Also, a reception and dinner was held in honor of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew hosted by the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Ben Franklin Room at the Department of State on November 5, 2009.
During the dinners the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeow, was accompanied from high personalities of the Greek American lobby including the leader of Pan Epirotic Federation of USA Nicholas Gage, the Congressman Gus Billirakis, the President of "Omonia"Vassilis Bollanos ecct
Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina must catch up on the reforms needed to qualify for a short-stay visa waiver like those of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, said MEPs on Thursday. The European Commission should report on the two countries' progress early in 2010, and also start a dialogue on visas with Kosovo, they added.
MEPs reiterated that the visa liberalisation dialogue places all countries on an equal footing, without any discrimination, and that the same criteria (e.g. progress in introducing biometric passports and improving border control and policing), should apply to all countries concerned. They called on Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt the reforms needed to meet the requirements in full, with the Commission's help, and asked the Commission to report back on their progress early in 2010.The Commission had proposed that short-stay (less than three months) visa requirements be waived for FYROM, Serbia and Montenegro, but Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina did not qualify. Members said that both should catch up as soon as possible, without lowering the standards common to all. They also underlined that Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina had made further progress since the Commission published its last assessment
Albania and Bosnia should be named in both annexes I and II
MEPs propose to add Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the list of visa-free countries (annex II of the proposal), albeit with a footnote stating that the visa exemption would take effect only after an assessment by the Commission that the country in question meets all the benchmarks and in accordance with the procedures as provided by the Treaty. Both provisionally remain in annex I (countries whose citizens require a visa).
Sucesfull visit in USA of the President of the Greek Organisation Vassilios Bollanos
While the head of Greek Minority and Mayor of Himara Vassilis Bollanos continues his successfully visit in Washington and in State Department, the propaganda of Berisha and his beniamins Spyros Kseras and others to deliberately divided the Greek factor in Albania.
The Anti Greek propaganda in Albania is shown especially noticeable after the appointment of Minister Spyros Kseras in the Berisha government, for which Berisha and Albanian media claim that now controls "Omonia", the Greek Organization.
But the facts in reality, show another picture. The Greek Lobby and especially the Pan Epiriote Federation of America is now stronger than ever, since its leader Vassilis Bollanos expected from higher levels of American policy including V/President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
According to latest news from Washington, the Republican Congressman Gus Billirakis will raise the Nortnern Epirus issue on the US Congress.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
November , 2009
Bollanos in Washington, meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Washington, November 1, 2009
Chairman of Municipality of Himara and also President of the organization "Omonia" (the Greek Ethnic Community of Albania) is visiting this week the United States of America among invited on the historic visit of Patriarch Bartholomeu in Washington. During the celebrations and meetings organized with this case, the President Bollano will have meetings with the Greek American Senator Olympia Stone and Greek American Congressman Gus Billirakis.
But special meetings he will have in this case with Himariot Lobby in USA and especially with former CIA Director George Tenet, the Pan Epiriot Federation Lobby represent Nicholas Gage and with top clerics including Orthodox Church Archbishop of America Demetrios and Patriarch Bartholomeu.
Meanwhile sources from Washington, have confirmed for SManalysis that Vassilis Bollanos will have an important meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior officials of administration of State Department. The meeting is mediate under the intervention of George Tenet, a personal friend of the family of Former President of USA Bill Clinton.
Photos: Rep. Cong. Gus Billirakis, The President Clinton with George Tenet, Nicholas Gage
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Tensions between the Albanian government and the opposition Socialist Party (SP) reached Brussels on Tuesday (November 10th), where a delegation from Tirana was reporting on issues related to Albania's visa liberalisation process and EU integration. Foreign Minister Ilir Meta presented reforms undertaken by the government and preparations for the completion of a questionnaire regarding the country's EU accession processes. "Albania will fulfil all of its duties regarding the visa liberalisation with the EU and will strengthen co-operation with the European Parliament," said Meta after meeting with Nikolaos Chountis, rapporteur for Albania.
Meta added that the government will meet all of the opposition's demands, as long as this does not interfere with court decisions or judicial independence. In effect, this means rejecting the SP's request to open disputed ballot boxes from the June general elections. SP Secretary for Foreign Affairs Arta Dade, who was also in Brussels, insisted there is no law against investigating election results. SP lawmakers have been boycotting parliament sessions for weeks, demanding a thorough investigation of the elections.Separately Tuesday, Interior Minister Lulzim Basha asked police to step up their efforts in order to meet visa liberalisation criteria set by the EU. During a meeting with senior state police officials, he announced the continuation of reforms aimed at better results in fighting organised crime, corruption and financial crimes.
ND leadership race: Avramopoulos backs Samaras
With the campaigning in main opposition New Democracy (ND) in full swing in the run-up to the November 29 election for a new party leader, former health minister and past Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who recently pulled out of the race for the party leadership, on Tuesday announced that he was putting his backing behind former culture minister Antonis Samaras, one of the three remaining candidates for the ND presidency. The other two candidates are former foreign minister and one-time Athens mayor Dora Bakoyannis, and current Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.
Avramopoulos announced his decision in a joint appearance with Samaras.
"I stand at his side and back his candidacy," Avramopoulos said, adding that "the selection of Antonis (Samaras) leads to greater cohesion, secures the unity, of a party of institutions and principles, of an open party with a democratic operation".
Avramopoulos said that some cadres had "greatly and deeply hurt" the party's voters "and we need to bring them back", and criticised past attitudes, "personal mechanisms" and "behind-the-scenes operations" that cost the party dearly.
He said his decision "has nothing to do with personal sentiments and bargaining".
"ND is one, and united. The needs of the times demand policies that do not stand on individuals. They require unanimity, solidarity and common work," he added.
Avramopoulos further said that his proposal for the election of the party leader by the ND grass roots had been "a first step for an open democratic party without personal mechanisms", adding his belief that "we need to select a politician with political terms, and I agree with Antonis Samaras that we must convince the voters who left to return with our attitude and our work".
Referring to the center field of the political spectrum, Avramopoulos explained that this was not a geographical concept but is determined with political characteristics.Samaras, in turn, warmly welcomed Avramopoulos' decision, adding that, at the ND extraordinary congress held last weekend, which opened the vote for the party leader to the entire body of the ND registered members, "we proved that our unity is not in danger, and we will turn this unity into a hope for victory".
|Tadić, Papandreou on W. Balkans initiative|
|11 November 2009 | 09:40 | Source: Tanjug|
| ATHENS -- Serbian President Boris Tadić conferred Tuesday in Athens with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.|
Tadić thanked him for his initiative for the Western Balkan countries' integration in the European Union by 2014, his office said.
Tadić and Papandreou also spoke about Serbia's EU integration, visa liberalization, fighting organized crime and regional situation.
Tadić's visit to Greece precedes his visit to Rome where he will confer with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on November 12, the release says.
One day later, Tadić will head a Serbian government delegation to the Serbian-Italian summit.
From Rome, he will travel to Berlin to confer with Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 16.
That meeting will be "one of the first" Merkel will have with foreign statesmen since her re-election, it was announced.
The top-level talks in Athens, Rome and Berlin are part of Tadić's endeavors for securing EU countries' support to the forthcoming EU decisions on visa liberalization and Serbia's integration process, the statement concluded
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
CLEARWATER — In 1971, Fotios Malo escaped with his family from communist Albania, something he had been trying to do all his adult life.
A year later, a boat carrying Mr. Malo, 44, and 31 extended family members sailed past the Statue of Liberty, a sight his children recall with amazement.
The New York Times covered the feel-good story on Page 1. But all was not well for extended family members who had stayed behind in Albania. Everyone had heard about the family that escaped to Greece on a fishing boat. Embarrassed authorities rounded up relatives and sent them to work on government-owned farms.
He was short in stature, dark and intense. He championed freedom and gave money to Republican candidates such as Ronald Reagan, who invited Mr. Malo to his inaugural ball. His anti-communist sentiments included a dimension few Americans could share — that of a disillusioned former soldier for communist causes.
He was born into a Greek family in Himara, Albania, and grew up in a tiny and ancient house in a densely packed neighborhood between mountains and the Ionian Sea. At 13, he joined an uncle in the mountains, fighting with communist partisans against the German occupiers.
The communists took over the country in 1944. The new authorities immediately confiscated private property, including 400 olive trees belonging to Mr. Malo's parents.
"Instead of owning the land, they became day laborers for the Albanian government," said Eleonora Mihopoulos, Mr. Malo's daughter. "He said, 'This wasn't what I fought for.' "
Two events, both in 1948, defined the course of the rest of his life. Mr. Malo married his childhood sweetheart, Alexandra Joshi. He also went to jail for three years, first for his politics and then for trying to flee the country.
He moved to the capital city of Tirana on his release, and spent the next 20 years trying to escape. He studied boxing and acting and hung out with opera singers, hoping for a chance to reach another shore and defect. He repaired sewing machines, sold art on the black market and illegally watched Greek television for his news.
On Aug. 7, 1971, the entire extended family packed into a commercial fishing boat captained by his brother, Vasil Malo, and escaped to Greece. A year later, most of the clan went to New York.
Mr. Malo worked at night as a Macy's janitor and ran a hot dog stand during the day. He saved enough money to buy a pizza parlor in the Bronx.
Though he struggled with English all his life, Mr. Malo excelled at the stock market. "Honest to God, he could read the stock pages better than a Harvard graduate," said Mihopoulos, 58, a restaurateur who owns Kally-K's Steakery Fishery in Dunedin.
Mr. Malo's Albanian relatives, meanwhile, were living in poverty. The man the family called "Papou" shipped them cash and appliances, everything from televisions to washing machines and cars. Over the years, Mr. Malo made it possible for about 50 of his relatives and friends to leave Albania for the United States.
In 1975, Mr. Malo bought the Tower of Pizza restaurant in Key Largo. He turned the restaurant over to his children in 1980 and retired. Fulfilling his American dream had taken less than a decade.
The fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this week filled him with relief. "He was so happy," Mihopoulos said. "He said, 'Now this is the beginning of the new world.' "
Born: Feb. 10, 1927.Died: Nov. 8, 2009.
Survivors: Wife, Alexandra; son, Dionis and his wife, Theodora; daughters, Eleonora Mihopoulos and her husband, Alexander, Christina Lappas and her husband, Michael; brothers, Vasil and his wife, Kristina, Pandeli and his wife, Vasillo; sisters, Niki Kristo and her husband, Taqo, Marika Kolilas; six grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Service: Visitation 6 to 8 p.m. today, Curlew Hills Funeral Home, 1717 Curlew Road, Palm Harbor. Service 11 a.m. Thursday, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 409 S Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.
The head of the Greek Minority Vassilis Bollanos, during the meeting with Pan Epirotic Federation in USA
Photo: The General Secretary of Pan Epirotic Federation of USA Demetrios Koutoulas with President of "Omonia"
Monday, November 9, 2009
EC Urges Albania to Speed Up Visa ReformsTirana | 09 November 2009 |
In Himara there are high represent of Socialist Party to support the rights of properties, all natives are from greek old origin member of "Omonia" Organisation
Himara inhabitants: This is the new action of "Ethnic Cleansing" against people of Himara after Jali village demolished by the Albanian Government.
The Municipality Council of Himara has decided in a meeting made last week that the people of Himara will resist against any escalation from Albanian authorities which times ago have decided to demolish the Livadhi Beach, localized in north of Himara town.
They are about 50 families that are in conflict with Albanian authorities and the World Bank Project to construct touristic villages after demolished their owner houses. "Never, said a native, the government authorities have spoken with Municipally of Himara, which according them have requested authorities to legalise their homes on private properties, but they have selected to destruct only the houses apparent to member of Omonia, not others".
According to newspaper "Korrieri" a team of Socialist Party represent all member of Albanian parliament will arrive in Himara today to speak with inhabitants of Himara. For the ulterir escalation in Himara, "Korrieri" notes that the government action to Himara People, could bring dangerous consequences particularly to an ethnic discrimination systematicaly process against people of Himara who have classified the government action as precedent of an "Ethnic Cleansing", which never has been seen since the Dictator Regime of Enver Hoxha.
One week ago on the houses of people of Himara where raised the greek flags as in memorial ceremony of "OXI DAY" which remember the Greek people resistance against Italian fascist invasion of Musolini to Greece in 1940.
For govenrment action against Himara, the people of Himara has informed the Greek government and other international institutions represent in Tirana including OSCE, NATO, US Embassy and EU.
A himariot house with Greek flag during "OXI DAY" anniversary, October 28, 2009.
A protest for properties of Himara Organizations, Himara, July 10, 2008
Μεταφορές, συμμαχίες και αλβανικά όνειρα
« Μεγάλη Αλβανία » σε έναν αυτοκινητόδρομο
Δρόμος για την επανεκλογή Μπερίσα
« Ο αυτοκινητόδρομος είναι το πιο σημαντικό σχέδιο για τις δέκα τελευταίες και τις δέκα επόμενες γενιές Αλβανών ». Ο επικεφαλής της αστυνομίας στο πέρασμα του Καφ Σλακ της Πούκα δεν κρύβει τον ενθουσιασμό του. « Εδώ, οι άνθρωποι ξέρουν να οδηγούν, ψιθυρίζει πονηρά ο αστυνομικός που είναι επιφορτισμένος να δώσει διέξοδο στο μποτιλιάρισμα. Αναλογικά, έχουμε λιγότερα δυστυχήματα απ’ ό,τι στην υπόλοιπη χώρα » συμπληρώνει.
Σε αυτόν τον μικρό ορεινό δρόμο, μοναδική δίοδο επικοινωνίας ανάμεσα στο Κόσοβο -που ανακήρυξε την ανεξαρτησία του στις 17 Φεβρουαρίου 2008 - τη βόρεια Αλβανία και την παραλιακή κοιλάδα, η κυκλοφορία δυσκολεύει ήδη με την πρώτη πάχνη. Εδώ, μετρούν τις ώρες της διαδρομής και όχι τα χιλιόμετρα. Το καλοκαίρι είναι απαραίτητες επτά ώρες για να διασχίσει κανείς τα 130 χιλιόμετρα που χωρίζουν τη Σκόδρα, στην Αλβανία, από τα σύνορα με το Κόσοβο. Τον χειμώνα, ο χρόνος της κυκλοφορίας επιμηκύνεται ανάλογα με τις βροχοπτώσεις και τις κατολισθήσεις, όταν ο δρόμος παραμένει βατός. Τον Ιανουάριο, ισχυρές χιονοπτώσεις απομόνωσαν για πολλές μέρες το συγκρότημα του Κούκες από τον υπόλοιπο κόσμο.
Είναι ο μοναδικός αμαξιτός δρόμος που οδηγεί στο Κόσοβο και είναι επίσης αυτός από τον οποίο ήρθαν, την άνοιξη του 1999, οι δεκάδες χιλιάδες Αλβανοί του Κοσόβου οι οποίοι προσπαθούσαν να γλιτώσουν από την καταπίεση των Σέρβων μετά τους βομβαρδισμούς του ΝΑΤΟ. « Οι πρόσφυγες έφθαναν σε αξιοθρήνητη κατάσταση. Είχαν εισβάλει στην πόλη και κατέλυαν στους δρόμους, στις πλατείες », θυμάται ο Μπασκίμ Σάλα, ένας δημοσιογράφος από το Κούκες.......................more see full article on: http://www.monde-diplomatique.gr/spip.php?article232
Sunday, November 8, 2009
A deal between Greece and Albania that aimed to settle a longstanding disagreement between the two countries over their sea borders and continental shelf rights could be scuppered by a legal challenge being mounted by opposition parties in Tirana, last October.
The agreement, signed in April by then Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his counterpart Sali Berisha, was due to be ratified by the country’s parliament on November.
However, Socialist opposition leader Edi Rama says the deal, which enforces a clear delineation in the Ionian Sea, lacks transparency and damages Albania’s sovereignty. Six parties are due to file an appeal with the country’s Constitutional Court to stop the accord being approved.
The Socialists’ campaign is seen as part of a wider effort to challenge Berisha’s government, which the opposition claims won June’s parliamentary elections thanks to voting irregularities.
Archives, the Greek Albanian relations
TITLE: Lifting Of The Greek-Albanian State Of War
BY: Louis Zanga
ORIGINAL SUBJECT: RAD Background Report/152
RADIO FREE EUROPE Research
RAD Background Report/152
3 September 1987
LIFTING OF THE GREEK-ALBANIAN
STATE OF WAR
by Louis Zanga
Summary: The "state of war" that has existed
between Greece and Albania since 1940 has
finally been revoked by an act of the Greek
cabinet. This formality now opens the way for a
complete normalization of relations between
these two neighboring countries, a process that
began in 1971 with the establishment of
diplomatic relations between Athens and Tirana.
* * *
Athens's decision to end its de jure "state of war" with
Albania is the final hurdle on the way to full normalization of
relations between the two countries.1 The decision is a major
success for Albanian diplomacy and an important step in Tirana's
emergence from its long period of self-imposed isolation. The
state of war between the two countries was a anachronism from
the Second World War and was symbolic inasmuch as the two sides
re-established diplomatic relations in 1971 and have greatly
improved relations generally, particularly in the past few
years. Still, the step taken by the Greek cabinet is an
important decision that has already been welcomed by both
A Brief History. In April 1939 Albania was invaded by
Fascist Italy, and King Victor Emmanuel took the title of King
of Albania. The country was turned into a province of Italy and
was intended to serve as a base for an Italian attack on Greece,
which took place in October 1940. By early December the Italian
armies had been driven back into Albania, and the Greek forces
took over about half the country. The Italians regained their
position only when the Nazis overran both Greece and Yugoslavia
in April 1941.
The Italo-Greek war resulted in an embitterment of
Greek-Albanian relations that was to last for almost a half a
century. When his country was attacked, Greek Prime Minister
Yanis Metaxas said that the Greeks were fighting not only to
defend their country but also to liberate Albania. In their
moment of triumph, however, the Greek forces are said by some
observers to have acted less like liberators than conquerors who
had come to secure the return of large Albanian provinces to
A purely Greek administration was set up in Korce,
Gjirokaster, and other occupied areas. The original Albanian
enthusiasm for the advancing Greeks diminished greatly when it
became apparent that the Greek government of the day was, in
fact, reviving its old claim on southern Albania (the so-called
Northern Epirus), which had been rejected in the peace
settlement of 1919.3 The issue was to poison relations between
the two countries for many years to come.
The Friendship Greek Albania Agreement of 1996
The main general Agreement between
and Greece is the Friendship, Albania
Cooperation, Good Neighbourliness and Security Agreement signed on
21st March 1996, (ratified by Law 2568/ Government Gazette A8/13.1.1998).
Le Monde Diplomatic
Independence for Kosovo: the domino effect
What borders for Albania?
Le Monde Diplomatic
In 1878 at the Congress of Berlin the German chancellor Bismarck declared that Albania was no more than “a geographical expression”. In the same year, however, influential delegates from the Albanian regions of the Ottoman empire gathered to found the League of Prizren, establishing the first modern claims to national status. Austria-Hungary defended the Albanian claims in the years that followed, in a standoff with Serbia and Greece who had entered alliances with Great Britain, France and Russia.
Ismail Qemal proclaimed a first, and ephemeral, Albanian republic at Vlora in 1912. But a year later the London Peace Conference created the Kingdom of Albania over only half of the regions with Albanian populations. The treaty also split Kosovo (predominantly Albanian) between Serbia and Montenegro. The Albanians have never accepted the prejudice to their people, and today its nationalists are intent on “rectifying” the “historical injustice”.
It is true that there was little guarantee of a future for the state of Albania at the time. It almost disappeared in the first world war, and there was no real settlement on its borders until the treaty of 1926, which was based on doubtful logic. The town of Gjakovë/Gjakova, for example, became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, despite the small size of its Serbian population. Similarly, territory that had always been part of the important municipality of Debar/Dibra was shared between the kingdom and Albania; today the city is part of the Republic of Macedonia, although its traditional hinterland lies in Albania (around the town of Peshkopi).
There are two issues intertwined here. The delicate balance between Albania’s neighbours (Montenegro, Serbia and Greece) and their powerful protectors had an influence on the definition of Albanian territoriality, as did Italy’s historical claims over the Albanian coastline. Also there are the problematic notions of an “Albanian region” or “Albanian cultural area”. Albanians have always lived in the midst of other national communities in these areas. Can we say that this or that town is part of the Albanian world because 50%, 60% or 80% of its inhabitants are Albanian? What percentage do we take and, more particularly, what scale of settlement do we include?
Blog in Albanian, see comments about the issue;
|Vojvodina assembly adopts statute draft |
|8 November 2009 | 10:05 | Source: Tanjug |
| NOVI SAD -- The Vojvodina assembly has adopted the legal-technical harmonization of the statute draft with the draft law for transferring authorities to the province.|
Both the Vojvodina League of Social Democrats and the Forward Serbia MP group did not participate in the voting.
Vojvodina Executive Council President Bojan Pajtić said that he expects that the Vojvodina statute and the law for transferring authorities will receive strong support from the state parliament.
“With this, officials representing a vast majority of Vojvodina citizens have chosen to further the process of decentralization and the regionalization of the society,” Pajtić said, adding that these processes are needed to speed up economic development, and to create a faster, cheaper and more effective administration not only in Vojvodina, but in the entire country.
Serb Radical Party (SRS) and Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) officials have strongly criticized the statute and its accompanying laws, stating that they are unlawful, unconstitutional and aim to break apart the unity of the Serbian state.
The Vojvodina assembly’s Committee for Regulations will put together a final version of the statute draft and submit it to the state parliament for confirmation.