Saturday, July 21, 2012

Putin signs law labeling NGOs as "foreign agents"

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a controversial bill that brands NGOs who receive funding from abroad as "foreign agents".
Vladimir Putin (Beta)
Vladimir Putin (Beta)
The law, which has caused huge concern among activists who fear it will be used to stigmatize critical NGOs, was signed by Putin after it was rushed through the lower and upper houses of parliament before their summer breaks, AFP has reported.
“Putin signed the federal law on regulating the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who carry out the role of a foreign agent", the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday. 

The law, which sailed through the State Duma lower house on July 13 and then the upper house Federation Council on July 18, requires NGOs that receive foreign funding to register with the authorities as foreign agents, AFP says.

Albanian lawmakers approve electoral reforms after pressure from EU, opposition

TIRANA, Albania — The Albanian parliament on Thursday approved electoral reforms following pressure from the European Union and opposition allegations that past votes have been rigged.
Lawmakers voted 127-2 in favor of constitutional amendments that allow greater transparency in the selection of key electoral commission officials and introduce digital voter identity checks in the capital, Tirana. Parliament also approved a pilot project to computerize the vote count in the city of Fier.
The changes, which will apply to the next national elections planned for 2013, follow a key request for electoral reform from the EU, which Albania hopes to join.
But they do not address small opposition parties’ demands for a national proportional system of representation. The small parties say the existing system makes it hard for them to enter Parliament, because when they fail to pass a 3 percent threshold in any of the 12 electoral districts their votes in that district go to the two biggest parties.
Albanian President Bamir Topi is expected to issue a decree within the next few days passing the reforms into law.
A spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele welcomed the changes. Peter Stano said the adoption of the reforms was a move “towards meeting a key (EU) priority.”
This autumn, Albania expects the EU to make a new assessment of its bid to be designated a candidate member — following two consecutive refusals from Brussels over the past two years.
Stano also urged a “constructive attitude” from Tirana towards further reforms in the rule of law, which he said were “essential for Albania to advance on the EU path this year.”
Stano said such reforms should include easing restrictions on the investigation and prosecution of lawmakers, government officials, judges and prosecutors.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Resigned Director still at work
20/07/2012 23:50
Top Channel TV

Resigned Director still at work
The Military Intelligence Service Director, Ylli Zyla, is continuing his duty even after he resigned due tot he arms scandal.

This was discovered after a letter that he sent to the Security Parliamentary Commission, which was read in the session that was held this Wednesday behind closed doors.

Zyla expresses in this letter his concern about the attacks of the opposition leader against him on the media, after he resigned as Director of the Military Intelligence Service.

According to Syla, these attacks damage not only his figure, but also the institutions it represents.

The letter was read in front of the MPs of the Commission, in the presence of the Minister of Defense, Arben Imami. The letter concludes with: Director of the Military Intelligence Service, Ylli Zyla.

This fact made the vice chairman of the National Security Parliamentary Commission, Ilir Gjoni, to ask Minister Imami for explanations on how the resigned MIS Director is still writing as he is on duty. But Minister Imami gave no explanation.

The opposition also has information that after the resignation, Zyla continued exerting his duty, or at least he has been every day at this institution.

Zyla resigned after the accusations that his wife was partner in the arms dealing in Albania, and that he had conflicts of interest for the fact that his wife is a shareholder of two licensed companies at the Ministry of Defense for exporting weapons.
The Albanian Military asset scandal

Military asset scandal
The Secretary of the “Property with Justice” Association, Myshit Vorpsi, expressed his concern regarding the way how he public military assets are being privatized. During an interview for Top Channel, Vorpsi accused the government of lacking transparency.

“Every privatization must have transparency, so that everyone can know that an object is on sale, even those who don’t have concrete interests on it. Why aren’t these properties part of the physical compensation of former property owners? Why do you compensate the former owners with forests on top of mountains, and not with these objects that the army doesn’t need anymore? Why should the Albanian owners be so left asside?”, Vorpsi declared.

Vorpsi joins the opposition’s opinion that these properties could compensate the former owners. According to him, the Albanian government is wrong thinking that they can compensate the former owners with money.

“The obligation of the Albanian state against the former owners has extraordinary measures and if they think that the Albanian owners will be compensated with monetary values, this is not the solution of the problem, but it is the destruction of this entire problem that is related with the property rights. The first question is why shouldn’t these objects be used for compensating the former owners”, Vorpsi declared.

MP Erjon Brace declared yesterday that 1.2 million square meters of land are being sold without transparency and in a corruptive way by the Ministry of Defense.

Slovakia recognizes Kosovo passports
20/07/2012 18:30

Slovakia recognizes Kosovo passports

Slovakia decided to accept passports from Kosovo, although they have not recognized the independence of the country together with Spain, Romania, Cyprus and Greece.

The news for Top Channel was confirmed by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Petrit Selimi. “Slovakia announced that they will recognize the passport of the Republic of Kosovo. This is a good news, because it facilitates the movement and communication between the Kosovo and Slovakia citizens”, declared Minister Selimi, adding that this step is a movement towards the normalization of the movement freedom for the Kosovo citizens in the EU.

He added through the e-mail that “we are happy that the EU countries that have not recognize Kosovo are moving towards a more constructive position, on the same line that was reached in Brussels for giving to Kosovo the visa liberalization guide and the feasibility study”.

The Albanian government is selling Dhraleo, Yala and Porto Palermo

SP MP Erion Brace: In Palace in Porto Palermo, are selling items for clients of the goverment

sources; implicated, and some people from Himara

Alarm is given by the SP MP Erion Brace, who has publicly denounced than 1.2 million square meters area of the army, was sold by the Ministry of Defense, without asking the legitimate owners.

But with the special, certainly belongs to the Himara Region, Albanian Army Assets constitute threats for extortion bid mass with the help of the Ministry of Defense, and turned the property to the legitimate owners.

According to Deputy Brace, clients reported by the Albanian press, belonging to a high-ranking Albanian government, are key people who have negotiated a long time to obtain the concession of the public beaches in Himara Region.

Speaking, for Dhraleo, Yala, and Porto Palermo, in which the Development Plan approved by the Albanian Government and the Municipality of Himara, describes these areas with the highest influence tourism development.

In terms of Porto Palermo, confidential intelligence sources, speaking on the implications of some persons in the former administration of the Municipality of Himara, who have negotiated in collaboration with persons who have taken public concessions from the Municipality Council of Himara, which has not yet are published for the community.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Israeli Navy to stage drills in coordination with Greece


A man looks on as an Israeli navy boat maneuvers just outside the port of Ashdod in this June 5, 2010 file photograph. Reuters photo
A man looks on as an Israeli navy boat maneuvers just outside the port of Ashdod in this June 5, 2010 file photograph. Reuters photo
The Israeli Navy is set to hold exercises using live ammunition off Greece’s Aegean island of Milos on July 18 with the cooperation of – but no participation from – the Greek military, Greek media have reported.

Only Israeli warships will be involved in the shooting exercise, while coordination and monitoring will be performed by radar located on nearby Mt. Parnitha.

No information was available about the type or number of ships Israel will use during the military exercises.

A NAVTEX, or navigational telex, has already been issued to ships and airplanes in the area regarding the exercises which will be using live fire.

Turkey had been a close ally of Israel, but the countries’ relations hit rock-bottom after Israel stormed a Turkish-led aid flotilla to Gaza two years ago, killing nine Turkish activists.

Bill Clinton to visit Athens as part of drive to reverse crisis

Former US President Bill Clinton is to visit Athens at the end of this week as part of a Greek-American campaign aimed at reversing the negative image of Greece and promoting initiatives that could contribute toward tackling the repercussions of the crisis.

According to Kathimerini, a Greek-American initiative involving well-known entrepreneurs, lawyers and scientists, aim to gather an initial 100 million euros through a combination of three activities -- bolstering the work of isolated charity organizations, supporting the implementation of structural reforms and attracting foreign investment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Parma excited by the arrival of himariotas Sotiris Ninis: Serie A 

  • Parma excited by the arrival of Sotiris Ninis: Serie A News
Antonello Preiti, Gialloblu director, was elated after capturing the creatively gifted Greek midfielder; with the midfielder coming on a Bosman transfer to the club.
Roberto Donadoni has been looking to strengthen his squad ahead of the next season.  Juventus opted to recall the promising Sebastian Giovinco who was instrumental in their success last season. The diminutive striker was called for the Italian national team for the European Championships held in Poland and Ukraine.
His departure has left a hole which Donadoni is desperate to fill and he has been searching the market to find the right player. Parma re-signed Amauri, however, Amauri is a big target man; the kind of player Giovinco would have loved to have played with.
So when the Gialloblu were successful in capturing an attacking midfielder in the form of Sotiris Ninis, it was evident why Preiti was ecstatic after signing the Greek international. Ninis previously played for Panathinaikos, and after refusing to sign an extension to his contract, Parma took this as an opportunity to sign a player they highly rate on a free transfer.
The Gialloblu technical director was talking to the assembled media and in his interview, he went on to state that they had been following the Greek for some time now, and stated:
"I introduce willingly because I am fond of the boy, moreover, we have come to this purchase in very difficult times. We followed him on a number of occasions, and we had been following him for a while too.
Preiti went on to state that the midfielder has abundance of exposure to playing in a quality league, after having made more than a hundred club appearances in Greece. Furthermore, Ninis would also fill in the gap left by Giovinco who was instrumental in Parma’s form last season.
"We really wanted him, he is an idol in Greek football, an extraordinary player and played over 100 games in the Greek league. With Ninis we have found an important project and I'm sure the good things he did in Greece he can replicate with us."
Parma have also signed Acquah from Palermo and have signed Fideleff from Napoli on a loan deal.

"Kosovo is frozen conflict, partition only fair solution"

BELGRADE -- Kosovo is basically a frozen conflict and the partition would be the only fair solution, says former CIA Deputy Chief of the Balkan Task Force Steven Meyer.
He told Belgrade-based weekly NIN that Washington’s basic stance on Serbia “has not changed for the last 15 years” and added that the U.S. administration “will stick to the policy of Kosovo’s independence and position that Serbia needs to join the EU and NATO”.
“Americans will not strongly pressure Belgrade any time soon, meaning until Belgrade makes its position clearer. Therefore, the first question is not what the U.S. policy will be like but what Belgrade’s policy will be like,” said Meyer, who is also a professor at the U.S. National Defense University (NDU).

He believes that Serbia has a chance to change the dynamics of its relations with Washington.

“But in order to do that it needs to act more independently and to be less obedient to Washington or Brussels than the previous government,” Meyer added.

He believes that the new government will not have a significantly different stance on Kosovo than the previous one.

“The new government needs to pay strict attention to the internal-political sensitivity to any sudden steps in the process of acceptance of Kosovo’s independence. At the same time Belgrade will not want to insult Washington or Brussels and this is why it will make sure not to give any support to some nationalistic attitude,” Meyer pointed out.

“In short, Kosovo has basically become a frozen conflict and I do not expect this to change any time soon. I have been saying for the last ten years that the partition is the only fair solution,” he concluded.
Imami responds to opposition's accusations

Imami responds to opposition's accusations
The Minister of Defense, Arben Imami, who categorically denied the accusations for spying on the opposition with the Ministry’s equipments, declared that Albania works only against terrorism. As for the Parliamentary Commission request to inspect the Ministry, he declared with irony:

“They need to establish a commission with 3-4 trusted people, who must swear in a joint public declaration that they will not tell their family members about the secrets. We don’t work in this direction, but against terrorism”, Imami declared.

The vice chairman of the Commission for Security, Ilir GJoni, expressed the Socialists’ reserves regarding the Parliamentary surveillance that is being denied to the opposition. But the Minister of Defense insisted on the decision to not allow a physical inspection inside the Ministry.

The Security Commission continued with harsh debates since the beginning of the session, this Wednesday morning. The opposition MPs asked explanations about the rejected inspection.

Imami denied all accusations for illegal arms traffic, explaining that he informs the President, the Prime Minister and the Parliament Speaker for every sale.

As for the part of the meeting that was held behind closed doors, Gjoni confirmed that they discussed about some topics that had been treated by the media recently, such as the Bisht Palla Base and Vlore Marines that are expected to be removed from the state structures.

UN condemns attacks on Kosovo Serbs

NEW YORK -- Ambassadors of UN Security Council members condemned the latest attacks against Kosovo Serbs in closed-doors consultations held Tuesday, Tanjug has learned.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
The positions of Western ambassadors on the one and Russia and China on the other side remained divided when it comes to the motives for the attacks, as representatives of Washington, London and Paris said it was unknown whether the latest attacks were ethnically motivated, while Moscow and Beijing saw them as attacks on the Serb population.
Most of the ambassadors kept to the same lines as before.

“Western ambassadors say it is not known whether the incidents are ethnically motivated and noted they were isolated,” said Tanjug's source, adding that all ambassadors condemned the incidents.

Herve Ladsus, the head of UN peacekeeping operations, spoke at the meeting about the latest attacks in Kosovo, mentioning the attacks during the celebration of the religious holiday St. Vitus Day on June 28, and the murder of a Serb married couple, Milovan and Ljiljana Jevtić, near Uroševac.

Representatives of Russia brought up the issue of Libyan and Syrian training camps in Kosovo, as well as the fact few displaced persons were returning.

Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Sasha Pankin insisted that the recent murders of Serbs in Kosovo be solved and that intimidation of Serb returnees be investigated, a source from the UN told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).

The UNSC did not adopt any conclusions since the meeting was in the form of consultations rather than a session.

After the issue of Kosovo, the ambassadors went on to discuss the situation in Syria.

Ikaria's short flight to independence

The Greek Embassy in Vienna strongly reacted to speculations about possibility of one of its islands – Ikaria – breaking away from country and joining Austria.
Ikaria is an inseparable part of Greek national territory,” the embassy statement said and further explained that Greece is not governed on a federal basis, but as a unitary state, clarifying that there is no agreement between the government and the Greek islands, which would be subject to expiration.
The Greek diplomats explained that the island celebrated 100th anniversary of the revolution and liberation from the Ottoman Empire, but that the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923, constitutes the legal basis for annexation of the East Aegean islands by Greece.

An activist of human rights, violated in Himara

Member of the Civil Society of Himara, Koco Koka was violated because he protected property in Qiparo Village, the Himara Region, by gangs that are using himariotes properties, such as private beaches

The Himara Community, and the "CoastLine Association", warn protests for civil and human rights in Himara Region, urging again the U.S. government representatives in Tirana, Alexander Arvizu, to visit the Himara Region, and see live how the properties of U.S. citizens
descent from Himara ..are violated by Mafia.

Serious event, is written by the Albanian press is quite disturbing, the fact that 83-year-old Koco Koka, is prominent activist of the Himara Community, which has made efforts together with his wife, to protect his property by vandals, who , have invaded private and public properties of himariotes indigenous families.

Concern is the fact that the members of the family property "Koka", are also U.S. citizens, for which charges concern the U.S. diplomatic responsibility in Tirana.

A memorandum signed between the U.S. and the Albanian government, in 1995, speaks clearly constitutional obligations of U.S. citizens property shall be inviolable in all the territory of Albania and especially in the Himara Region.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peace and stability, Berisha in Rome
"No border changed, if it happens, Balkans goes in chaos" 17/07/2012 

Peace and stability, Berisha in Rome
Prime Minister Berisha attended a meeting in Rome, with the topic “Today’s main challenges on peace and security”. 

During his speech, Berisha declared that "if the Kosovo goes to divide the Balkan Borders goes in Chaos"

He held a speech where he expressed the stances of the Albanian state regarding these topics. Berisha declared that the dictators are falling one after another in the world, letting it breathe and creating a global security.

The Prime Minister mentioned Syria, considering their leader Assad a bloody and merciless dictator. Berisha also mentioned Albania’s contribution to NATO, such as Afghanistan, where Albania has deployed 350 troops.

Berisha also mentioned the case of Kosovo, asking the respecting of its northern borders. 

"U.S., Germany want Serbia to withdraw police from Kosovo"

BELGRADE -- The U.S. and Germany have requested that Serbia "withdraw its police officers from northern Kosovo and Metohija", says Belgrade-based Blic newspaper.
The tabloid explains that "officially Serbia does not have any security forces in the north but that it has engaged employees of the Interior Ministry (MUP) there".
Quoting unnamed sources, it further claims that it is "an open secret" that "between 300 and 400 MUP employees have been engaged there, while foreign services estimate that there are between 1,000 and 2,000 of Serbia's intelligence agents." 

Blic further says that Philip Gordon, the high US official who recently met with President Tomislav Nikolić, future PM Ivica Dačić and SNS leader Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, said that the his country "can and will help but that Belgrade should end support for illegal security and judicial forces in northern Kosovo". 

"Officially and formally Serbia does not have security forces in Kosovo and Metohija, but it does have MUP officers who work on issuance of documents. I think that the estimates that there are about 1,000 or 2,000 Serbian intelligence agents there are exaggerated', an unnamed "top official of the Serb authorities" was quoted as saying by Blic. 

As per the UN SC Resolution 1244, Serbia could send back a certain number of policemen to Kosovo in agreement with the international community. 

"Instead of that, the country has unofficially developed police and judicial structures, and courts as well. They have their principle offices at private homes without any official insignia. This is how the Kosovo administration of the 1990s used to operate in the time of Slobodan Milošević," the paper concludes.

Patrol Boat Delivered by Damen to Albanian Coast Guard

Press Release
Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 4:31 AM
File Photo credit Damen Shipyards
Photo credit Damen Shipyards
Second of 4 Damen Stan Patrol Vessels, ‘Oriku’, delivered  from  Pashaliman Shipyard in Vlorë (Albania) for Albanian Coast Guard
The Stan patrol boats were ordered by the Albanian Ministry of Defence. Their main purpose is to execute patrol duties and Search and Rescue missions in  territorial waters. The project included extensive knowledge transfer and the reconstruction of a naval shipyard.
The first ship of the Stan Patrol 4207 project was built in the Netherlands and delivered to the Albanian Coast Guard in August 2008.
The project also included the thorough reconstruction of the Vlorë Naval Shipyard and the building of a new assembly hall, in which vessels as large as 60 meters can be constructed. Both projects were handled by Damen Services. Under the Damen Technical Cooperation (DTC) concept the complete, prefabricated material packages for the construction hall and the patrol vessel were sent to Albania
The whole operation has been carried out under the late ORET program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its objective was to support sustainable investment in infrastructural projects in developing countries.

To come up to expectations for full NATO membership the Albanian Government works on the transformation and revitalisation of its armed forces. Monitoring and protecting the territorial waters is one of the ambitious tasks set.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Absurd to expect Serbia to recognize Kosovo"

BELGRADE -- Swedish Ambassador to Serbia Christer Asp has stated that it would be "absurd to expect Serbia to recognize Kosovo's independence".
Christer Asp (Politika)
Christer Asp (Politika)
Nobody is asking for this since five EU countries did not wish to do so either, he told Belgrade-based daily Politika in an interview.
The diplomat stated that Sweden was "against any changes to the existing borders, and is completely in agreement with the U.S. on this issue". In line with his country's decision to recognize Kosovo, Asp was reffering to the existence of a "border between Kosovo and Serbia", Politika explained.

Sweden was among the 22 EU member states that recognized the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made in early 2008, which Serbia rejected as illegal.

"Nobody is expecting or asking Serbia to do so in order to be granted EU accession, but Belgrade is expected to achieve good neighborly relations," the Swedish ambassador was quoted as saying.

He explained that representatives of Belgrade and Priština will discuss electricity, telecommunications and flyover permits and added that the topics of the technical dialogue would be more difficult than the ones which have been already agreed on and are being implemented.

However much resolution of problems may be important, Sweden believes that achievement of a longer-lasting sustainable solution calls for some sort of political talks on a higher level. "President Nikolić expressed the willingness to meet with Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and this is a very positive signal," Asp said.

According to him, "Sweden wants to see Serbia join the EU as soon as possible because this would have a positive influence on the development of the entire region".

He added that Sweden believes Serbia could get the date of beginning of talks with the EU in December.

"We still have September, October and November before that moment, and if the new government sends positive results, this will be sufficient time to achieve progress and improve relations with Priština," Asp said and added that later on, "political talks would have to be conducted between northern Kosovo and Priština, simultaneously with the Belgrade-Priština dialogue".

US Navy fires on small boat in the Persian Gulf

US Navy fires on small boat in the Persian Gulf “A U.S. military supply ship fired Monday at a small boat in the Persian Gulf after it came too close, apparently killing one person on board,” anonymous U.S. government officials have reported to CNN.
The ship in question, USNS Rappahannock, is a fuel resupply ship, which would presumably make it a tempting target for a USS Cole type of bombing attack.
The small boat, described as a “pleasure craft,” ignored repeated verbal warnings and a warning shot, plus “flashing lights and lasers,” according to MSNBC.  Instead, it made “a series of maneuvers” that brought it within 1200 yards of the Navy vessel.  At that point, an attempt was made to disable the approaching craft with a 50-caliber machine gun, reportedly killing one person on board and injuring three others.
The incident occurred 10 miles away from the huge Dubai port of Jebel Ali.  It is currently believed the boat was crewed from the United Arab Emirates or India, but the incident occurred soon after Iran’s latest threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz unless sanctions imposed against its nuclear weapons program were lifted.  Both the U.S. Navy and the United Arab Emirates have said the incident is under investigation.

Future government is "no threat to Vojvodina's autonomy"

SUBOTICA, BELGRADE -- PM-designate Ivica Dačić says that "an opinion is being artificially created that Vojvodina's autonomy is jeopardized by a government that is yet to be formed".
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Dačić was referring to the statement of League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV) party leader Nenad Čanak that it was "necessary to internationalize the issue of Vojvodina's autonomy", after the decision of the Constitutional Court of Serbia ruling numerous jurisdictions given to the northern province to be unconstitutional.
Dačić recalled that judges of that court were elected by the outgoing government, and that the Socialist Party of Serbia voted in favor of the Vojvodina Statute.

"After such a decision of the Constitutional Court, any attempt to speak about Vojvodina will be declared as calling for undermining of the constitutional order and betrayal," Čanak told the Novi Sad-based daily Dnevnik.

"I oppose the abuse of this issue," Dačić stated at a news conference in Subotica after his meeting on Monday with Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (SVM) leader Istvan Pastor, with whom he discussed issue related to the forming of Serbia's new government.

Dačić said that pursuing that avenue "might be good for daily politics" - but that "elections are over and that, if there is any problem with Vojvodina's autonomy, it was created by the rule of the Democratic Party (DS)".

The SPS party leader and deputy PM and interior minister in the outgoing government underlined that as prime minister designate, he was ready to cooperate with the Vojvodina provincial government as "democratic relations are in both governments' best interests, rather than fights that damage the whole country".

Dačić added that it was "necessary to look for solutions rather than politicize such issues and added that he would not allow for disputable issues to be resolved in any other way but a democratic one".

"I am extending the hand of cooperation, in order to make Serbia as stronger and as developed as possible, and for it to have a place in the European family of peoples," Dačić said.

Istvan Pastor also addressed the issue to say that Čanak's LSV party "could have done more for Vojvodina had its MPs voted differently when bills on the state budget and some others were voted on" - when, he said, the SVM stood in principled defense of the province's interests.

"What does 'internationalization' mean, anyway? We are constantly doing that by protecting the interests of the province, also in our discussions with international institutions," Pastor was quoted as saying.
Edi Rama with the emigrants in Greece 

Rama with the emigrants in Greece
The Socialist leader, Edi Rama had a meeting with the Albanian emigrants in Thessalonica, Greece, whom he asked to become a real and direct part of the change in Albania. 

The Socialist leader underlined the program for a National Rebirth, which, according to Mr. Rama, will be the foundation of a new policy for Albania.

“This government should not be allowed anymore to rob Albania with the argument that the others can do nothing better. The people have signed the agreement with those who govern, and they should answer for every infringed point of the agreement. This government has broken the agreement with the people, and for this reason the people should remove them from power in the next elections, while they must judge the new government only through the evidence, and if the next government will still not fulfill the points of agreement, the people can change it too. This is what makes democracy work, the opportunity for changing the government when it doesn’t keep the promises with the people, Rama declared.

Rama underlined that the current government with Prime Minister Berisha has turned into a clan that works only for the personal interests of the people close to them.

“I really believe that this government and its Prime Minister have betrayed the new generation, the old people, the former politically persecuted people, the original land owners, the businessmen and the young students who receive useless diplomas in universities. They have betrayed every Albanian who deserved to live in a better and decent Albania within the European Union, and that unfortunately lives in an Albania that is robbed by the interests of a small group of people who are direct clients of the Prime Minister. This is the dramatic reality of our country and for changing it we need the participation of every Albanian, so that we can remove this disaster with vote and open way to an Albanian rebirth”, Rama declared. 

Russian Warship Docks in Limassol Port En Route to Syria

russian destroyer docks in limassol portFor the first time ever, a Russian destroyer warship docked this morning in Limassol Port en route to the Syrian port of Tartus, said Limassol Port officials.
The anti-missile vessel Smetlivy docked at 11am for refueling and to take on food supplies. The warship was kept in the deep waters of the harbour, which is normally for cruise ships that go around the Greek islands.
There is tight security at the port, and many journalists were turned away by the ports authority on the grounds that they need special permission from the Russian Embassy. The ship is armed with two double-barreled 76 mm AK-726 guns, SAM: 2 x twin launchers (NATO reporting name: SA-N-1 Volna), Navalised version of the Isayev S-125 (SA-3 Goa) system, 32 missiles, five 533 mm torpedo tubes, two twelve-barrel RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers, and eight anti-ship SS-N-25 Uran missiles.
Political analysts here say that Russia wants to show its strength to Turkey, which is a regional power and still angry afterSyria shot down one of its F4 jets. Russia is a Syrian ally and is intervening in Syria's civil war by blocking UN Security Council resolutions calling for President Bashar al Assad to be replaced. The jet was in Cyprus airspace just before it entered Syria's. It is a matter of course for Turkey's airforce to fly illegally in the island's airspace since its occupation of the country in 1974.
"Cyprus is small, we are in a difficult position," a ports official told
If a regional war breaks out between Russia, Syria and Turkey, things will get very difficult for the island, he added.
In another complication, Israel and Turkey have gone from being allies to being hostile neighbors after Israel killed nine Turkish-origin activists on their way to break Israel's maritime embargo on the Gaza Strip.
And in the middle of the Eastern Mediterranean are Israel and Cyprus' natural gas fields, which Turkey is eyeing enviously.
Another Russian warship is expected in Limassol Port this afternoon, and according to a Reuters report earlier this week, a total of six Russian navy vessels were despatched to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Review: Greek Military Intelligence and the Crescent

University of Plymouth Press (2010), 224 pp.
Reviewed by Chris Deliso
This comparative analytical work discusses two memorable showdowns between Greece and Turkey, events that exemplified both countries’ balance of power and political and military strategic capacities and goals in the late 20th-century. These affairs – the first, a war of words accompanied by military buildups in 1987 and the second, the much more serious Imia crisis of January 1996 – occurred in an environment in which some of the same conditions that applied then apply still now.
Analysts will thus find a wealth of useful insight in Greek Military Intelligence and the Crescent, which will help in assessing the Greek-Turkish relationship today. The book is, of course, also an engrossing read for the armchair historian or intelligence buff. The vivid recounting of the decision-making processes of Greek leaders, civilian and military intelligence, and the armed forces (particularly the Navy) is peppered with new commentary from former high-level officials who were active during the period in question, adding to the book’s appeal.

Indeed, on January 30, Prime Minister Simitis was handed, but “seemed uninterested” in, a personal letter from CIA Director George Tenet. It had been passed on to NIS Director Leonidas Vasikiopoulos from the Athens CIA station chief. The letter stated Tenet’s view that “it would be disastrous for Greece, Turkey and NATO if war broke out due to escalation of the [Imia] incident” (p. 159).
The author, Greek historian Panagiotis Dimitrakis, starts his study with an introduction discussing themes like ‘key concepts in military intelligence,’ ‘leadership and intelligence’ and ‘intelligence and crisis management.’ This is a rather theoretical approach, but unquestionably it elucidates topics that are crucial to the narrative of both the 1987 and 1996 events, and thus informs the rest of the text.
The introduction also gives a broad overview of the following six chapters which constitute the bulk of Greek Military Intelligence and the Crescent. Readers are thus made aware from the beginning of the overarching structure of the narrative, which fleshes out the concepts discussed in the introduction. Thus the book is of value both in the specific context of Greece and Turkey in the late 20th century, and in the general context of military intelligence and diplomacy at work. Conclusions can thus be applied or at least compared to other similar situations from elsewhere in the world. Indeed, the forward to Greek Military Intelligence and the Crescent is written by Sir Lawrence Freedman, Britain’s Official Historian of the Falklands War....

Ban Ki Moon to visit Kosovo

Ban Ki Moon to visit Kosovo
Ban Ki Moon will be the first UN official who will visit Kosovo, since after the declaration of the independence.

According to “REL”, which quotes the UN Spokesperson, Martin Nesirki, the General Secretary in the end of the next week will start a tour in Balkan, stopping in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia.

During his visit in Prishtina, Ban Ki Moon will visit the UN mission and will meet high rank local and international officials.

After Kosovo he will travel to Bosnia’s Srebrenica, where the UN forces have been criticized regarding the failure to prevent the massacre of 1995.
The Albanian`s EU fulfillment of 12 criteria
Top Channel TV

The fulfillment of 12 criteria
After the Stabilization and Association EU-Albania meeting, the head of the EP Delegation for Balkan, Eduard Kukan, declared that he doesn’t want to think about another failure for the status.

Kukan declared that the status is not for the parties, but for the Albanian people, and he advised the politicians to not prepare for whom to blame about the failure, but start competing for who will contribute more.

Top Channel: The electoral reform will join soon the solution of the Ombudsman and the voting of the qualified majority laws. But the priorities are 12. What should be done until October for the conclusions of this meeting?

Eduard Kukan: You must advance with the 12 main priorities and fulfill them. It is easy to say it with words, because I am aware of all the problems and matters that need to be addressed to. But there was a good climate, as a noted during the entire meeting. This period of time is much more important for the future of the country, the EU candidate status, since, as I understand, Albania’s desire is to progress in the European path and there has been a positive pressure towards all political actors in Albania. The electoral reform is a very important step in this direction, but I think that more tangible results are needed. We can see the council of December positively.

Valentina Leskaj: We have not fulfilled the November package. We need this package, because the Parliamentary reform is still incomplete. Certainly that the rest has been completed, even with the contribution of the opposition. I want to thank the EU representatives that this time valued the substantial role of the opposition in reforms, what was clearly emphasized by Mr. Sannino and Mr. Kukan. As regards the 12 priorities, which are related with the opposition, I believe that the role of the opposition was very active, not simply by voting in Parliament, but as a very important contribution. As regards the rest, it is a long way and we need to fulfill the expectancies that were underlined in these declarations. What matters is that it is not the case to make a list of laws or reforms and show them to Brussels, but the key issue is the law implementation, so that the impact of these reforms can serve to the people in Albania.

Fatos Beja: We are almost finalizing the 12 priorities. Based on this and the information that were given here, during the exchange of opinions between the groups, I asked that Albania should receive the candidate status this year. We are the only country that has been left behind on this only due to the political conflicts. Fortunately, we are on a different situation today. There are fewer things to be realized. We are almost fulfilling the priorities and I am very optimistic that we will receive the status this autumn.

Top Channel: If the list with the tangible measures and results that has been asked will not be handed over in time, will it be the government to blame, the opposition or the European Union?

Eduard Kukan: I hate to think that this could happen. It is your role as journalists to make difficult questions to the politicians, but the candidate status is not for the government or for the opposition, but for the entire country and its people. It is your profession to make questions, but my message is very clear: forget thinking who will be responsible, and if this will not happen, you must concentrate all your energies on who will be contributing more for achieving this. This is my message.

Valentina Leskaj: The Socialist leader in Tirana and we as representatives of the opposition, asked the European Union to help Albania in receiving the candidate status, but the date when this will be possible is up to Albania. The sooner we complete the reforms, the more efficient we will be, especially with the reforms that I consider as very difficult and that was underlined here, such as the fight against corruption, the fight against organized crime, the justice system and the media freedom, which also had a special attention in this session of the committee.

Fatos Beja: The different opinions of the majority and opposition on different issues in Albania are issues that belong to the Albanian Parliament. We are here in Brussels for the status, which will be given if Albania realizes the priorities. Hence, I have the optimism that since the priorities are ending, Albania must not be the only country that will not receive the EU candidate status due to the political debates in Tirana. I trust that the Electoral Code amends will be closed next week. I trust that the opposition will support the immunity removal from politicians and judges, which are necessary for having concrete results in the judiciary system and against corruption in general in Albania.

Top Channel: Mr. Kukan, you are expecting a telegram from Albania, for being part of the 100th year of independence. Can you say what should be written on the invitation?

Eduard Kukan: The message must be: the 12 priorities are completed. Only after this we can celebrate together.