Saturday, March 21, 2009

AHEPA praise for new NATO commander nominee

WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA) - The American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA) this week expressed its satisfaction over a decision by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates to propose the appointment of US Navy Adm. James Stavridis for the post of NATO commander in Europe.

"We are overjoyed with the news," said AHEPA President Ike Goulas said in reference to the highly decorated US admiral of Greek descent, adding that "we are extremely proud of his excellent achievements and we are convinced that, following his appointment, he will serve the nation and lead the Alliance in an excellent and discreet way."

The Pan Epiriotic Federations send in The International Criminal Court of Hague the rights of the Greek Community in Albania

On 24 February 2009, has been submteed to the ICC (International Criminal Court, ICC) of the United Nations, with headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, the accuse against the Albanian state and the Albanian authorities for the violation of basic human rights for the Greek minority living in Albania.

On appeal, after the first mention in history, the undisputed Greekness of Northern Epirus and the struggles for independence, were violations of basic human rights regarding: Avoid the formal counting of the Greek population and other minorities in the country, the operation of Greek schools, the seizure of property of northern epiriotes both Greeks and the Orthodox Church, political rights and representation of the Greek minority in public service, sense of security the use of Greek as the official language of the rule which provides for the allocation of economic aid from the Albanian state and the representation of Greek northern epiriotes media in the country.

For all the above provided a wealth of evidence (documents, newspaper clippings, brochures, books, etc.) and a list with about a thousand signatures from Greeks of Northern Epirus. It should be noted here that both the list of evidence of violations of basic human rights and the list of signatures, remain open for further evidence and signatures of the Greek Northern Epirus.

It`s for the second time in history that the Albanian State is accused in the International Court of Hague for the rights of the Greek minority in Albania. In 1935 the Himara Community has accused the Albanian state for the close of the Greek schools wining the right to reopen from the Hague the Greek institutions in Himara Region.

A border dispute in Balkans imperils Europe's expansion

By Dan Bilefsky

OBREZJE, Slovenia, or BREGANA, Croatia: Thanks to the vagaries of history and an accident of geography, customers at Kalin, a rustic 180-year-old tavern here, can eat their roast pork dinners in Slovenia, step a few meters away to Croatia to go to the bathroom, saunter back to Slovenia to pay their bill and end their meal on Croatian soil over a game of billiards and a shot of local pear brandy.

Just in case clients are confused, Sasha Kalin, the 36-year-old owner, has painted a fluorescent yellow line across the floor to delineate the very spot — next to a pool table — where the border between Slovenia and Croatia bisects the property. Tipsy customers who step outside and accidentally walk through a row of concrete potted plants demarcating the border are stopped by unsmiling armed Croatian border guards.

...The disagreement also threatens to derail NATO's 60th anniversary celebrations next month in Strasbourg, where Croatia and Albania are expected to be admitted into the alliance. While the Slovene government insists that it supports Croatia's NATO accession, the Party of the Slovenian Nation, a nationalist Slovene group, is racing to gather 40,000 signatures necessary to hold a referendum on Croatia's entry bid. In the event of a no vote, Slovenia's government could be forced to block Croatia's entry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Albania:Agreement Between the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Albania on the Delimitation of Their Maritime Space and Continental Shelf Initialed

On 19 March 2009 the “Agreement between the Republic of Albania and the Hellenic Republic on the Delimitation of their Maritime Space and Continental Shelf” was initialed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This Agreement of special national significance for both our countries, which is based on the international law principles and on the UN Maritime Convention, is due to be signed soon.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs extends the conviction that the conclusion of this Agreement will contribute to the further strengthening and intensification of the good and friendly relations existing between our two friendly countries.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


........ Okay, Mr. Lambros.

QuestionOn; Cyprus, Mr. Wood, for 36 successive years, Turkey has
occupied illegally the Republic of Cyprus, using ammunition and
weapons. But I cannot understand why Mrs. Clinton has given her
consent to receive here officially the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet
Ali Talat, without seeing first the president of the republic or the
foreign minister

It's confirmed. I would like to know when it's going to happen.
It's done.

MR. WOOD: I don't know. Mr. Lambros, I can't answer that
question for you. I'll see if I can get you an answer on that.

Question; Can you take this question? It's very important.

MR. WOOD: I said I would.

Question: On Northern Epirus, Mr. Wood, Mayor of Himare Vasil Bollano in Northern Epirus is under constant attack by the Albanian government of Sali Berisha. Without any excuse, Mrs. -- Mr. Bollano is going to prison for clearly political reasons. I know that Secretary Hillary Clinton has different opinions in respect with the Albanian court.

Once again I ask the government, the U.S. government, right now, in order to stop this unpopular Albanian political plan.

MR. WOOD: I'm not aware of this issue, Mr. Lambros. I'm sorry.

Question: But can you take this question? Because it's -- .
MR. WOOD: I'm not sure it's -- what's the question?

Question: The question is that the mayor of Himare is going to prison for political reasons. I would like you to get to the bottom to stop this movement.

MR. WOOD: I'm not going to take this it's not a question you're asking; you're making a request, and I'm ...

Question: No, the question is that he's going to prison for political reasons already.

MR. WOOD: Are you asking or telling me? I'm not quite sure here. What -- ..

Question: No, the question is, he's going to political for political reason. It has been done by a court, and I would like you to get involved.
US envoy to Albania cleared in Chinese arms probe

Photo: US ambassador to Albania John Withers


The United States said Wednesday that its ambassador to Albania and five staff have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the alleged trafficking of Chinese weapons that surfaced in a newspaper report.In a letter last year to then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Congressman Henry Waxman said Ambassador John Withers had helped hide illegal Chinese origins of ammunition that a Pentagon contractor bought to supply Afghan security forces.

"At the time, the matter was submitted to our inspector general for review," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Wednesday, reading a statement.
"The inspector general has reviewed all evidence made available and found nothing to substantiate criminal or any other allegations concerning Department of State employees," he said. "The Department of Justice has informed the Office of the Inspector General that these six Department of State employees at Embassy Tirana are not targets or subjects of investigation," Wood added.

"The department welcomes the statements by the Department of Justice and the inspector general and considers this matter closed," Wood said.The spokesman said "Withers and his team performed exactly as we would have expected them to do," adding that the State Department is "proud and grateful for their service." In June last year, Withers denied any involvement in the trafficking of Chinese weapons after allegations of US congressional investigators emerged in a New York Times report.

Seven people were arrested in Tirana after a blast in a military depot in March in which 26 people were killed and 302 were injured. The incident gave rise to suspicions of possible arms trafficking in the country.The New York Times said Withers "met with the Defence Minister Fatmir Mediu hours before the New York Times reporter was to visit the American contractor's operations in Tirana" in a bid to "hide several boxes of Chinese ammunition from a visiting reporter."

The ammunition was "being repackaged to disguise its origins and shipped from Albania to Afghanistan by AEY, a Miami Beach arms-dealing company," the daily said.At the time, AEY was under a contract with the US army as "the main munitions supplier for Afghan security forces" despite US law prohibiting trading in Chinese arms.AEY head Efraim Diveroli, 22, and three other people were charged in June with selling prohibited Chinese ammunition, presented as being of Albanian origin, to the Pentagon, said the Times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

US to pick admiral as NATO commander-officials

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - The United States is expected to appoint a Navy admiral, James Stavridis, to NATO's top command post as the alliance prepares to step up its Afghan war effort, two U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Stavridis is currently head of U.S. Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in Latin America, and previously served as the senior military assistant to Donald Rumsfeld when he was Pentagon chief. (Reporting by Andrew Gray, editing by Jackie Frank)
Albania Real State Shows Signs of Crises

By Gjergj Erebara in Tirana
Commercial tower in TiranaReal estate agents in Albania are seeing a drop in demand for property, forcing a decline in prices as banks tighten their rules on mortgage loans and as demand weakens.

Agencies in Tirana contacted by Balkan Insight say that they are currently flooded with offers to sell luxury apartments and commercial property. “Dozens of luxury apartments that costs at least €150,000, are now available for sale because many owners are eager for cash,” said one real estate agent.

“We have offers for commercial properties that cost up to €1 million”, she added.In Tirana's suburbs prices have declined by 20-30 per cent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A double standard for Kosovo (Serbia - Albania)

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
March 17, 2009

It is a year since Kosovo, with NATO backing, made a unilateral declaration of independence, breaking away from Serbia. Fifty countries, most of which have little knowledge of the political intricacies of the Balkans and even less about the complicated historical interplay between the various ethnic and religious groups living in the area supported the move. As a state it is doubtful whether Kosovo can survive. ............

.........The main argument of NATO for Kosovo's independence was that it was inhabited by a majority of Muslim Albanians who were oppressed by the Christian Serbs. If we accept this argument for secession why don't we look a little further and cast our eye on Albania proper. If the NATO Kosovo argument is valid, then why has NATO not supported the secession of Northern Epirus, the southern Albanian province populated by a culturally, religious, and ethnically oppressed population who are Greeks?
Northern Epirus has a better argument for secession than Kosovo because it is an area that always had a predominantly Greek population, it was a part of Greece, and at one time in the early 20th century even had several North Epirus Greek members sitting in the Greek Parliament.
Further, the Albanians themselves agreed to the self determination of the Greeks in their southern Greek provinces by signing the international Treaty of Corfu. It was a foregone conclusion that Northern Epirus would devolve to become a part of Greek Epirus, a logical development since the area was nationally, culturally and religiously a seamless continuation of Greek Epirus............
Albania Muslims Take Elections to Court Tirana

Muslims praying in Albania’s capital, Tirana.A group of imams have filed a civil court suit against the head of the Albanian Muslim Community Selim Muca contesting election procedures that they say will inevitably lead to his reelection.

Muca is standing for reelection, while no other rival has stepped forward. The elections are expected to be held at the next meeting of the community's general council in the city of Kavaja on March 21. The imams contest as irregular the absence of other candidates apart from Muca.

Meeting of Deputy FM Mr. M Varvitsiotis with representatives of Greek national minority associations of Albania

Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis briefed representatives of the nine biggest Greek national minority associations of Albania on his contacts and their results during his recent visit to Tirana.

Yesterday, Sunday, 15 March, Mr. Varvitsiotis attended an event organised jointly by the nine biggest Greek minority associations in Athens and referred to last week's contacts with Albanian government officials.

Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that in his meetings with the Albanian side, he unequivocally raised the long-standing problem of the properties of members of the Greek minority of Albania and stressed the need for their participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Albania.

Mr. Varvitsiotis also announced that two major road infrastructure projects – particularly helpful for regions with Greek minorities – have been initiated in consultation with the Albanian side.

He also pointed out the sensibility and care shown by the Greek government on issues relating to the Greek minority of Albania, through the resolution of a series of long-standing issues,such as dual citizenship and military obligations.

Monday, March 16, 2009