Saturday, April 10, 2010

No risk of new war in BiH, says Serbian president

The information spread in the world that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is critical and that there is a risk of new war is not true but ill-intentioned, Serbian President Boris Tadic said, as cited by the "Vecernje Novosti" daily.

“US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, whom I met in Belgrade, agreed on this. Serbia does not back Bosnia and Herzegovina’s division but the strict observation of the Dayton Agreement,” Tadic remarked.

The Serbian head of state also pointed out that Steinberg has assured him that the US does not want to impose its decisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina but to encourage the dialog and the political process.

FYROM: Albanian parties want all children to study Albanian in their regions

Albanian political parties in FYROM have requested uniformity in the study of Albanian language, "Alfa" television station reports.
In this way Albanian is set to become obligatory for all children in the regions where ethnic Albanians are a majority.

Earlier today the parties of the ethnic Albanians announced their opposition to the obligatory requirement education ministry requested that first graders in all schools in the country should study sllavo Macedonian.

Democratic Union for Integration, New Democracy and Democratic Party of Albanians, regardless of whether they are in power or in opposition, insist on making Albanian an official language, alongside sllavo Macedonian.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Topalli says Albania, Kosovo ties are a model for region

TIRANA, Albania -- Relations between Albania and Kosovo are excellent and should serve as a model of co-operation in the Balkans, Parliament Speaker Jozefina Topalli said on Thursday (April 8th) after meeting with Kosovo counterpart Jakup Krasniqi in Tirana.

"There are 56 agreements between the two parliaments and five more are in the process," Topalli said. She added that Kosovo's independence is irreversible and that more countries will be recognising it. Krasniqi also met with President Bamir Topi, agreeing that Albania and Kosovo have a common EU integration goal and should co-operate in achieving it.

Some time ago, Jakup Kransiqi stated that "the two countries, Albania and Kosovo" must join together with other territories included in FYROM, Montenegro, and Greece.

NATO Warship LIMNOS Disrupts Pirates

Greek warship HS LIMNOS, who is part of NATO’s counter piracy mission, codenamed OCEAN SHIELD, successfully intercepted and disrupted a pirate gang in the Indian Ocean yesterday.

The NATO warship had been on patrol to the north of the Seychelles when pirates in a large whaler towing 2 smaller skiffs, was spotted by a Swedish maritime patrol aircraft. As HS LIMNOS approached the vessel, the ship’s helicopter was launched and observed the pirates throwing weapons, ladders and other piracy equipment into the sea.
On arrival, the ship’s boarding party rapidly took control of the 10 pirates. A thorough search of the boats was then conducted to ensure the pirates could no longer pose a threat to merchant shipping in the area.

HS LIMNOS Operations officer, Lt P Sarantinos GRN said, “Being vigilant, decisive, and adaptive – these are the fundamental pillars of our operations in this area. NATO is determined to deter and disrupt the pirate threat and HS LIMNOS is ready to prove it, wherever and whenever it is required.”

Byzantine and Post – Byzantine manuscripts in Albania

An exhibition of manuscripts on parchment and paper from the collection of the Albanian State’s Central Archive is organized in Tirana by the Hellenic Foundation of Culture, the Albanian State’s Archive, the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece and the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

The exhibition presents 33 manuscripts from the 6th until the 19th century: original manuscripts (lectionaries, gospels, etc.) dated from 150 to 1500 years. These decorated remains of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Greek script are accompanied by photographic material, through which interior leaves of manuscripts are exposed; specimens of writing are indicated as well as the different colours of inks, the binding and its decoration.

“The manuscripts of the Albanian State’s Central Archive” – according to the accompanying publication – “include texts offering information about the scholarly and popular culture of the region, creations of esthetic and artistic value (miniatures, artistic initial letters, silver covers, etc.) and informative material about the importance of renowned Albanian cities in the past, such as Korçe (Koritsa), Berat (Berati), Durres (Dyrrhachion), Gjirokaster (Argyrokastron), Vlore (Avlona), etc.

The organizing committee of the exhibition consists of the members:

Agamemnon Tselikas, Director of the Centre for History and Paleography of the National Bank of Greece, Cultural Foundation
Dr. Nevila Nika, General Director of the General Directorate of Albanian Archives
George Giakoumis, Director of the Centre of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in Tirana
P. Ioustinos Efthimiadis, archimandrite of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania

Opening on April 23, 2010, at 18:30 hrs
April 23 – May 22, 2010, open daily 10:00 – 13:00 and 17:00 – 19:30 hrs.
Exhibition hall of the Albanian State’s Central Archive
Rruga “Jordan Misja” – Tirana Tel/Fax:+355 4 22 79 59.

Albania Press Review - April 9, 2010

Albanian newspapers
Albanian newspapers


Spanish Ambassador to Albania Manuel Montobio has called on the opposition and government to find a compromise solution for an investigation into the June 28 parliamentary elections.


Socialist MP Taulant Balla has been barred from parliamentary hearings for two weeks after accusing Prime Minister Sali Berisha of being a thief.


Socialist leader Edi Rama has called on his supporters in the city of Durres to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

Drugs produced in Albania seized in BiH

On Thursday the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina seized 155 kg of marihuana grown in Albania, Makfax news agency reports.

The drugs were found on the Bosnian-Montenegrin border in a truck. Seven people – citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro – were detained.

On the basis of the initial information the Bosnian police believe the drug came from Albania and it was illegally smuggled through Montenegro.
Serbian replica with Albanian writer Koco Danaj

"Albanian arsonists need to be pacified"
Večernje novosti
BELGRADE -- Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović commented on ideas of the so-called Greater Albania in an interview for a Belgrade daily.

Goran Bogdanović (Tanjug, file)
Goran Bogdanović (Tanjug, file)

Should someone truly try to implement Koca Danaj's platform or similar ideas of greater Albania, the consequences would be hard to predict and would have enormous impact on the security and peace in the region as a whole, he told Večernje Novosti.

"It is about time the international community responded seriously and firmly, silenced the propagators of such ideas and take the matches from the hands of arsonists who want to set the entire region on fire again," Bogdanović was quoted as saying.

He was reacting to the "platform on natural Albania" – where Danaj urges for a solution to the Albanian issue in the Balkans by the year 2013, that would see the setting up a new Albanian state with more territory.

According to Danaj, this new state would include, besides Albania and Kosovo, more parts Serbia, but also Macedonia, Greece and Montenegro, where ethnic Albanians live, and who would decide about this in a referendum.

more see:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Albania opposition urges supporters to protest

Opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama delivers his address during a meeting in Tirana. AP photo.

Opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama delivers his address during a meeting in Tirana. AP photo.

Albanian Socialist leader Edi Rama has called on his party's supporters to unleash a series of protests that will culminate in a major rally in Tirana on April 30, the Albanian media reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening of the Socialist Party’s National Assembly, Rama accused the right-wing government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha of being responsible “for the democratic and economic crisis” that the country finds itself in, adding the protest was the only option left.

“This regime without a future is holding Albania hostage with the weapons of the past,” Rama told the delegates in his opening statement, which was also broadcasted live by local media.

The wave of protests that the Socialists plan to launch throughout the country aim to force early elections; the opposition party has spent the past nine months contesting the results of the June 28 parliamentary poll, which they consider to be marred by fraud, and boycotting parliament.

“Every day a protest in every city and on April 30 we will meet up in Tirana,” Rama said. “United we will bring this regime to the end that it deserves; a regime which everyday gives people less hope and fewer jobs,” he added.

In the last few days Socialist leaders have intensified their public calls for protests to overthrow the government, which comes amid a tense political climate fueled by accusations of corruption and personal jibes coming from both sides.

Albania Approves Eurobond Sale

The Albanian government approved on Wednesday the sale of €300 million in Eurobonds.

Speaking during a meeting of the Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Sali Berisha described the Eurobond issuance as an important step.

“This is testimony of an important financial development for the country,” Berisha said.

This is Albania’s second attempt to emit Eurobonds after an effort in early 2009 was abandoned due to the global financial crisis, forcing the Ministry of Finance to opt for a costly syndicated loan.

The Ministry selected two international banks in March 2009 from which it borrowed €250 million.

“We intend to refinance this loan in the next few years, after the global turmoil calms,” Ridvan Bode, Albania’s minister of finance, said at the time.

The loan was intended to finance the Rreshen-Kalimash highway which links Albania with Kosovo, a project with a price tag of €1 billion which was marred by allegations of corruption.

The Group of Lawyers for slogans against the parade on March 25, 2010 contingent Unit Underwater Missions of the Coast Guard

A Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants on 1.4.2010 filed a complaint report against members of the contingent Unit Underwater Missions of the Coast Guard, which participated in the parade of March 25, 2010 in Athens and all other person. This detachment, after leaving the podium official Syntagma Square, the University went on the road and St. Constantine in Athens structured form and pace of the parade, shouting racist slogans and intolerance against other neighborhoods in our country ethnicities.

In doing this we had to proceed in the absence of relevant institutional intervention, despite the forecasts of Law 927/1979, which prohibits the public expression of racist ideas and provides for the automatic prosecution. We consider it unacceptable, members of special forces of the Greek security forces received special training and even have responsibility including the guarding of borders and therefore the admission of refugees to be possessed by such ideas and even to express the public in a particular public appearance as a body during a national anniversary event.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FYROM: Conflicts to raise if no early elections are called, says DPA leader

Early elections should be called in FYROM after June, said leader of the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) Menduh Thaci, Slavo Macedonian Vecer daily reports.

“There will be either conflict or early elections. DPA wants early elections, which to be called in a peaceful and democratic manner, but if this situation continues, there will be conflicts,” Thaci said.

In his words, much is said about the disagreements between the sllavo Macedonians and Albanians, but in fact there are also disagreements among the sllavo Macedonians themselves.

“Closing the perspective for membership in the EU and NATO eliminated the chance for Macedonia’s existence. Early elections is the best decision at the moment,” Menduh Thaci remarked.

Deputy chairperson of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) Teuta Arifi, on the other hand, said that party’s leader, Ali Ahmeti, is the only person in FYROM who knows how to start and end up a war.

First Greeks inaugurate visa-free travel to U.S.

ΑΝΑ-ΜPA/Passengers leaving Athens on Delta Airlines' Wednesday morning flight for New York were no doubt surprised when U.S. Ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard suddenly arrived at the airline's check-in desk to check on their progress, surrounded by a bevy of reporters and cameras. Several among them were also surprised to learn that theirs was the first flight leaving Athens on which Greek citizens were able travel to the United States without a visa.

Greece was formally added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program on Monday, allowing Greeks to forgo the often laborious process of getting a visa via the embassy. Those wanting to visit the U.S. can now simply fill in an online application called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) that gives them clearance to travel.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State starts touring the Balkans

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg arrives in Ljubljana on Tuesday, Slovenian STA news agency reports.Slovenia is the first country in Steinberg’s brief Balkan tour, which includes also Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo.

The media report that the deputy secretary of state is coming to the Balkans to confirm the U.S. administration’s support for the political stabilization and economic strengthening in the region.

In Sarajevo Steinberg will join Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country is holding the rotating EU presidency.
FYROM: Greece takes step forward in name dispute

Skopje. Greece has cornered Macedonia, but the government in Skopje does not want to understand that the name dispute cannot be solved at a meeting with UN mediator Mathew Nimirz, but at another level, Slavo Macedonian Utrinski Vesnik daily comments.

The newspaper says that Athens took a step forward in the row through Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas’s statement that Greece is prepared to accept the name Northern Macedonia, proving it is a constructive side.

“In the recent weeks it was proven that silence is not always good,” the daily writes, noting Droutsas did what European diplomats had been advising FYROM for a long time – to propose a solution to the name dispute publicly.

Albania: Police bust group for Greek visa fraud

Police in the eastern town of Korca have busted a criminal network that assisted locals in obtaining Greek visas for money.

The Economic Crime Office on Monday (April 5th) arrested a representative of a Roma association in the town, while two other women are under investigation. The alleged scheme allegedly charged each person who wanted to get a Greek visa between 1,500 and 2,000 euros.

Several weeks ago, police in Korca arrested a representative of the Greek organisation OMONIA for visa fraud.

"Negotiations on Greater Albania"

"The Albanian question in the Balkans should be resolved by the end of 2013, creating a country that embraces all areas where Albanians live. The above is based on a platform developed by Koço Danay, former cabinet director of the Albanian Prime Minister, published yesterday in the Journal of Montenegro "Vijesti", as stated by the Serbian newspaper Politika.

Koco Danay says that the new Albanian state would cover the territories of neighboring countries, which will not happen with bloodshed Albanians.

According to former Albanian PM Adviser "The Natural Greater Albania includes the Kosovo part of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece, where many Albanian communities live." As stated in 200 pages 'piece' of Danay, representatives of the Albanians in neighboring countries must have the right to vote in any vote if they want to be part of the new state. Also, that the strategy set up a new state would be based on dialogue with everyone, without bias and past decisions.

In the publication noted that the Koço Danay is Orthodox Christian, and originated from the southern part of Albania and worked two years in the Albanian Government as an advisor to former Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Panteli Majko, also was indeed, consultant of Foreign Minister Ilir Meta.

Albania unlikely to make EU visa-free list by summer


Promises by the Albanian government to its citizens that they will be able from this summer onward to travel to most EU countries without a visa are increasingly unlikely to be kept.

The European Commission has not yet presented its report about the fulfilment of benchmarks for visa liberalisation by Albania and Bosnia. People from the two Western Balkan countries still need a visa to visit countries in the Schengen area after the EU last year lifted visas for Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Kosovo has not been not included in the process.

Tirana apartment block: Bosnia is likely to get an EU visa-free deal before Albania (Photo: David Dufresne)

According to EU sources, the commission report will be drawn up during the course of this month and a possible recommendation will not be presented before June.

Under the EU's Lisbon Treaty, approval by the European Parliament is also needed to lift the visa regime for the two Balkan countries. The EP is clearly inclined to do so but will need at least two months to take the necessary formal steps. At the end of the procedure, it will be up to EU member states to take the final decision.

EU diplomats expect the commission experts in their report in April to confirm that Albania and Bosnia made progress in meeting conditions required for visa liberalisation. But they will probably stop short of saying that both countries fully meet all criteria......

more see:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Albanian opposition calls for anti-gov't protests

Albania's opposition Socialist Party has called for daily anti-government protests over alleged vote rigging in last year's election and "bad governing" by Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democratic Party.

Socialist leader Edi Rama urged Albanians Monday to protest over "stolen votes" and the "ruining of the country's and each family's economy."The Socialists are planning a big rally in the capital, Tirana, for April 30.The opposition's call for a partial recount of votes cast in general elections in June has been rejected by Berisha.

The Socialists hold 65 seats in the 140-member parliament. Berisha and his allies hold 75.The European Union has warned the political crisis could hurt Albania's EU membership bid.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Kosovo Stability process

KFOR will be leaving the majority Serb Kosovo municipality of Štrpce

Štrpce Municipal President Zvonko Mihajlović told the Beta news agency that KFOR will we patrolling the municipality, but said that this is not enough because the situation in the municipality is far from normal.

He said that the decision to remove the KFOR troops from Štrpce is a farce that wants to show that the rule of law exists in Kosovo, that security is up to par, and that Serbs can move freely.

“The whole story regarding the transfer of authority from UNMIK to the temporary institutions and the exiting of KFOR from Štrpce and the closing of check points, has the goal of showing the situation the way it is not in reality, that everything is under control, that rule of law exists and rights exist, that Serbs can move freely, but that is not the truth,” Mihajlović said.

He said that Serbs cannot do anything to change the decision, because it was made by the American KFOR officials.

“It is not a move in a good direction, because Serbs still have limited freedom of movement,” he said, reminding that KFOR’s presence offered the residents security.

Mihajlović said that the Polish-Ukrainian KFOR contingent had a large role in the region and was a factor of stability and a guarantee that there will not be any escalations in the conflicts.

He said that KFOR’s role cannot be taken over by police because it is not capable of dealing with the greater challenges.

There are 16 villages in the municipality of Štrpce in which about 12,00 Serbs and 3,500 Albanians live.

The municipality has parallel governments—the one elected according to Serbian elections is headed by Mihajlović, while the municipal administration that recognizes the Kosovo government-organized elections is headed by Bratislav Nikolić.

Over 1 tone of marihuana seized in Albania, Italy

The Italian police seized over 900kg of marihuana from Albania in the region of the Italian town of Lece; over 200kg of marihuana were seized in Albania, Albanian media reported. The director of the Italian police Hisni Burgai announced at news conference the Albanian police had given information about a motor boat, which was transporting marihuana from Albania to Italy.

Three Albanians were detained.
The Albanian police had seized about 1 tone of marihuana for about a month, Burgai said. On Friday morning, the police seized 280kg of the drug at the exit of the village of Lazaret, in the region of the town of Girokastro. Four Albanians were arrested.

The agency recalls the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisa insisted recently the police to take serious actions against drug producers in the country. He said further the drug smuggling influences negatively the European integration of the country and the process of visa liberalization, which can be seen from the numerous reactions of Brussels an the international organizations.