Saturday, January 30, 2010

Negative image of migrants

The Greeks are divided on the provision of political rights

Public Issue Research

Divided in terms of extending civil rights to immigrants, but the criteria for citizenship, which raises the relevant bill, the Greeks appear in the investigation of Public Issue for the 'Kathimerini'. However, the overall picture is negative for immigrants with clear influences of the economic crisis.

In the traditional grounds for refusal as the "crime" and "deterioration of national identity, and now added another:" We offer the economy, supports a large proportion of respondents. Similar trends appear in other European countries.

Division for a vote of immigrants

Public Issue
Increasing fear of refugees finds survey Public Issue

Maria Delithanasi

The lack of effective immigration and asylum policy leads to a systematic intensity of phobic syndromes of Greek society, concluded an investigation into the Public Issue for the 'K'. Six out of ten Greeks believe that immigration hurts the country, where two years ago one out of two Greeks believed that immigrants and refugees are damaging the country.

The Greek society believes that the migration now, harms the development of the Greek economy (59% in 2010 versus 47% in 2008) that alter the national identity of Greeks (57% in 2010 versus 47% in 2008), that deprives jobs by the Greeks (45% in 2010 vs. 39% in 2008). Fixed rate remains those who believe aliens responsible for the rise in crime (75%).

Increasing the number of refugees (from Africa and Asia) in recent years, coupled with the lack of coherent policy and legislation that create fear and insecurity, creating favorable conditions for the cultivation of right-wing views. Not accidentally, an alarmingly increasing rate per year (about 10%) believes that the state is not sufficiently "tough" with them. This year 72% of respondents stated that immigration policy is less strict than they should, from 63% last year.Meanwhile, the widespread feeling that the country has overcome the limits of endurance in "uninvited".

Some 88% felt that there should be a limit to the number of foreigners in the country, 60% felt that the country has exceeded the limits of endurance and 43% have the impression that more than two million (!) People. According to the average of subjective perceptions, the number of immigrants and refugees is estimated at 1,695,000 people. According to official figures the statutory amount to 980,000 and 280,000 estimated illegal.

Appears divided Greek society on the issue of immigrant rights. The polarization is clear: to 45% - 45% on the right to participate in elections and citizenship. As regards the conditions for granting citizenship, the public opinion is the same as what is defined in the bill: stable employment, long stay in the country, education, knowledge of Greek, while 50% considered essential birth in Greece. About the required years of legal residence in the country, the bill provides over 5 years (average of the former EU-15), the National Commission on Human Rights proposes 8 years and the public talking about 6-10 years

PACE asks its Presidential Committee to visit Albania as soon as possible

The Assembly notes that “the absence of parliamentary dialogue seriously hampers the democratic functioning of the state’s institutions”.

At the close of its debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Albania, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) yesterday asked its Presidential Committee, accompanied by the Monitoring Committee's co-rapporteurs for Albania, Jaakko Laakso (Finland, UEL) and David Wilshire (United Kingdom, EDG), to visit Albania as soon as possible, “in order to support the process of resolving the current political situation and assist President Topi in his role of mediator and his efforts to restore political dialogue”.

The Assembly urged the Albanian government and the opposition “to put an end to the current political crisis in the country and assume their responsibilities in order to proceed with the vitally needed reforms”. In particular, it called the government “to set up, without further delay, a parliamentary inquiry committee into the June 2009 elections”, and urged the opposition “to return to parliament and fully participate in its work”.

The Assembly notes that “the absence of parliamentary dialogue […] seriously hampers the democratic functioning of the state’s institutions”. It further regrets that, “in the absence of any meaningful parliamentary dialogue, inflammatory rhetoric is being increasingly used by all involved”. This, PACE said, “could further destabilise the country”.

Mediterranean developments, New Military Agreement, Greece - Israel

Concern in Turkey for a new, secret Axis Greece-Israel

Anxiety caused largely by the Turkish press and think tanks in the country, the story about the secret visit of the Greek Chief of Naval Staff Admiral George KARAMALIKI, in Israel.Turkish newspapers referred the news published in the popular Israeli website Debka File.

According to the publication of Debka File, Gen. KARAMALIKI secretly visited Israel in December and was received with unusual rates for foreign military factors. Guided not by the Israeli counterpart of bases that Israel considers essential, and given an opportunity to visit submarines, ships and weapons systems that Israel considers exclusivity secrets, and their existence reveals only the closest allies.Among these, the submarine INS Dolphin 800, considered the most important deterrent to Israel.

The site has a valid reason to approach Greece - Israel while the cooling of relations between Greece - Turkey and saw the recent secret visit another demonstration of this approach. As Ankara turned its back on traditional ally to turn to Syria and Iran, Israel reassessed the possibility ally with Greece. The Turkish press refers to "exchange of visits between Greece and Israel can no longer be considered routine visits.

Both the Israeli site, and the - generally exposed nerves - the Turkish press reports indicate that military cooperation between Greece - Israel is not new, and was a joint exercise in June 2008 between the Navy and Air Force two countries.Israel pushed closer to Greece's exclusion from NATO air exercise in central Anatolia, in general view of many Turkish analysts.

more see:

Gallup Balkan Monitor

Greater Albania, Albanians ready for reunion

Most citizens of Kosovo and Albania, support the formation of a Greater Albania, while every second respondent considers that this likely will happen in a near future, research showed branch of Gallup Balkan Monitor.

When asked whether they support formation of a Greater Albania, have responded positively to the Kosovars 74.2 percent respondents and 70.5 percent of respondents in Albania. At the same time, 47.3 percent of respondents in Kosovo and 39.5 percent of those in Albania stated that they intend to create a Greater Albania in all probability will happen in the near future.

The research (whose results are published on the web-site: are included Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania. During 2009, respondents answered in a number of questions from various fields, while citizens of certain countries were submitted and some slightly more specific questions...

more see:

Friday, January 29, 2010

UNPO considers important issue on Balkan Geopolitics the closing maritime agreement Greece - Albania

Greece - Albania borders in risk!

Greek Minorities in Albania: Border Agreement With Greece Annulled

Due to procedural and substantial violations, agreement between Albania and Greece will be annulled by Albania's constitutional court

Albania's Constitutional Court says it has annulled an agreement with neighboring Greece marking out maritime borders and the continental shelf in the Ionian Sea. The agreement was found unconstitutional "due to procedural and substantial violations," a court statement said Wednesday.

The full decision was not immediately available. Six Albanian parties, including the main opposition Socialists, had challenged the April 2009 agreement, accusing the governing Democrats of lack of transparency in negotiations with Athens.

Foreign Minister Ilir Meta said the government would respect the ruling. Relations with Greece have been strained in the past, mostly over the treatment of Albanian immigrants in Greece and of an ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

Fisher: "Albania in very critical situation"

USA are disappointed by Tirana for NATO membership

Benrd Fischer, an explorer of the history of Albania, during an interview to VOA in Albanian section, says that the political crisis in Albania, is alarming consequences. But while Fisher says that Washington is disappointed by promises of Tirana to meet commitments and democratic obligations.

"Of course, NATO membership is a great achievement, very critical on many levels. This shows that expectations are high from other countries of NATO, some of which tried hard to make possible the membership of Albania. I think that since the overthrow of communism is one of the most important achievements in Albania.

However there has been a disappointment at the United States and other members of the international community, in the sense that he hopes that NATO membership would accelerate the reform process, which will reduce the presence of corruption, as the economy, as well political structure. It is clear that in this regard remains to be done, especially to the concept of political stability and rule of law "Fischer said during his interview to VOA.

Albanian Extremist, may obstruct reforms of the country to EU

Ilir Meta: "We will do everything to ban extremists"

Photo: The Albanian extremist politicians who organized the inclusion of Leader of SP Edi Rama to the blocking agreement of maritime border. Pellumb Xhufi, Sabri Godo, Zabit Brokaj, Myslym Pashaj (Albanian Army)


Inclusion of the Socialist Party in a dangerous game of Albanian extremist nationalist, to a technical issue of ratification of the water border between Greece and Albania, has created a backlash not only from Greece but also from the European Union.

Sources from the Office for European Security issues in Brussels, thinks that "Albanian extremists in Albania and abroad, can become serious obstacles due to Albania to carry out needed reforms for the European Union.

This involving the Socialist Party in a nationalist debate, first in view of Greek influence in Albanian politics, it reinforces even more that many regional security institutions have emphasized: the involvement of mafia and criminal elements in the nationalist policies supported by media in Albania, could pave the serious problems for Albania's integration into European structures.

Albania will face in the future with major challenges such as requests for Population Census, which will be declared for the first time religion and ethnicity, for which analysts are viewing that is growing sentiment of extremists, another nationalist group linked " patriotic "that organized the cupola of the Socialist Party opposed the agreement of Albanian Greek maritime borders.

In an interview given to BBC radio, Albanian Foreign Minister Ilir Meta, said that "We will do everything to ban extremists". This follows a fierce reaction to the former Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakogiani, which said that "Albanian extremists in collaboration with SP, have blocked the agreement of maritime borders".

But to be emphasized is the fact that "many Albanian extremists in Albania, which considered "patriots with dignity" have a civil integrity in collaboration with the segments that operate against the interests of the Greek Community and Albanian Greek institutional relationship.

Meanwhile, the exportation outside of the state borders of Albania of extremist nationalist spirit, contrary to the aspirations of Albania for carrying out reforms to the EU, followed by a powerful and suspicious link media Albanian satellite, which creates confusion and hatred the Greek Community and Greece itself in relationship with Albania.

Politic crises in Albania

PACE asks its Presidential Committee to visit Albania as soon as possible

Strasbourg. At the close of its debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Albania, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) asked its Presidential Committee, accompanied by the Monitoring Committee's co-rapporteurs for Albania, Jaakko Laakso (Finland, UEL) and David Wilshire (United Kingdom, EDG), to visit Albania as soon as possible so as to help restore political dialogue there, the Council of Europe announced.

The Assembly deplores "the political crisis which has seriously damaged Albanian politics following the parliamentary elections of June 2009, with the Socialist Party-led opposition boycotting the parliament and contesting the political legitimacy of the Democratic Party-led government". To end this political deadlock, the Assembly called on the Albanian government to set up, without further delay, a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the elections.

The Assembly regrets that the absence of parliamentary dialogue is blocking the reform process, since the governing majority does not have the three-fifths majority required to pass major constitutional reforms; it urges the opposition to return to parliament and fully participate in its work.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forged passports of the countries of EU make "service" in Albania, than move to EU

Sofie has given about 50 thousand passports for Albanian citizen as Bulgarian nationality

For counterfeiters and their customers in Albania this case was difficult. The release of passports of the countries belonging to the EU wanted attention. These passports fell easily to the attention of authorities in the neighboring country. All this, however, until 2004.

However, in 2004 Bulgaria joined the EU made things very easy for everyone.
The Bulgarian passport external look at black market.

Therefore, forgers have golden business "plastograf Bulgarian identities".
This gave a good opportunity for the Albanians who wanted to travel to Europe.
Only the coaster did not last for long.

The Albanian authorities have identified as the perpetrators (the two men)
arrested them in the laboratory, finding in all the incriminating evidence.

They are accused of "falsifying identity cards, passports or visas", "production tools for forgery" and "falsification of documents in collaboration.

The counterfeit passports of EU Member States are sold in the neighboring country to different values.

The forgers' do a good job, because so far no Member State of the EU has discovered counterfeit passports or at least not the quantity in circulation.

Anyway Sofie, since belong member of EU, has given about 50 thousand passports for Albanian citizen as Bulgarian nationality, noted some sources in Tirana.

Albania, to cancel the water agreement with Greece

Reactions in Athens

'New Democracy" Press Release

The Head of the Foreign Policy Responsibility New Democracy MP Dimitris Avramopoulos, referring to the annulment by the Constitutional Court of Albania, the Greek-Albanian agreement on the delimitation of maritime zones (territorial sea, continental shelf) between two countries, made the following statement:

"The international issues should not be an internal operation, either by governments or political parties or from politicians. We expect the Department to make the necessary arrangements and to inform us officially about the reasons for the Constitutional Court of Albania's decision, and the official position of the Albanian Government".

Dhora Bakoyannis


Bakoyannis criticises gov't following Albanian high court's annulment of deal on territorial waters

Former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday sharply criticised the ruling PASOK government of what she called inertia vis-?-vis a Greek-Albanian agreement on the delineation of territorial waters in the Ionian Sea and its recent annulment by Albania's constitutional court.

"This annulment was made following a reaction by (Albanian) nationalistic organisations and recourse by Albanian Socialist party president Mr. (Edi) Rama. None of the procedures followed (for the signing of the agreement) is questionable and everything was made according to international rules foreseen by the United Nations," Bakoyannis said in a statement.

The agreement, signed in Tirana in April 2009 when Bakoyannis held the foreign ministry portfolio, was annulled by the Albanian high court earlier this week.

"I do not know if (ruling) PASOK tried to inform its fellow (Albanian) socialist party on the benefits of the agreement when it received information that the latter intended to undermine this agreement," she added.

"What I know, however, is that while Mr. Rama was announcing his intention in mid-October, the Greek government showed no haste at all in tabling the agreement for endorsement by Parliament, which opened a few days later, in order to create a positive momentum for its safeguarding as well as for the safeguarding of the high level of Greek-Albanian relations, which we had achieved," Bakoyannis concluded.

PASOK won the general election in Greece on Oct. 4, 2009.

Albanian politic crises transferred to Athens

Strong debate in Greek Parliament about the decision of Albanian Constitutional Court, for the cancellation of the Greek-Albanian agreement on maritime borders
"Ta Nea" Newspaper

"Dangerous game inside the Albanian politics against Greece"

The Albanian Constitutional Court cancels the agreement signed by Karamanlis

...Legal circles, who know well the negotiations last year and the contents of the agreement, they state that there is no irregularity, and note that the delimitation of the continental shelf was made in accordance with all rules of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, that the Constitutional Court noted.

Albania has to say what the irregularities and not to create undue impressions. The same cycles characterizing the argument as a joke of the Albanian opposition accepted by the Constitutional Court that in order to attend the negotiations, the Albanian delegation had first to get formal permission from the President of the Republic. The same sources note that the agreement is actually quite fair.

In Addition, legal and diplomatic circles emphasized that Greece must meet very tough and demand the immediate ratification of the agreement by the Albanian parliament-and therefore urge the Greek government (especially the Foreign Ministry) to refuse to renegotiate, while also to send a firm message to Tirana to stop involving major transnational issues in their domestic political controversy, especially to avoid creating tensions in bilateral relations.
Albanian Constitutional Court," 9-0 against Greece"

The 'gift' of Albania to George Papandreou

While the Prime Minister speaks of Albania's accession to the EU in 2014, the same Greek-cancel the 2009 agreement on maritime borders

Sure is now the cancellation of the Greek-Albanian agreement on maritime borders of the Constitutional Court of Albania, after the formal written statement made by the competent Albanian authorities this morning. It burns in a major paper on the Greek side that could be used in the same case with Turkey on the delimitation of the continental shelf in the eastern Aegean.

All this once just a few days earlier, on Friday, January 22, the Deputy of PM George Papandreou, the Foreign Minister Droutsas, standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament, spoke on the initiative of the Prime Minister to incorporate the Western Balkans, thus and Albania, the European Union in 2014.

The Greek Foreign Ministry did not send a letter to the Secretary' of EU, Catherine Ashton and all the competent ministries of the European member countries to make known their intentions to the Greek government on this issue.

It was not but a week came the return of the Albanian side in a show of''goodwill'', also as usual! Remember that only his initials, on November 21, 2008, the Greek-Albanian agreement to establish two military cemeteries in Northern Epirus, Albania continues to concoct obstacles so as not resolved this particular humanitarian and emotional issue for all the Greek people 'Bitter taste' leaves the question if one considers that the same period the Greek Parliament ratifies the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Albania and the European Union, effectively bringing it one step closer to European integration.

Within this framework should be integrated and very recent criminal conviction and launching of the Municipal functions and imprisonment of Vasilis Bolanos, President of the Political Organization of the Greek national minority "Omonia" because it wanted the road signs in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Himara appear in the Greek. This took place a few days after the ratification by Greek Parliament of the agreement on accession of Albania into NATO.

There would be no exaggeration to say that Tirana seem to literally ride to Athens and evolve virtually arch''buddy'', by pretending a good neighbor, when needed its support, and the other contributing directly to Greek interests whenever the opportunity arises.

There is no doubt now that it is time to redefine the relative position of the Greek government towards this mildly ambiguous Albanian tactics.

Developments and Security on Balkans

FYROM: Fear of destabilization

Not only FYROM, but also the entire region is threatened by destabilization in March if the EU does not set a date for starting membership talks with the country.

FYROM's accession to the EU is a guarantee for stability and security. This is the conclusion of the report of Slovenian MEP Zoran Taler, which yesterday was adopted by a large majority by the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, the Skopia newspaper "Dnevnik " informed. The document was adopted with 56 votes, five abstentions and five against.

The report of the European Parliament is a call not only to FYROM to solve its name dispute, but also the entire region and the EU to engage in an accelerated process of European integration on the Balkans, the newspaper reads further.

Dnevnik added that the European Parliament is sending messages for some time that the dispute over FYROM's name should soon be solved.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The "bottom" agreement with Albania

The Constitutional Court annulled the neighboring country to the delimitation of maritime zones

In Tirana, the nationalists celebrate because the noise roused 'rescued territorial waters, while socialist Mr Edi Rama, who for reasons of opposition took the weight of the campaign and appealed to the court, claim by Prime Minister Sali Berisha apologized for the "national treason"!

Stavros Tzimas

Discomfort caused to Athens the decision of the Constitutional Court of Albania to cancel the most important intergovernmental agreement signed in recent years and the delimitation of maritime zones between the two countries.

In an initial government response, the Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas a radio interview he spoke of "negative trend is not pleased, adding that the Greek side awaits formal notification from Tirana on how it plans to further handle this serious subject.

Reference was made to and during last night's meeting between Mr. Droutsa with his Albanian counterpart on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan in London carried out.

The Albanian government, through Foreign Minister Ilir Meta, said he will respect the decision of the Constitutional Court, but expressed certainty that this will not affect the Greek-Albanian relations.

In Tirana, the nationalists celebrate because the noise roused 'rescued territorial waters, while socialist Mr Edi Rama, who for reasons of opposition took the weight of the campaign and appealed to the court, claim by Prime Minister Sali Berisha apologized for the "national treason"!

Diplomatic sources claim that evolution is a step behind the best in recent years, Greek-Albanian relations and indicated that await with interest the operations of the Albanian Government to the problem, but the reaction of the Greek side.

The same sources pointed to the risk of creating a negative climate and precedent, and have the same fate as other signed agreements awaiting ratification by the Albanian parliament as the two military cemeteries in Vouliarates and Klisoura, which also react strongly nationalist groups in the neighbor.

In such a case, pointed to Kathimerini Greek diplomat with long experience in the Albanian-Greek, "the clock is turned back and was in no way should not happen."


The Convention, which governs maritime zones of the close up of Corfu and the Adriatic, signed a festive atmosphere on April 27, 2009 in Tirana by the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Albania, Mrs Dora Bakoyannis and Lulzim Basha, in the presence of Prime Ministers Costas Karamanlis and Sali Berisha.

There were then no reaction from the Albanian side of the political spectrum, which occurred later, after the victory of Mr. Berisha's parliamentary elections in summer, with leaders of Italian newspapers and television interests and nationalists.

Claimed that the agreement with Greece use thereof 354 (three hundred fifty-four) square kilometers from the Albanian territorial waters and the baton took the Socialist Party, which has included the issue in acute rivalry with the ruling party, showing the Albanian Prime Minister as National lowest bidder!

The combatants agreement claimed that the border line of marine areas agreed not draw properly and effectively assigned part of Albanian territory.

more see in Greek:
Athens “Unhappy” with ulterior developments on Greek Albanian relations

Greece - Interview of Alternate FM Droutsas on “Thema 9.89” radio, with journalists R. Bizogli & B. Koutras

Mr. Koutras: Mr. Minister, Greek diplomacy has many pending issues, but I would like to touch upon a point that has been included in the agenda for the first time: A while ago, we were informed that the Constitutional Court of Tirana held the delimitation of maritime zones agreed upon by Greece and Albania to be unconstitutional. Is there a comment on the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Mr. Droutsas: Look, we were informed about these developments today as well. It is of course a negative development that we are not happy about. But I want to stress that this is a matter of domestic judicial process in Albania, which we cannot but respect. First of all, we are waiting for an official announcement on the part of Albania and, of course, the Albanian government's proposals on how it intends to handle the matter further.

But allow me to stress – since you mentioned this issue – that in my recent visit to Tirana, all my collocutors from the Albanian side confirmed – in all tones possible – the importance and priority given by Albania to this agreement precisely. And this afternoon, within the framework of the International Conference on Afghanistan, I will have the opportunity to discuss this issue with the Albanian Foreign Minister, Mr. Meta, and hear his first reactions...

more see:

Albania Press Review -January 27

Tirana | 27 January 2010 |
Albanian newspapers
Albanian newspapers


On Tuesday prosecutors in the city of Shkodra questioned the head of Albania’s Power Corporation, KESH, as part of a probe investigating any wrongdoing that might have aggravated flooding in Northern Albania.


Albania’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday annulled an agreement over the continental shelf in the Ionian Sea reached by the government and Athens.


Albania’s Parliament Speaker Jozefina Topalli and the Socialist Party exchanged jibes on Tuesday over the mandate of the Albanian delegation to the Council of Europe.

Ali Ahmeti MP accuses Politic parties of trying to divide FYROM

Speaking in an interview with Skopje-based weekly magazine, MP from the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) Ermira Ahmeti has accused the FYROM political parties of trying to divide the country.

Ermira Ahmeti’s arguments are the government’s decisions to make slavish language mandatory for Albanian first-graders, build a church outside a city hall in Skopje and refuse to construct a mosque for the Albanian population, as well as lack of strategy in the government’s policy for getting a starting date for EU accession talks.

Ermira Ahmeti says the Albanian ministers in Prime Minister Gruevski’s government are isolated when important decisions are made, giving an example with the introduction of compulsory slave language for Albanian first-graders.

The MP from DUI thinks Nikola Gruevski’s government and VMRO-DPMNE majority “constantly test Albanians’ patience and risk losing their only real ally.”
Ermira Ahmeti tells Globus that “through the construction of monuments, through all projects for cultural revival only of one of the ethnic communities and the suppression of the values of the other communities, through the pressure in the economy, the Albanians get the impression that the dominating ethnic community pursues a policy of division.”

Greece and Albania still no "official boundaries"

Constitutional Court of Albania, opposed the Pact with Greece: "The new agreement for borders, becomes relying on Albania's national interests"

TIRANA - The government of Berisha's decision recognizing that maritime borders Greece - Albania, is blocked by the Constitutional Court, which decided by majority vote to not approve the agreement for determining the shelf sea between Greece and Albania.

The decision was made known officially, confirming the agreement, is considered in its entirety as anti constitutional and in violation of territorial and economic interests of Albania, without giving further details about the contested points.

Socialist Party, had asked the Constitutional Court to declare the anti constitutional government decision, for water pact with Greece.

But according to analysts, two countries, resume between their known positions, even though both are NATO allies, the territorial sea borders of Greece by officially is considered as a "New diplomatic incident" since the time, when Greece with a presidential decree of considers Albania from 1940 as an "enemy country".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dnevnik Newapaper, FYROM: PM Nikola Gruevski to end up like Slobodan Milosevic, reads a letter by Fazli Veliu

The veterans of the National Liberation Army, headed by its chairperson and MP from the ruling Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), Fazli Veliu, sent a letter to FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Skopian writes.

In the letter, the veterans call for the prime minister to immediately withdraw the decision for Albanian first-grade pupils to be obliged to study sllavo skopian or otherwise Gruevski will end up like Slobodan Milosevic.

FYROM PM Gruevski, on the other hand, said he has not received such letter.

Dream works

How two mayors broke the mold to rejuvenate their cities

The Harvard Kennedy School hosted two iconoclastic mayors on Monday (Jan. 25), both of whom entered government in their countries as a second career and changed their cities by shaking up politics as usual.

The discussion involved the visionary urban landscapes of Edi Rama, a former artist and mayor of Tirana, Albania, and Antanas Mockus, once an academic and a former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. Addressing an overflow audience, the former mayors outlined the offbeat methods by which they helped to transform their cities, in a discussion titled “Dialogue in Cultural Diplomacy and Urban Transformation.”

“We see ourselves as moral subjects, but others as legal subjects. We obey for positive reasons, but we think others obey for negative reasons,” Mockus said.................

Albania Moves to Strengthen its Role in Region

Tirana | 26 January 2010 |
Albania FM Ilir Meta
Albania FM IlirMeta

Albania’s Foreign Minister Ilir Meta has announced that the country will soon open an embassy in Sarajevo, the latest sign that Tirana aims to take a larger regional role, following its entry into NATO.

“Taking into account Albania’s increasing role in the Western Balkans, our government has decided to soon open the Albanian embassy in Sarajevo,” said Meta during a recent meeting with his Slovakian counterpart Miroslav Lajcak.

“This step is a clear sign of the attention that Albania pays to Bosnia-Herzegovina and its perspective for the whole region,” Meta added.

During an official visit in March, Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his Bosnian counterpart, Nikola Spiric agreed to improve economic and diplomatic relations and work jointly towards faster membership in the European Union.

The two premiers also signed four bilateral agreements - on police cooperation, readmission of illegal immigrants, customs and travel between the two countries.

Tirana, together with Croatia, was accepted as a full member of NATO at the Alliance's Strasbourg meeting in April 2009.

Albania-Serbia relations have also enjoyed a honeymoon of sorts in recent months, despite holding completely opposing views on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

After a meeting with representatives of the Serb minority in Kosovo in late December, Berisha announced a 400,000 euro grant to the community of Gracanica, a ethnic Serb enclave in central Kosovo.

Berisha held a joint meeting with Slobodan Petrovic, head of the Serbian Liberal Party in Kosovo, where he expressed his government’s desire for improved ethnic relations within Kosovo.

The Albanian premier also announced that he had invited Serbian President Boris Tadic for an official visit to Albania and the two governments were working out the details.

“President Tadic and I value developing the relationship between our two countries in order to open a new chapter,” Berisha said during the press conference. “President Tadic is welcome in Albania and I must say we are working on his coming visit, an invitation which he has gladly accepted,” Berisha added.

Anti-mafia law takes effect in Albania


TIRANA, Albania -- The so-called "anti-mafia" law that allows the seizing of assets whose legal origin cannot be proved took effect on Sunday (January 24th).

The new legislation enables authorities to seize suspicious assets and put the owners on trial to determine the source. It was adopted last month without the support of the opposition Socialist Party (SP), whose lawmakers are concerned its application could be selective.

The opposition argues that the money brought home by immigrants is not registered, which represents an opportunity for authorities to abuse such cases.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Greek Press

The response of George Papandreou for the Albanian Encyclopedic Dictionary

Greek PM George Papandreu has responded to the questions of MP of LAOS John Korantis, about the "Albanian Encyclopedic Dictionary"

Photo: LAOS PM John Korantis

A rapid Response to questions by LAOS PM , John Koranti on "Albanian Encyclopedic Dictionary".

"Efforts to trying and to counterfeiting misuse of the Greek history", says on the his response the Foreign Minister (and Prime Minister), George Papandreou to LAOS PM Korantis, which stresses that "It should be mentioned however that, according to the evaluation of services, in this latest version, it contained many gaps and distortion of historical reality that existed in previous similar work." John Korantis questions to PM Papandreu:

"The official Albanian Encyclopedic Dictionary of a few days ago issued by the Academy of Sciences of Albania, noting in his introduction that "national character" known repeats allegations longitudinal Albanian identity of Arta, Ioannina, Preveza and Igoumenitsa. Large extracts serve megalomania of the Albanian irredentism and cultivate the dispositions of the Chams.

Furthermore, degradation in the presence of the Greek minority in areas that are their ancestral homes, while removal of the Greek identity of areas such as Himara Region.

It asked the responsible P. Minister:

It informed the Foreign Ministry on this new piece of the Albanian Academy of Sciences, which is a government agency?
If yes, what you have made to the Albanian government to complain and ask for the removal of all the conflicting information?
Do you mobilize the Academy and other spiritual entities to make and they take the necessary steps?
you intend to raise this issue at international fora, such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE, particularly in the latter, as long as the Greek Presidency of this?

The honorable member

Member of Parliament LA.OS.

USAID assists Albanians displaced by severe flooding

In response to an emergency created by flooding in northern Albania, the United States embassy will donate $50,000 in emergency assistance to flood victims.

“The funds are being disbursed through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Office to the Albanian Red Cross for the purchase and distribution of blankets, food, hygiene kits, and other emergency relief supplies to affected populations to an estimated 5,000 people in northern Albania,” USAID Albania ( said in a statement.

This month, Albania has experienced heavy rains and melting snow that have caused severe flooding in the Shkoder and Lezha regions in the north.

Floodwaters submerged or isolated nearly 2,500 houses and led to the evacuation of more than 5,300 people.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Military 'threat' to Serbia prompts diplomatic efforts
23 January 2010, The Irish Times
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has sought to ease tensions with Serbia, after her president said he would send troops into neighbouring Bosnia if the leader of its Serb region carried out a threat to hold a referendum on independence.

The spat raised temperatures around the region, at a time when Croatia and Serbia are at odds over mutual lawsuits filed in the International Court of Justice, and efforts to deepen co-operation between Bosnia’s Republika Srpska and Muslim-Croat Federation have hit deadlock.

Stjepan Mesic told Croatian reporters that if Bosnian Serb premier Milorad Dodik held a vote on Republika Srpska’s secession from Bosnia, he would “militarily cut off the corridor in Bosnia’s Posavina region” – an action that would split Republika Srpska in two.
Mr Dodik called Mr Mesic’s comment “a concrete threat . . . a man who cannot hide his hatred towards the Serb people”.

In Belgrade, Serb president Boris Tadic also condemned Mr Mesic’s remarks, and said he would complain about them in last night’s planned speech to the United Nations Security Council.
Mr Tadic called his Croatian counterpart’s statement “direct warmongering and a threat to regional security . . . It is a threat to the safety of all people and all nations in the region.”
Mr Mesic, who is about to step down after serving two terms in office, sought to calm the escalating row, characterising his remarks as “a political message and not a declaration of war” and “a message that we have certain obligations” under the Dayton peace deal that ended the 1992-95 Bosnian conflict.
He said the deal “guarantees the existence of Bosnia. Croatia cannot accept that Bosnia falls apart.”
Mr Dodik plans to hold a referendum on Bosnian Serbs’ support for Dayton, which he claims is under threat from western-backed efforts to strengthen Bosnia’s federal powers at the expense of its ethnic “entities”, Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

Analysts say many local Serbs fear an integrated Bosnia because it raises the prospect of the country eventually being dominated by its majority Muslims, who were the greatest victims of the war, and that Muslims and Croats suspect nationalists like Mr Dodik still harbour dreams of creating a “Greater Serbia”.
“I don’t think carrying on with controversies is good because it increases tensions,” Ms Kosor said yesterday.
“Regardless of the extremely difficult past, we must continue living in the spirit of good neighbourly relations.”

Hyseni: Independence is irreversible

Kosovo Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni said in New York that Kosovo independence is irreversible.

He said that it will remain that way for the sake of regional security.

Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting dedicated to Kosovo, Hyseni said that Priština has been recognized by 65 countries, and that diplomatic relations have been established with 25 of them.

“Kosovo is ready to improve relations with the Republic of Serbia. Dialogue between our countries can be held regarding many questions of joint interest and only based on equality, between two independent and sovereign countries,” Hyseni said, adding that Priština rejects any and all calls for renewing negotiations regarding Kosovo’s status.......................

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