Saturday, January 31, 2009


EXCLUSIVE- World Bank Demolished Albania Village

By Besar Likmeta and Gjergj Erebara in Tirana

World Bank project meant to safeguard Albania’s coastal zones was used to selectively demolish parts of a village in southern Albania and leave many families homeless, according to an internal report , which additionally notes allegations of corruption and efforts by World Bank officials to cover up the events .

An internal report of the International Development Association, IDA, obtained by Balkan Insight, shows that a World Bank project on coastal zones management in southern Albania aided the demolishment of informal settlements in the village of Jale, in disregard to the Bank's policies of forced displacement.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it.

The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Slovenia postpones vote on Croatia, Albania NATO accession

The parliament's vote on the ratification of Albania's and Croatia's NATO accession protocols was postponed on Thursday as a result of an announced obstruction by the opposition Slovenian Democrats (SDS). Prime Minister Borut Pahor said the international credibility of Slovenia was now at stake.

The SDS has 28 members in parliament, and their vote is seen as crucial for the 2/3 majority required. The SLS and SNS parties has said they would vote against the accession of Croatia/Albiania in NATO.

Despite what would be considered as a short lived setback, Slovenian Parliament president Ivo Vajgl says he is expecting the ratification to go forward without problems.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FM Bakogianis to visit Tirana and W. Balkans

Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, as Chairperson of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will embark on Tuesday, February 2, on a series of visits over the next two weeks to the Western Balkan countries, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Bakoyannis will visit Belgrade, where she will have meetings with the Yugslav leadership, followed the following day by a visit to Pristina, where the largest of the OSCE's 19 missions is headquartered and where she will hold talks with representatives of international organizations headquartered there.

The following week, on February 9, Bakoyannis is scheduled to visit Tirana, while on February 11 she will go to Tiflis, for talks with governmenet officials in both countries.

In between, on February 4, Bakoyannis will inaugurate an international conference on the theme "Profiles of states in an internationalized environment - Possibilities and prospects for Greece" that is being organised in Athens by the Greek Politics Specialist Group under the aegis of the foreign ministry.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Continues the nationalist protest for the trial in Tepelena district. The protesters burned the greek flag

On the way of "multi ethno culturalism of Albania". How in albania the greeks and albanian live in peace?

A new protest is organized in front of the Distinct Court of Tepelena as the trial against Orgen Hasanbegaj and Luan Halili. The latter were arrested because they organized a civil protest in Toc, Tepelena against Vasil Bollano and Spiro Ksera’s anti-Albanian actions.

Vasil Bollano is the mayor of Himara and Spiro Ksera is the Prefect of Gjirokastra. This trial which has been going on for months in the District Court of Tepelena against two defendants Orgen Hasanbegaj and Luan Halili is absurd by "democratic standards" albanian media said.

According to media this process has been imposed by Prefect Ksera and the leader of "Omonia" Bollano, against whom the protesters have protested. "This is a flagrant violation of the human rights and freedom of thought. Their protest was in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Albania” the protesters said.

These two youngsters are now in the quality of the defendant because they organized a protest against anti-Albanian claims of Bollano and Ksera, according to whom, the South of Albania is Vorio-Epir territory. The police declared the protest anti-Albanian and arrested the youngsters with the excuse that protest was illegal.

The protest was suported by the "Mjaft" Moviment (The Soros Fondation) and the PM Spartak Ngjela came especialy from Tirana.
USA must change the policy in Balkan

Robert Gelbart to the "Voice of America "

I was the past few years, very upset because the administration policy toward the Balkans and other regions that Bush completely ignored, at least the first four years, while the next four attention concentrated almost exclusively on Kosovo. The Balkans is a very important region. The United States should closely cooperate with the European Union, Russia and other countries, in order to maintain profit from the past decade.

Many times I observed that Serbia is a central country in the Balkans and must help it to progress and to consolidate democracy and stability. If it does not, the whole region will suffer negative consequences. I think that now in Serbia we have a very good government headed by President Boris Tadic. Serbia, as the whole world, affected the global economic crisis.

The United States should closely cooperate with the European Union and Russia, to the Balkans remained positive on the course, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and relations with Serbia. In regard to Russia, the United States need a new beginning, despite the recent rhetoric, given that both countries have an important role and the need to find a model of constructive cooperation.
New container port to be built in Albania

Albania awarded a 35-year concession to the British-Swiss Zumax AG group Wednesday for a euro1.18 billion ($1.55 billion) container terminal for ships in southwestern Albania. The Transport Ministry said St. Gallen, Switzerland-based Zumax AG will build the terminal at the Vlora port, 85 miles (140 kilometers) southwest of capital, Tirana, with a three-million container annual capacity.

Its construction is expected to start in April or May this year and to be completed in four years, according to Kevin Paja, the group's representative in Tirana. The group also has asked the government to create a free-trade zone where the terminal is to be located and to build an airport in the Vlora area. The group expects more than 4,000 companies to exploit the container terminal in a free-trade zone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"NATO increasingly confronts an existential crisis, reflected by three mutually reinforcing trends – inconsistent and fast-paced enlargement policy, problematic internal cohesion and inadequate military spending. Researcher Alexander Melikishvili offers cases that point to the challenges NATO faces: The separate quests by Albania and Georgia for NATO admission reveal inconsistent admission standards on democratic governance and rule of law; ...

NATO’s Double Standards Make for a Hollow Alliance

The military alliance is only as strong and effective as its weakest links

Alexander Melikishvili
YaleGlobal, 26 January 2009
"Russians are coming: Russian invasion of Georgia may threaten Europe, but does not increase its eligibility for NATO membership"

WASHINGTON: As events of the past year demonstrate, NATO faces an existential crisis, reflected in the three aspects underpinning its operations – an inconsistent enlargement policy, diminished internal cohesion and inadequate military planning. Unless NATO can overcome these weaknesses, excitement in Europe about a new era of cooperation with an Obama-led United States may turn out to be premature and groundless.

SAE USA Coordinator Theodore G. Spyropoulos today appealed to new President Barack Obama to review all U.S. policies and practices relating to Hellenic issues.

Mr. Spyropoulos stated that America’s Hellenic community looks forward to a change in US policies involving issues of interest to Americans of Hellenic heritage, “a review by your administration of the U.S. foreign policy that has demonstrated ignorance of history, has continued to fan the fires of conflict in the Balkans and is destabilizing Southeastern Europe”.

Specifically, the Coordinator of SAE USA highlighted the Greek National Issues of the conflict on Cyprus, the violation of Greek airspace by Turkish Fighter planes, the blatant issues of human and religious rights in connection with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the continued violation of human rights affecting Greeks in Northern Epirus (Albania), and last but not least the outstanding issue of agreeing upon the name for FYROM acceptable to Hellenes which would be a positive reversal of existing U.S. policy.

The entire text of Mr. Spyropoulos’s letter follows:“Americans of Hellenic heritage, and SAE USA Region and myself, proudly congratulate you on the solemn occasion of your inauguration as the 44th President of this great country, the United States of America.
“We listened to your inspiring inaugural speech with renewed hope for our nation and a strengthened resolution about the principled role America should play internationally as it follows the rule of law and seeks justice when conflicts rise.

“We have also been following with awe the positive response your election and speeches have drawn in Greece and in Europe in general. We have been very pleased and honored on your behalf to receive praising remarks about our new President from sources that have been critical in the past. It is obvious that the world is ready to embrace American leadership with admiration and hope.

“Therefore, even at this early date in your consideration of international issues, we, Americans of Hellenic descent, wish to bring to you a number of issues in American foreign policy that are of interest to us as a community: “The island of Cyprus remains largely occupied by Turkish invasion armies while Turkish fighter planes routinely violate the Aegean airspace of Greece, a member of ΝΑΤΟ and of the European Union. At the same time, basic religious and human rights are violated constantly as in the paradigmatic case of the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople accentuated by the continued forcible closure of the Theological School of Halki.

“Under previous and in fact the most recent administrations, American foreign policy has sidestepped the issues of human and minority rights for Greeks in Northern Epirus in Albania, and has “jumped the gun” as it ignored history and dismissed Greek peaceful attempts to resolve differences with the government of FYROM.

The U.S. administration, by acting unilaterally and in a very undeserved way against Greece and in opposition to the practice of almost every other nation in Europe officially recognized a new FYROM name that is the basis for indefinite conflict.

“Mr. President, as America’s Hellenic community we look forward to a review by your administration of the U.S. foreign policy that has demonstrated ignorance of history, has continued to fan the fires of conflict in the Balkans and is destabilizing Southeastern Europe.
“With much anticipation for new beginnings that will be based on the principles of truth and understanding, I am,

Respectfully Yours,Theodore G. Spyropoulos Coordinator SAE USA”