Tuesday, September 2, 2008

“Is Northern Epirus priority of new Diplomatic Agenda of Athens?”

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by Konstantinos Holevas, Political Analyst

31st August 2008

The issue of Northern Epirus has gone into second place on official Greek politics and the public interest. But we should be dealing more with luck and the problems of our nationals living in southern Albania, but also more generally across the Albanian territory.

Firstly, because we leave them albanian nationalist circles think that we are separated from any think by our conpatriotes there.

Second, because we do not have as a nation other issue of territores and Northern Epirus is one of the few remaining alive and ancestral homes Hellenism abroad.

Thirdly, because it is not right to forget the Human Rights a real minority, while some neighbours are intessificating alleged oppression of minorities.
Our interest for the Greek Northern Epirus come to stimulated by remarkable events of recent months. We record some of them: With declarations in mid-April 2008 the Mayor Himarras and interim president of OMONOIAS Vassilis Bolanos made interesting comparisons between Northern Epirus and Kosovo and has, indirectly but clearly, issue of Northern Epirus Autonomy within Albanian territory.

Naturally, Bolanos has not forgotten the Protocol of Corfu, 17-5-1914, which has been signed both Albania and Great Powers and which provided a form of autonomy for Hellenism without calling into question the borders of Albania. This was the result of the eforts of Northern Epiriotes and referred to administrative autonomy, police, church and education.
On July 25-27 meeting in Ioannina the Pan Epiriotean Congress, which involving emigrants Epiroton from across the globe. The congress where partecipantes by representatives of political parties in Greece, as Mr. Constantine. Mitsotakis and Mr. Grigoris Niotis, and representatives of organizations of Hellenism of Northern Epirus. In the resolution, which was issued, there are several references to the problems of Voreioipeiroton, with the most important:
«… We condemn the climate of insecurity and intimidation that prevails at times against the Greeks of Northern Epirus and the whole of Albania.
We call on Albania to respect and restore to the Greeks of Northern Epirus and Albania across all educational, religious, political and cultural rights which arise from bilateral and international agreements signed by representatives from the day the recommendation of the State 1913, including the right of national self »
The last paragraph obviously includes the Protocol of Corfu in 1914, which mentioned. The climate of insecurity, which rightly mentioned in Resolution aggravated by some recent events, which are to be added to the continuous Albanian bad faith, which manifests itself with the issue of Tsamidon.

On August 10, a large number of Greeks Himarras declared against Law 7501, in which the Albanian state literally grabs property of citizens belonging to ethnic Greek community. Given these were the armed police, but the two important members of the small party LSI, namely the League of Socialist Integration, which belongs to the opposition. Besides the greek newspaper “ΑΞΙΑ” of 9-8-2008 read the following report by Katerina Karatzas:
«… Victim this time is the temple of the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Permeti. The Albanian state claiming the Orthodox Church to convert into the Hall of Culture, as that is operated in an era of Chotza. The Berisha government is moving to the footprint of the communist dictator who imposed in the country the status atheias ».
It is also characteristic that all post-Communism Albanian governments maintain the institution of «minority areas» introduced by the Emver Hotza and Ramiz Alia. Only some villages are considered minority and there allowed the operation with Municipal for the children of northern epiriotes. In larger cities, such as Gjirokaster, Himara, Koritsa ecct,not functioning greek public school and the gap is covered by private schools, which supports entrepreneurs and church volontares from Greece.
In this climate of the careful handling of the Greek diplomacy should use all existing legal and political arguments. Above all we must give incentives to Northern epiriotes not definitively abandon their land, but to return there with money, which they acquired in Greece. We need to push Albania, including through EU to halt any measure, which creates insecurity. To ask for money gives our country as economic assistance be invested by 70% in southern Albania, where they live Hellenism. To remind the government of Tirana its commitment towards European Union to make an objective inventory of national minorities. And certainly not a bad thing to remind and the Protocol of Corfu, always with respect for existing borders and placing good neighbourliness.
Let us be clear that relations between Greece - Albania and Albania-Europe depend on the rights of Greek Northern epiriotes.

original article in greek language:


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