Friday, July 13, 2012

Berisha wants to duplicate OSCE, involving task force committee for the registration of properties

 


Regjistri i Tokës, Berisha: Të shpejtojmë ritmet, ta mbyllim në pranverë

The aim is to register the properties of Albanian Mafia in the Himara Region

Registration
by the OSCE still remains pending

TIRANA - Premier has requested the meeting of the Task Force on Land Registry Essential duplication of work for the registration of real estate, which said it intended to be closed until spring.

Premier urged accelerating the pace of registration project, noting that previous experience makes it possible the rapid completion of this process.

Head of Government said that the pace of the process should not be affected by the holiday period of administration, in August.

"This record is also more complicated registry and as such requires more rigorous monitoring again and the most attention. We have made ​​a pledge that this process be completed in the spring of 2013. Obviously, this requires multiplication of forces, resource mobilization, capacity expansion and growth of the recording and processing. "- Said the prime minister.

Following discussions on the project of digitalization of land registry, the Task Force approved the Regulation on the procedures and conditions for making changes and additions of functions in the electronic register of real estate.

Meanwhile, the property registration process in the Region of OSCE Himara is suspended, as the Spanish company "Terracce" and "Lorenzo Company", have filed charges against the OSCE, for non payment of the contract.

However, the OSCE has set another winner for the tender, giving the carrier "Edmond Leka" continue registration of property in Himara Region, but the process has remained in limbo.

Greek Minority in Albania Complains against Power Outage

Greek citizens of the Southern Albanian villages of Dropull (Gjirokastër District), complained about the power outage blocking the Gjirokastër-Kakavia Highway for almost an hour necessitating a police intervention to free the circulation of the road  linking Albania and Greece.
Greek citizens were protesting against the “arbitrary and illegal actions of the Czech electricity provider ‘CEZ’.” It’s the second time there has been an unjustified, illegal power blackout in the region, according to Greeks of Southern Albania, who claim they have been paying their bills timely.
The Czech company representatives, on the other hand, claim the power outage was imposed legally, because citizens of Dropull villlages have not paid their bills.


 


Two more US carriers, dozens of mini-subs rushed to Hormuz

DEBKAfile Special Report July 12, 2012, 10:23 AM (GMT+02:00)
Tiny SeaFox submersibles for destroying mines
As Russia and NATO continued to boost their military strength in the eastern Mediterranean, debkafile's military sources report substantial US reinforcements, led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, are being rushed to the Persian Gulf opposite Iran, with dozens of unmanned underwater craft for destroying mines.
The USS John C. Stennis arrives in August, raising the number of American aircraft carriers in waters off Iran to four including the USS Enterprise and the USS Abraham Lincoln, with the French Charles de Gaulle due soon to make up a fifth.
The Eisenhower, which reached its new position in the first week of July, operates under the joint commands of the US Sixth (Mediterranean) and Fifth (Gulf) Fleets.
Thursday, July 12, American military officials announced that the US is also dispatching to the Persian Gulf dozens of tiny, unmanned SeaFox submersibles that can detect and destroy mines if strewn by Iran to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint for transporting one-fifth of the world’s oil.
About 4 feet long, they each carry an underwater television camera, homing sonar and an explosive charge.
There are now additionally eight American minesweepers in the Persian Gulf as well as the USS Ponce, a platform for the special forces, helicopters and warships there to fight off Iranian marine units attempting to plant mines in the vital waterway.
debkafile's military sources say that Washington decided to expand its military deployment in the area after concluding, in consultation with French and British naval experts, that Iran is short of the military strength and sophisticated measure for completely sealing off the Strait of Hormuz to all sea traffic, especially oil tankers.
All the Iranians can do is plant enough underwater mines to impede traffic and slow it down.
The new, bolstered US deployment in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean is on the ready for immediate action against any Iranian military threat. "If Iran starts spreading underwater mines in international waterways, i.e., the Strait of Hormuz, it will find American forces ready to dismantle them on the spot," said a Western military source.
In any case, said the source, a slowdown of oil traffic through Hormuz won’t have an immediate impact on the world oil market or prices. "The world has enough reserve oil in storage to supply its needs for six full months,” said the source.
Georgian opposition slams government for granting Turks citizenship

July 13 2012 at 2:05 PM


A Georgian opposition deputy has accused the country's government of granting citizenship to around 25,000 Turks in a move to secure votes in coming elections.

Jondi Bagaturia of the Georgian Troupe said 25,000 Turks who were granted dual citizenship had the right to vote in the coming elections in Georgia due in October and believed they would vote for the ruling United National Movement party to "express their gratitude," according to a report by PanArmenian.net.

Bagaturia said the Turks who were granted Georgian citizenship were living in the country's Ajaria Autonomous Republic, which presented a risk that the region might break away in a "repetition of what happened in Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

According to Bagaturia, radical forces in Turkey claimed Ajaria was originally under Turkish rule and that Georgia occupied it 100 years ago. "These radical forces may come to power in Turkey during elections, and then we'll face the same thing that happened in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Bagaturia said, adding that Turkish troops could invade Ajaria under the pretext of protecting its citizens.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/georgian-opposition-slams-government-for-granting-turks-citizenship.aspx?pageID=238&nID=25422&NewsCatID=355
Former Greek consul in Korica, Ikonomu, is against of the ethnic self declaration of Omonia

"Gazeta Shqiptare"
http://www.balkanweb.com/TV/index.php?id_categoria=47&id_ansalive=15735

 Ikonomu is against Omonia census. Omonia registration will fail and should not do. " With these words, former Greek Consul of Korca, Theodoros Ikonomu-Kamarinos, known for his strong statements in favor "Northern Epirus", has "shocked" Omonia organization leaders who are prepared to at July 24 start recording Greek minority in Albania.

Ikonomut statement was made few days ago in one of the radios "Northern Epirus" and immediately encountered severe attacks websites commentators who have called these statements unacceptable. While contacted by "Albanian newspaper", the head of Omonia, Vasil Bolanos has refused to comment on these statements. While the party's Secretary General MEGA, Lluci Ziso said that any initiative of the organization or association does not bring any solution to the problem, but the tangle it more.

"Shekulli Newspaper" 2007

 Is Bolanos, close to Prime Minister Berisha, and simultaneously "great patriot who fights for Hellenism"?

Almost all NGOs operating in respect of human rights to property issues and ethnic issues, viewing with suspicion the president of Omonia, Vasil Bolanos. First because Bolanos, Albanian media is labeled as the man very close to Prime Minister Sali Berisha. Secondly, during the time that it was the duty of the President of the Municipality of Himara, Vasil Bolanos, is subject to pressures of Albanian Mafia, giving concessions and permits for construction hotels, persons connected with the policies of Tirana. Also the issue of destruction of Jali village in 2007 in collaboration with the Albanian Government and World Bank, implies more Vasil Bolanos, since many people, have not yet benefited from the destruction of houses.

As a result of these dubious relationship with the leadership of Albanian politics, today the Himara Region, is threatened by ethnic assimilation, of the charity that has served the "Patriot of Hellenism 'Vasil Bolanos, favoring invasion of the coastline, especially in Drymades, Porto Palermo and Jali and allowing, construction of a concession to the Albanian Mafia, on the public properties of the legitimate inhabitants of Himara.

more see:  http://www.balkanweb.com/kryesore/1/censusi-ikonomu-kunder-censusit-te-omonia-s-95922.html

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Attack against journalist in Priština condemned

VIENNA -- An OSCE representative on Freedom of the Media has condemned the physical assault in Priština against journalist Halil Matoshi.
He is a columnist with the Albanian language daily Koha Ditore, known for his investigative reporting and criticism against politicians and public officials.
“This attack could have proved fatal to the journalist. I am glad that Halil Matoshi managed to fend off his assailants,” OSCE's Dunja Mijatović said.

Matoshi was attacked on the evening of July 10 by three unidentified men when leaving a cultural event in Priština.

He managed to escape and was later treated in a hospital.

“Violence against journalists is an attack against free expression and the society as a whole, and I strongly condemn all such acts," Mijatović was quoted as saying in an OSCE statement.

SEEMO condemns incident

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), also condemned the incident.

The organization said in its statement on Thursday that Matoshi was attacked as he returned home. One of the aggressors pulled out a knife but he managed to avoid serious injury.

The police said they were investigating the assault with the aim of identifying those responsible.

“I call on the police to find the perpetrators as soon as possible and bring them to justice,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujović.







COOLING OFF: A girl stood on a beach in Dhërmi near Vlorë, Albania, Wednesday. Hot weather has gripped Albania, with temperatures reaching 102 degrees Fahrenheit. (Arben Celi/Reuters)


Note: Photos of the Wall Street Journal, have a professional photographer from Reuters Tirana, Arben Celi, who confused Drymades beaches in Himara Region, with Vlora District.
 
Albania Military Secret Service "SHIU" bought 400 thousand dollars, an apparatus, to intercept the opposition and foreign diplomats

An Albanian private company, which specializes in trading of security devices, has brokered the purchase of the surveillance apparatus to rain-n in 2010. Sources from the Ministry of Defence said that the Military Intelligence Service has agreed that the Albanian company with a direct contract for the purchase abroad of a bugging device type "CDMA Interceptor". Albanian company that has taught previously offered its ability to provide international markets with limited use equipment for other state institutions, like the prosecution or the police.
In this case the company has to purchase a U.S. partner company, which is called "VERINT Technologies". The latter has several subsidiaries around the world and its Albanian company has links with Israeli subsidiary company "VERINT". Tapping devices "CDMA interceptor" was purchased in Israel, it is even manufactured in Israel under the logo "VERINT". Equipment is part of the format of the mobile surveillance technology with limited range. This device is basically a computer, which has installed a number of programs that enable encryption and voice recording of telephone calls within a radius of 300 meters.
Equipment is sealed in a bag and baggage are also part of two antennas, the entry and exit which enable the capture of the selected phone signal and then signal the release of this phone masts after mobile company to register . Equipment in question is also equipped with a program that enables decryption of SMS sent or received by the phone of choice and under surveillance, while also calls but also the message of registration and decryption is done in real time and with a very high speed and data stored in the memory of the apparatus from which can then also be heard or read.  


Source: 
www.Shqiptarja.com
www.gazetatema.net

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  Picture: AFP
NATO postpones Kosovo troop reduction: AFP
12 July 2012 | 00:36 | FOCUS News Agency
 
Home / Southeast Europe and Balkans
Pristina. NATO has postponed a planned troop reduction in Kosovo as security in the Serb-dominated north remains "volatile", its secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday, cited by the AFP.
"We have, for the time being, postponed any decision to further reduce the number of KFOR troops in Kosovo" he told reporters on a visit.
"As long as the security situation in the north is volatile as it is, we have to maintain the current troop level... (of) 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers," he said during a visit to the breakaway territory.
Rasmussen was speaking at the end of a visit by NATO's governing body, the North Atlantic Council, to assess the security situation in Kosovo.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by around 90 countries, but not by by Serbia, which has been encouraging some 120,000 local Serbs to defy the authorities in Pristina.

Greece Pressed to Resume Austerity Program

— European officials signaled on Tuesday that Greece would have to renew its austerity drive before its next bailout payment was approved but expressed confidence that the country’s new government would have the money to meet a debt payment due in August.
Multimedia
The guarded optimism came after a meeting of European finance ministers at which Greece was told to come up with about 3 billion euros ($3.75 billion) in new savings “in the coming weeks” before its creditors consider easing the terms of its bailout, the country’s new finance minister said Tuesday.
“They are asking that we implement the measures we have committed to for 2012,” the finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, told reporters in Brussels.
Mr. Stournaras said the government could suggest alternatives to the measures it had agreed to, as long as the new proposals produced the same result.
“We are considering the measures and we will push to be able to impose them in installments,” he added.
The Eurogroup — the finance ministers of the 17 nations using the euro — on Monday night heard a preliminary debriefing from representatives of the so-called troika, who returned to Athens last month after being away for several weeks after the inconclusive elections in May.
The European Commission vice president, Olli Rehn, said the mission — which includes officials from the commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — would return in 10 days or so for further work.
“In that context we will assess the real financing needs of Greece now, in the short term,” as well as “various possibilities” for meeting them, he said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I’m sure they will find a solution to this problem, as we have in previous rounds.”
At an earlier news conference, the Eurogroup president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the ministers would discuss adjusting the terms of Greece’s bailout program in September.
Asked about a 3.2 billion euro Greek bond held by the European Central Bank that matures on Aug. 20, Mr. Juncker said “appropriate solutions” would be found.
At the end of June, Greece received the final installment of 5.2 billion euros in aid: 1 billion euros that had been withheld after the country’s inconclusive election in May. The timing and amount of the next delivery of aid from the 130 billion euro bailout agreed to early this year will be determined in the coming weeks, a euro zone official said.
Mr. Juncker said that Mr. Stournaras described the country’s current situation during the meeting and gave “reassurances that the new Greek government will take the steps necessary to bring the Greek program back on track.”
Although Greece made no requests at the meeting, its government hopes to win an extension of the deadlines for meeting its deficit-reduction targets. Spain was granted an extension on Tuesday.
“When the time comes, the issue of an extension will be raised persistently because it is only fair,” Mr. Stournaras said. He noted that an extension would require additional outside money for Greece — something the parliaments of some euro zone countries might be reluctant to approve.
And the formation of a coalition Greek government — albeit a fragile one — appears to have calmed the nerves of savers worried about political instability.
According to bank officials, cash has been flowing back into accounts at a steady pace since the June 17 elections, with 5 billion euros returning within the last two weeks. About 4 billion to 5 billion euros was withdrawn in the first two weeks of June.
“The banks lost deposits due to all the uncertainty, but fortunately after the elections we saw the deposits returning and at quite a satisfactory pace,” the central bank governor, Georgios A. Provopoulos, told President Karolos Papoulias in televised comments in Athens.
Paul Geitner reported from Brussels, and Niki Kitsantonis from Athens.
Electoral reform concluded
11/07/2012


Electoral reform concluded
One day before the expiration of the mandate, the Electoral Reform Commission found the compromise for the consensual amends of the Electoral Code.

The three remaining issues were the usage of technology in elections, the way of taking evidence in electoral boxes and the reformation of the Central Election Commission.

As it happens usually with compromises, the variants that are proposed are not 100% as each of the parties wanted them. But on a preliminary evaluation, the opposition has taken more from the compromise.

The first big success is the opportunity to use technology for 20% of the territory. The majority has accepted this, despite the advice of the ODIHR experts for not using technology before 2014, and not without a pilot project in a low scale of usage.

 This consensus predicts that the identification appliance should be used during the voting process in the entire Tirana District, the biggest in the country and that brings 32 MPs to Parliament. While the electronic ballot count will be used for the first time in Fier, the second biggest district in the country that brings 16 MPs to Parliament. The second success of the opposition s that they have been able to include in this process their own concept for way how the Central Election Commission chairman will be elected.

This is a new concept that allows the application of every citizen who thinks that he fulfills the criteria for leading the CEC. This application will be submitted at the Commission of Laws, the only organism that gets involved in the procedures for electing the CEC Chairman.

After receiving the applications, the Commission of Laws identifies the candidates that enjoy the support of 2/3rd of the members. If this will be impossible, the Commission of Laws will elect four candidates that have had the biggest support, and only the opposition has the right to eliminate two of them and the Parliament will vote between the two others.

As for the third issue, the opposition has ceded the concept that two members have the right to open the ballot boxes each time that they find it appropriate. According to the majority, this would destroy the elections and the parties decided to define more specifically what is considered evidence and how it is related with the facts.

The members will have the right to open the boxes based only on this concept, by eliminating the opportunities of abusing during the electoral process. THese changes will be approved this afternoon at the Electoral Reform Commission, which will apparently close its mandate with this big consensus, but without taking in consideration the request of the small parties for correcting the electoral system.

President’s statement “does not imply partition of Kosovo”

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić’s statement on Kosovo does not mean that he advocated the partition of Kosovo, the president's office told daily Danas.
Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)
Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)
The Serbian president's office said that Nikolić insisted on “unity in every sense”.
The Serbian president said, among other things, that he “he will never again be president in Priština, but the president of the interim authorities in Priština will also never be president in Kosovska Mitrovica”.

The president’s office explained that Nikolić wanted the government to be formed as soon as possible and to continue the dialogue with Priština but that an agreement of all relevant political factors in Serbia that would be confirmed by parliament needed to be reached first.

Nikolić’s office stressed that “no individual, not even the president” can at the moment talk about long-term strategic issues that require a political consensus, adding that the president only wanted to warn that the situation was getting worse with every day without a new government.

Nikolić told reporters on Tuesday that Serbia needed a consensus on Kosovo which meant a common position on the level of the authority of the interim institutions in Kosovo and the lines that the state needed to stand behind.

He pointed out that the government and the opposition needed to reach a consensus on “what Kosovo is” and on the country’s attitude toward it.

Kosovo Albanian political analyst Azem Vllasi told Danas that Belgrade politicians, including Nikolić, had started to “realize the need that they should prepare Serbia for recognition and acceptance of the new reality regarding Kosovo” after Serbia got the EU candidate status.

“It is Nikolić’s duty right now to realize the reality and free Serbia from the burden of Kosovo. I see his statements on the necessary consensus on Kosovo in Serbia as positive,” he explained.

On the other hand, he believes that the Serbian president’s statement that “Kosovo president will also never be president in Kosovska Mitrovica” is “completely off mark”.

“Mitrovica is Kosovo’s local self-government. The Serbian president should not give statements that hide territorial pretenses because the issue of borders has been resolved and nobody in the Balkans can play with the opening of the subject,” Vllasi was quoted as saying.

Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) provincial official Zvonimir Stević said that he expected the “new state structures, parliament, the president and the government to seriously deal with a plan and a strategy for Kosovo”.

He pointed out that Belgrade “needs to tell Serbs in the entire Kosovo, both south and north of the Ibar River, what they should expect in the future”.

Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Main Board member and MP Marko Jakšić says he finds the president’s statement “very strange” bearing in mind that he as a Serb Radical Party (SRS) deputy leader at a rally in 2008 swore that he “will not rest until he gets Kosovo back to Serbia”.

Analyst Ognjen Pribićević says that the statement does not represent anything new when compared to the policy of the previous government, adding that the West will go much further in their requests.

“The Western countries will certainly request from the new government to stop financing the institutions in northern Kosovo and Metohija, meaning they will expect (Ivica) Dačić’s cabinet to be much more constructive than (PM Mirko) Cvetković’s. Otherwise, we cannot hope for the financial aid from the West, that denied the money to the outgoing government,” he explained.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Albanian Police forces enters in Lazarat through bullets
10/07/2012


Renea enters Lazarat through bullets
More than 5000 plants of cannabis sativa were eliminated recently in Lazarat, thanks to an action of the police.

Gjirokaster Police sources say that in this operation participated the RENEA forces, the Rapid Intervention Forces, the Delta Forces and agents from the Gjirokaster Police, led by the Vice Chief of State Police, Muhamet Rrumbullaku. According to these sources, the police entered from the Sopot Mountain, not the main road.

After eliminating the first cannabis sativa plants, some Lazarat residents have opened fire against the police. The authorities appealed the rest of the village to distance themselves from this people, making it clear that they would respond with fire to any individual that would oppose this operation.

As result, the police arrested 15 workers that were watering the parcels, seized three trucks, two water mobile tanks, two vehicles from where the aggressors shot the police and two vans with 2000 seedlings in plastic vases, which were ready to be planted. After the operation, the police left Lazarat from the Sopot Mountain road.

The police declared that the operation will be completed, regardless of what happened.

The action against the cannabis in Lazarat started on June, followed by the arrest of some residents.

Burgaj: Police will not back off

“The state police appeals the Lazarat residents to distance themselves from some elements with criminal precedents who opposed the police with firearms, because the police will respond with the strength of law to everyone that gets involved in similar acts. War against the cultivation of narcotic plants remains one of the biggest priorities for the elimination of narcotic plants, not only in Lazarat but through the entire country”, declared the Director of the General State Police, Hysni Burgaj.
 

latimes.com

Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference to focus on foreign affairs


David Stern
NBA Commissioner David Stern arrives at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley. (Bloomberg / July 10, 2012)
Looks like the media and tech moguls attending investment bank Allen & Co.'s conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week will be spending much of their time learning about foreign affairs.
The closely guarded agenda for the annual gathering features several panels aimed at bringing the captains of industry up to speed on current events across the globe. 


On Wednesday, a panel on Iran and Israel features Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. On Thursday, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw will moderate a panel focusing on China that will feature Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of Coca-Cola Co. On Friday, Charlie Rose will interview Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.


There will also be plenty of politics. On Thursday, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, who together co-chaired President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, will lead a discussion on the economy. Friday will have "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos interviewing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The conference will close Saturday with former CIA Director George Tenet chatting with current director David Petraeus. Also, Oprah Winfrey will interview Warren Buffet.
Top media executives attending the Sun Valley conference include News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Disney Chairman Bob Iger, Discovery President David Zaslav, NBA Commissioner David Stern and ESPN chief John Skipper.

Greece Still the Most Popular Destination for Serbs

Greece is still the most popular summer destination and approximately 60 percent of tourists from Serbia are expected to spend their summer vacation here, Zoran Arsenovic, president of the Management Board of the National Association of Tourist Agencies (YUTA) said.
Arsenovic added that tourists agencies were satisfied with sales of summer packages and that they expected more business this year.
Besides Greece, he said, Serbian tourists often opt to spend their summer vacations in Turkey, where approximately 15 percent of citizens go on holiday according to YUTA, followed by Egypt and Tunisia with 10 percent each and then Spain and Italy, where five percent of tourists have decided to go.
(source: ANSA)

Cyprus still ‘top priority’ for Athens

The Cyprus problem remains Greece’s “top foreign policy priority,” Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Sunday, arriving on the divided island on the day the Republic of Cyprus assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Avramopoulos, who met with his counterpart Erato Kozakou-Markoulli, told reporters at Larnaca airport that he was maintaining the position of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in his stance toward Cyprus.
The government in Nicosia has its work cut out for it by undertaking the EU’s presidency as negotiations continue for a foreign bailout package to prop up its banks and economy. President Dimitris Christofias told state television NET on Saturday that Cyprus would seek rescue funding from the EU but stopped short of giving a figure. It was unclear whether Nicosia would seek additional funding from other nations. Deputy Minister for European Affairs Andreas Mavroyiannis told Cyprus Mail that Nicosia was facing “one of its biggest challenges as an EU member state, but also as a state,” and compared the EU presidency to a “maturity test” for the country.
Russia, Israel turn up heat in Mediterranean Sea
July 11 2012

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Russia and Israel became the latest powers after NATOs naval deployments in the eastern Mediterranean Sea last week amid the continuing crisis over last months downing of a Turkish jet by the Syrian forces, with Moscow upping the ante by announcing the deployment of a destroyer to the region.
Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships, led by an anti-submarine destroyer, to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, while Israel is separately preparing to boost the strength of its naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean in order to protect the countrys energy investments there, Israeli media reported.

Russia has also dispatched the destroyer-class warship Smetlivy, which patroled the waters off the coast of Syria in April and May, to Syria. The ship was seen leaving the Black Sea port of Sevastopol yesterday morning. The Smetlivy is leaving for Syria today. ... The vessel is expected to reach the Turkish straits tomorrow morning, the Navy source said on condition of anonymity.

The Admiral Chabanenko and three landing craft have left their home port of Severomorsk in the Arctic Circle on their way to the Mediterranean, where they will be joined by the Russian patrol ship Yaroslav Mudry as well as an assistance vessel, a source told Interfax agency.

Separately, four Russian warships passed the Dardanelles and sailed into the Aegean Sea yesterday, according to Doan news agency. Turkish coastguard boats accompanied the four vessels, the Nikolai Filchenkov, the Caesar Kunikov, Caktarz and the SB-5, the report said. The program of the voyage includes a call in the Syrian port of Tartus, the unnamed source told the news agency in reference to the Chabanenko and accompanying vessels.

The source said the trip was being conducted in line with plans to ensure the Russian fleets military readiness. According to Interfax, the source insisted that the deployment was not linked to the escalation of the situation in Syria.

Interfax quoted a military source as saying the ships were carrying marines on a training mission as well as food, water and fuel for Russias naval maintenance and repair base in Syrias Mediterranean port of Tartus.

$1 billion plan

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Gen. Benny Gantz have proposed a plan to increase the number of vessels and soldiers in the area. The plan seeks to add four new warships to the Israeli Navy while also deploying more troops in the area and utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles for patrol duties.

The $1 billion plan reportedly aims to protect Israels off-shore natural gas platforms in the eastern Mediterranean from terrorist attacks. Israel is currently running a limited patrol duty with five warships.

The burden on the Navy is likely to increase when the platforms start to pump natural gas in 2012. Joint gas exploration by Israel and Greek Cyprus has raised tensions between Turkey and the two countries. Ankara responded to the exploration by sending warships and a gas exploration vessel of its own, straining ties even further.

The moves came after a key NATO maritime group began flexing its muscles in the Mediterranean as it set off from Istanbul last week with a mission to combat terrorism in the sea. The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 will conduct its mission in the eastern Mediterranean at a time of increased tensions in the area.

July/11/2012

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-israel-turn-up-heat-in-mediterranean-sea.aspx?pageID=238&nID=25223&NewsCatID=359

Russian naval task force to Syria

Russia has deployed several warships to Syria from Black Sea and Arctic naval bases. Though Russia claims these are scheduled exercises, it is more likely a show of support for President Basher Assad’s regime, a deterrent to any Turkish or NATO action and/or a task force to evacuate Russian military and civilian personnel should Assad’s regime collapse.
From the Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol the Russian destroyer ‘Smetlivy’, will transit the Turkish Straits before entering the Aegean Sea en route to Syria. Turkey’s coast guard has also confirmed passage yesterday of the Russian amphibious assault ships ‘Nikolai Filchenkov’, ‘Caesar Kunikov’ and 2 smaller vessels. The passage of all nations warships through the Turkish Straits up to a certain size is in accordance with the 1936 Montreux Convention. Turkey is obligated to let them pass.
From the Arctic naval base at Severomorsk the Russian destroyer ‘Admiral Chabanenko’ along with the amphibious assault ships ‘Alexander Otravsky’, ‘Kondopoga’ and ‘Saint George’ set sail for Syria. These ships will rendezvous with the Russian frigate ‘Yaroslav Mudry’ and a fleet tug before continuing on to Syria.
The Russian destroyers and frigate provide anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine capabilities. However, the amphibious assault ships provide the answer to the intent of this naval deployment. If the ships are mostly empty with a light ground assault force, then Russia is anticipating having to evacuate Syria. If however, the ships arrive loaded with Russian troops, then Putin obviously intends to hold a presence in Syria and or directly assist Assad.
One hint may be that Russia has canceled the sale of Yak-130 ground attack planes and other arms sales to Syria have been cancelled after canceling the sale of S-300 surface to air missiles (SAM) last month. These cancellations are likely not a coincidence. Putin or his generals may be concerned the aircraft and missiles would fall into rebel hands, or the need for them would be nullified by the presence of actual Russian forces in Syria.
The deployment comes on the heels of a large Syrian naval exercise with the aim of training to deter a seaborne assault, an obvious ‘message’ to NATO specifically to Turkey. Though there was no parallel ground force exercise.
Were NATO to intervene in Syria, there would be no need to do so via an amphibious assault on the Syrian coast. It is more likely the intervention would come directly out of Turkey with possible deployment of a NATO force in Lebanon to deter incursions by the Syrian Army or the rebels. Lebanon has already deployed troops to the border in response to incidents of Syrian rebels using Lebanese territory as a passage followed by Syrian artillery barrages reaching as far as 12 miles into Lebanon and causing several deaths of Lebanese.
On the diplomatic side, Turkey has offered to compare data with Syria on the shoot down of a Turkish RF-4E last month. Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan is also to make a one day visit to Moscow next week and meet with President Putin to discuss Syria and the shoot down of the RF-4E. UN & Arab League Special envoy Kofi Annan has already traveled to Syria and met with President Assad. Annan described the talks as constructive and that he is in agreement with Assad on a new 'approach' which he will propose when he meets with Syrian opposition leaders. However, Mr. Annan has acknowledged that his peace initiative has thus far failed. The deployment of Russian ships to Syria would seem to suggest that this last effort may also have failed.
Germans interested for Albanian chrome



Germans interested for chrome
The German Ambassador in Albania, Carola Muller Holtkemper has visited today the town of Bulqize. Accompanied by MP Qemal Minxhozi, she met the miners and the Miniers’ Union at the Bulqize Mine, and was updated with the respective problematic.

The Ambassador expressed her readiness to support the miners and offered German companies to manage the mine. The head of the miners’ syndicate, Kujtim Alli, updated the ambassador with the situation.

He said that the main problem is the lack of the investments that were foreseen with the ACR Company agreement. If the investments will not be realized in four years, it will close.

The Union member asked the ambassador for support and intervention to resolve this situation, so that the investments in this mine can start urgently.

The German Ambassador declared that many German companies have offered to operate with projects in the Bulqize mine.

Albanian Defenses Minister, is spying on opposition

TV Top Channel
10/07/2012


"Imami is spying on opposition"
The opposition has increased its suspicions against the Minister of Defense, Arben Imami, by launching accusations even more severe than the arms trafficking.

After the Socialist MPs were not allowed to perform an inspection at this Ministry, the Socialist leader, Edi Rama, declared that the opposition knows very well what Minister Imami is trying to hide, and that the arms trafficking that was discovered lately is only the tip of the iceberg of the corruption and flagrant constitutional violations.

“We have reliable information from the Ministry of Defense that the newly discovered arms traffic is only the tip of the iceberg of an illegal activity that extends even to the usage of the army to spy on the opposition for political reasons. So, the immunity cannot defend the opposition from illegal interceptions. I guarantee the violators that they will respond”, Rama declared.

Before Rama reported the affair of the Ministry of Defense, the Socialists were not allowed to enter the Ministry of Defense for an inspection from the Parliamentary Commission of Security. The vice chairman of this commission, the Socialist MP Ilir Gjoni, considered the Ministry’s decision as a constitutional coup.

“We faced a flagrant violation of the constitution, which I would call a Constitutional coup. It is regrettable that this Minister, who was among the people who planned the Constitution, infringes it in the most severe way. In these 20 years, the Parliamentary Commission of Security has never had a similar case. I have worked with Mr. Imami and I used to have another impression about him”, Ilir Gjoni declared.

The ministry answered to the accusations through their General Secretary, claiming that the Socialists had no clear agenda for the inspection.

“Their claim that they have a regular inspection permit does not stand. I have to clarify that the Ministry of Defense answers to the Constitution and the law of the Albanian Republic. The MPs did not present their request according to the Parliamentary procedures’, declared Ervin Kulluri, General Secretary of the Ministry of Defense.

A few minutes after this rejection, other members of the opposition accused the Minister of trying to hide documentation, to the point of saying that Imami has lied the Commission in the previous hearing session. But the majority MPs proposed an inspection at the Parliament’s office, rather than at the Ministry, where the Ministry will provide any documentation that will be required.
New Greek gov’t launches salvo at Turkey over Aegean disputes
July 9 2012 at 4:19 AM

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Greeces new government has said Athens should remain committed to maintaining cooperation with Turkey but urged Ankara to drop its threat of war in long-running Aegean disputes between the two neighbors, saying it is an obstacle for the improvement of ties.

Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, in a policy speech in parliament on Saturday, also claimed that Turkey is bound by terms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which regulates how countries should use oceans and seas and the resources they contain -- even though Ankara refuses to sign it.

Turkey refuses to sign the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea out of concerns about its implications for its territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean. The convention, which was concluded in 1982 and came into force in 1994, recognizes nations rights to extend their territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) and their exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the baseline. The implementation of these norms is tricky in the Aegean due to special geographical properties of the area.

Ankara strongly rejects any Greek attempts to extend its territorial waters from the current six nautical miles to 12. Tensions peaked in the 1990s when Greece ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a measure to counter any Greek declaration that its territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles, the Turkish Parliament officially declared that any Greek unilateral attempt will be considered a casus belli, a reason to declare war.

Turkey and Greece are also at odds over the delimitation of the exclusive economic zones due to a dispute over to what extent the Greek islands off the Turkish coast should be taken into consideration while determining the borders of the Turkish and Greek exclusive economic zones.

Turkey argues that distances should be measured from the continental mainland, while Greece claims that all islands must be taken into account on an equal basis.

Avramopoulos said in his speech that countries that are not parties to the UN convention are also obliged to follow its norms and announced that Athens will also raise the issue within the EU, which Turkey aspires to join.

Turkey says it is not bound by the UN convention since it has never signed it, while Greece defends the right to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles is not only treaty law but also customary law.

Turkish and Greek diplomats have been holding closed-door talks for years to resolve the issue but no progress has been reported so far. Avramopoulos said Turkey should realize that it cannot keep the threat of war alive while talks meant to sort out the disputes are under way and while the two countries keep having high-level cooperation meetings.

He said he has already let his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutolu, know of his governments expectation when the two met on the sidelines of a Black Sea regional meeting last month.

Whether Avramopoulos statements can revive tensions between the two neighbors remains a question. Commenting on the Greek foreign ministers remarks, a Turkish official said they are mere repetition of Greeces well-known stance.

On other issues of dispute, Avramopoulos said his government will continue to press Turkey to re-open Halki Greek Orthodox seminary, in an island off stanbul, and to improve the rights and status of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in stanbul. He said the status of the Patriarchate is not a matter of reciprocity that should be handled as part of a package that commits Greece to improve the countrys Muslim Turkish minority.

Avramopoulos also said the Greek Foreign Ministry was working on a new foreign policy doctrine that will dispense with a belief that every development in the world should be seen as a threat to Greeces security, something, he said, that pushes Greece into isolation.

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-285939-new-greek-govt-launches-salvo-at-turkey-over-aegean-disputes.html

President discusses Tadić's gesture, new govt., Kosovo

BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić says Boris Tadić told him he would travel to the Croatia Summit - but not that he intended to shake hands with Hashim Thaci.
Nikolić arrives at the Patriarchate building (Tanjug)
Nikolić arrives at the Patriarchate building (Tanjug)
Democratic Party (DS) leader Tadić was Serbia's president for two terms since 2004. He was defeated by Nikolić in the May 20 presidential runoff.
Commenting on Tadić's gesture, Nikolić stressed that he himself "would not shake hands with Thaci".

Speaking after his meeting with Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej in Belgrade on Monday, the president stated that he would not have recommended to Tadić to engage in the handshake, considering Thaci is a person suspected of committing very serious crimes:

"That's some kind of personal gesture of his (Tadić's), I spoke about that today with the (U.S.) State Department representative, and told him I do not know what Mr. Tadić wished to achieve by that, except perhaps to demonstrate that he was invited to where I cannot go. However, there's something I cannot do that he apparently can: I cannot shake hands with a person that they say committed crimes against Serbs, not before it has been determined whether he had."

Nikolić also emphasized that Tadić as a citizen has a right to go where he wishes, but noted that the leader of the Democrats was behind the policy that states that Serbian officials should not attend gatherings attended by those from Priština.

"I think we can town down passions in Serbia. I spoke to His Holiness (Irinej) about Kosovo and told him that we need some type of consensus, while he said that the Church would never shy away from taking the responsibility,," Nikolić said, and added that by "consensus", he meant "above all agreement of parliamentary parties about the solution to the problem of Kosovo".

"Government needed urgently to deal with economy"

Tomislav Nikolić on Monday urged for forming the government as soon as possible to enable the country to deal with its accumulated economic problems.

"I hope we will have the government formed soon. I do not know what it will look like, but I know that the situation is a dire one and that it was high time we addressed the economic issues that nobody seems to care about anymore," Nikolić told reporters after meeting with Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej.

He said he had discussed the government forming issue with U.S. State Secretary Assistant Philip Gordon earlier today. He added that they had also touched on the situation in Kosovo, Serbia's European path and the way the U.S. could help Serbia's citizens live better.

Nikolić said they had had a fair exchange of opinions, during which the U.S. Department of State official had presented his own policy, as well as the powers and obligations he had under the Constitution.

Asked about what stance the future government would take regarding Vuk Jeremić's Chairmanship-in-Office of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Nikolić said he did not want to interfere with any of the Democratic Party's (DS) internal issues, but the new government would certainly have to adopt an opinion concerning the issue in question.

"Someone should submit a report to us about the projected expenses so that we could see if we have enough money for that or not, and if we do not have the money, we should apologize to the UNGA and ask them to select someone else to chair it," said the Serbian president.

"I would agree to talks with Jahjaga"

Tomislav Nikolić also stated on Monday that he would agree to talks with Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, but during a formal meeting and not informally.

In response to reporters' question as to whether he would conduct talks with Jahjaga, Nikolić said that he does not see any reason why he would not confer with Pristina's representatives if the time comes for such talks.

"We need to decide whether we would keep walking out on meetings or whether we would fight for our stands,", Nikolić said and added that he supports Serbia's attendance at the meetings where its stands ought to be heard.

According to him, "a joint interpretation" of the agreements from Brussels need to be adopted so that it would be clear whether the Belgrade government agreed for the Priština interim institutions to be present at international forums at the same time as Serbia's representatives.

Jahjaga stated on Sunday that she is willing to conduct talks with the Serbian president and added that only Nikolić and herself, "as legal and legitimate heads of state", can conduct talks during which they would present the will of the people.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence over four years ago, but Serbia rejected the proclamation as illegal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cypriot FM to visit Belgrade on Wednesday

BELGRADE -- Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis is scheduled to will visit Belgrade on Wednesday, according to reports.
Cyprus took over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU on July 1.
This will be the foreign minister's first trip abroad since Cyprus took over the presidency, Belgrade daily Večerenje Novosti learned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia.

Cyprus and Serbia have good relations and the government in Nicosia will do everything in its power to support your country on its path to the EU, the Belgrade-based daily was told.
Berisha: Our Neighbors, must be released by the anti Albanian doctrine

Athens still has not reacted by "albano mania" of Berisha

TIRANA Prime Minister Sali Berisha demanded today that the relinquished Albanian neighbors once and anti doctrine and work together for a purpose of regional integration in the European Union.
The statement was made to the work of the International Conference 'neighbors Albania "held in Tirana.

"It has always been fear of the Kosovo. Years ago, an American foundation did a great job, with a series workshops, Seminars for the Albanians and their neighbors, awakened jealousy as neighbors, but these are realities. And it's because the Albanians are a nation. ... No nation in the past, did not suffer major injustices and pain, as our nation, but is a nation that supports more EU integration as the best future for her.

Albanians are the major achievements and historical, but again the road is to be made ​​and a description of the miles towards the EU has a great importance, to NATO on Kosovo and Macedonia and Montenegro is of great importance for every Albanian, as well the liberation of our neighbors from the old doctrines of racist and anti xenophobic "- said Berisha.

Statement of Berisha for Albanian anti feelings of their neighbors (Greek and Serbian) were made for the third time, for which, any of its neighbors, including Greece, did not reacted.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

US Urges Albania to Heed EU Recommendations for Improvement

A senior U.S. official has urged Albania to heed European Union recommendations on the improvements needed to be in place in the Balkan country before it can start negotiations for a membership in the regional bloc.
Philip Reeker, deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, has told the VOA Albanian Service that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing as the European Commission will soon start preparing a new assessment on Tirana's readiness to start European Union accession talks.
He said Albanian politicians have lost some time focusing on recent elections, but that they need to make up for that now.
“”They've lost some time, but they need to focus on important recommendations. There are 12 key recommendations that the European Union provided over a year ago. It is time to work on that because the window is rapidly closing. The European commission will soon set to work on its annual report — the status report — and so there is an opportunity now to make some real progress, particularly in three key areas: parliamentary reform, electoral reform and lifting of immunities.”
Reeker said Albanian politicians of all parties must be aware that the reforms are needed as soon as possible, ideally before the August recess.
Reeker congratulated President-elect Bujar Nishani on his June 11 election victory, but added that the wisdom of democracy is the wisdom of compromise, which he said the European Union will expect from Albania.
The European Union demands that the Balkan country improve its economy, end long-standing political factionalism and fight organized crime and corruption before it can become a candidate for membership of the 27-nation bloc.

French president plans new genocide law

PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande has said he plans a new law to punish denial that the 1915-16 killing of Armenians was genocide.
Francois Hollande (Beta, file)
Francois Hollande (Beta, file)
A previous law approved by the French parliament was struck down in February by the Constitutional Council, which said it infringed freedom of speech.
Turkey rejects the term "genocide" for the deaths of Armenians during their deportation by the Ottoman Empire.

The issue has strained Franco-Turkish relations in recent years.

Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy had also ordered his government to draft a new law after the old one was struck down.

"Francois Hollande has again expressed his willingness to propose a bill designed to curb the denial of the Armenian genocide, as he had said during his campaign and even before," the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organisations of France (CCAF) told the AFP news agency.

A delegation from the CCAF will meet Hollande before the end of the month to discuss what form the new law would take, French media reports say.

On Thursday, remarks by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart appeared to indicate that the Constitutional Council's ruling would make it impossible to take up the issue again.

However, Hollande's office said on Saturday: "The president expressed his commitments during the campaign. He will keep them.”

"We must find a path, a road that allows for a text that is consistent with the constitution," the French president said.