Saturday, May 15, 2010
Strategic & Geo-politic News
Russia cancels the pipeline Bourgkas-Alexandropoullos - Those were conditional and for the South Stream!
According to statements by Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko, who participates in the delegation accompanying the Russian President during his visit to Turkey, "examines the merging of two competing pipeline Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis substantially has stopped evolving program fault of Bulgaria.
He said that since the Bulgaria clarify the position regarding the requirements for better financial benefits and environmental protection, will examine the merger of the pipeline project with that of Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.
Russian source said on defencenet.gr, that "The Bulgarian government refuses to perform its contractual obligations and keep fickle Greek attitude. We can not wait any longer. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, at least in this form over to us. I see what happens with the South Stream " Moscow considers Bulgaria and Greece "weak links" which now depend entirely on the "Atlantic bloc."
The worst thing is that Turkey assumes the role he wanted to play in Greece as a strategic partner of Russia as a transit hub for transporting oil markets that the west.Meanwhile, the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline as a project that did not seem viable, the Russian oil transportation and upgraded.
New Mass Protests Shake Albania's Capital TiranaMay 15, 2010, Saturday
Supporters of Albania's Socialist Party block the main boulevard during a protest in Tirana Saturday. Photo by BGNES
Tens of thousands of people have gathered over the weekend in Albania's capital to demand the recount of the ballots from last year's election, BBC reports Saturday.
The rally was organized by the opposition Socialist Party as a show of support of Socialist activists who have been on hunger strike for two weeks outside the office of Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democrats narrowly won the general election in June 2009 and now hold 75 of parliament's 140 seats. The government says the demands are illegal and sent hundreds of policemen to guard the square where the rally is taking place.
Mayor of Tirana and opposition, Socialist leader, Edi Rama, told Saturday the Bulgarina National Radio, BNR, the rally aims at showing the world there is no democracy in Albania.
The Socialists are supported by 5 other opposition parties.
This crisis, which involved a several-months long boycott of parliament by the Socialists, has paralyzed Albanian politics and is damaging the country's bid for European Union membership.
Brussels is openly voicing its concern and several bodies, including the Council of Europe, are attempting to mediate between the Democrats and Socialists.
Since the fall of communism in 1991, Albania has never held an election that has met all international standards.
Turkey satisfied on the Aegean!
USA has warned Greece that changes in the Balkans, will not necessarily become ONU international laws, but within the family that NATO and EU, where Greece has a key role.
In the near future, as Turkey and Greece, are seeing to push their borders to the west.
George Papandreou declared in the meeting with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, that the Aegean and continetal shefiled, can became in a common sea through the eyes of European prerspektives.
He, over diplomaic messages, rejected the idea that "Turkey can also grab by force any Greek island in the Aegean and this must look to the future and not by the use of force."
Pandora's box, after Kosovo, it seems, will continue to open in the Balkans. The Turkish - Greece Relations, are the highest priority of NATO, Washington and Bruskelit.
Friday, May 14, 2010
|KFOR reinforces troops at border|
|14 May 2010 | 10:05 | Source: Beta|
| PRIŠTINA -- The NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo have sent reinforcements to their units deployed at a border crossing with Macedonia.|
A KFOR spokesman told local media in Priština that the rapid reaction units joined Kosovo police, KPS, and EU mission in Kosovo, EULEX, police, in securing this area, and that they would remain there “for as long as needed”.
All this comes after the latest incidents in the region, when four ethnic Albanians – two from Kosovo and two Macedonbian citizes – were shot and killed by Macedonian police as they were trying to smuggle weapons.
Erdogan was received at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport by Greece’s government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos and an Air Force honor guard in an official ceremony
Erdogan left the airport headed for the Presidential Mansion, where he will was received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
The Turkish prime minister, who is accompanied by 10 ministers and a large business delegation, afterwards went into a working lunch with Greek prime minister and foreign minister George Papandreou and will later visit the Hellenic parliament, where he will meet with parliament president Philippos Petsalnikos.
Erdogan and Papandreou will in the afternoon chair the inaugural session of the Greece-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, while approximately 21 agreements of cooperation will be signed between the two countries in a variety of sectors, including the economy, energy and culture.
In a brief airport statement, Erdogan said the two countries are setting a good example for cooperation, marking a new beginning for the Balkans and the wider region.
He also noted that he has visited Greece five times in the past.
The 10 ministers accompanying Erdogan are: Deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, Minister of State Mehmet Zafer Caglayan, Minister of state and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, National Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, and Environment and Foresrty Mnister Veysel Eroglu.
Thousands head to Albanian capital for protest over alleged election fraud
The Associated Press
TIRANA, Albania — Thousands of opposition Socialist supporters are heading to the Albanian capital for a major rally in support of hunger strikers demanding a recount of June's parliamentary elections, which they claim were rigged.
"Two weeks ago 21 opposition lawmakers and 180 supporters started a hunger strike, camped out beneath Prime Minister Sali Berisha's office. Thirty-two had broken their fast because of health problems by Friday morning.
Berisha's conservative Democratic party narrowly won the June 28 general election, giving them 75 of parliament's 140 seats. The opposition holds 65 seats.
The Socialists, led by Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, have been boycotting parliament since the vote, briefly turning up only to press for a recount in several districts. The government rejects the demand as illegal.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
According to the radio station Voice of America "program in Macedonian, experts and diplomats at a conference held at the Center for Strategic and International Research in Washington yesterday discussed on" Mutation in the Balkans: Security, Political Stability and Economic Growth.
"The conference , which focused primarily on the Greek-American cooperation in the Balkans, the Greek Ambassador to the U.S., B. Kaskarelis stressed that his country is an ally, they can trust Washington. The problem of name was mentioned in the quick resolution of because of the need for broader regional security.
The conference came and asked for greater involvement of the U.S., since there are no visible results so far from the negotiations at the UN."The UN must remain a central player in the process.This includes a commitment by both sides, and the U.S. and the EU are certainly a lot of discussion out of the process in the UN with a view to encouraging things, no one, but has no more influence on the process from the Greek and "Macedonians" Government. "said U.S. Deputy Assistant-FM Stuart Johns.
"At the last meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, the White House, President Barack Obama's dieminyse that the name issue should be resolved in the coming months," said Mr Johns.
The Greek Ambassador Kaskarelis deems bad idea to shift the focus of negotiations outside the UN as the International Agency offers special framework of principles which are accepted everywhere.
"The U.S. can certainly help in the process. We can help with ideas, debate, analyze the situation. But I think it would be a negative issue be placed outside the competence of the UN, "said Kaskarelis.
“There was an explosion at Korydallos after an anonymous phonecall to Eleftherotypia daily and Alter television station,” the source said.
The device had been placed outside the wall of a disused section of the prison and did not appear to have injured anyone, the police source said.
One report says two persons has been injured in the blast.
FYROM: Police action near Radusa won’t be left without response
Skopje.The situation around the police action close to Radusa starts resembling the events taking place in pre-conflict societies, analyst Albert Musliu comments for sllavo Macedonian Dnevnik daily.
The analyst expressed his suspicion that there was shooting against a well-armed group, which has opened fire on police, and eventually everyone died but not a single police officer got hurt.
“The situation in which huge amounts of arms are circulating on the streets is very serious and this reminds of something has already happened in the past.
There are such examples both here and in the region,” Musliu remarked, adding that it I hardly likely to believe that such an action will be left without any response.
War Crimes Raid in KosovoPristina | 12 May 2010 | Lawrence Marzouk
According to local reports, the action targeted the house of Kosovo Liberation Army veteran Xhemshit Krasniqi.
Radio Kosova reported that after a search of the house on Wednesday, EULEX police arrested Krasniqi.
Balkan Insight understands the operation was connected to the arrest made last week of former KLA fighter Sabit Geci.
A EULEX spokeswoman would only confirm that the Prizren raid was related to war crimes.
Sabit Geci was arrested last Thursday as part of an investigation into prison camps run by the Kosovo Liberation Army in Albania.
Balkan Insight discovered in an investigation published last year that the KLA had maintained detainment cells in a base in the northeastern Albanian town of Kukes.
EULEX said last week's action was in connection with crimes allegedly committed between April and June 1999, while sources confirmed to Balkan Insight that the two operations were linked to KLA detention facilities in Kukes.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Albania's hunger strikers demand recount votes
Hunger-strikers demanding a recount nearly a year after a parliamentary election in Albania.
Camped out in white tents, 22 lawmakers and 200 backers of the opposition Socialist Party have brought their protest to the door of Prime Minister Sali Berisha and are blocking the wide avenue below his office.
The 12-day-old fast extends a stalemate between government and the opposition that has dragged on since the election on June 28, 2009, defying efforts by EU leaders to find a solution.
"We will fight with no pause until we reach our goal," opposition leader Edi Rama, who is also Tirana's mayor, told Reuters. "We'll not stop until we get something that is so elementary for every normal democracy."
Rama lost the race for prime minister in a close contest with the incumbent Berisha, Albania's dominant political figure since the fall of Communism in 1990.
International observers had hoped it would be Albania's first free and fair contest, marking clear progress for a country that is already in NATO and has applied to join the EU."The country's process was a real disgrace," said one diplomat this week. "Of course, there has been cheating."
The stand-off has impacted the country's bond rating and the perceptions of investors.
| RUSSIAN ROULLETE, GREEK EDITION || || |
Ignition was "explosive" and flashover erupted so fast after the initial combustion that the plume engulfed the old 3-story building, which had no designated fire escape, in under two minutes. The bank was full of employees, who run in terror to save their lives. Three, two women, one of them pregnant with her first child, and one man, did not make it; firefighters and paramedics found them lying in the staircase to the upper floors and near a balcony in the final agonizing contortion of death by asphyxiation.
This deliberate act of murder constitutes the kind of man-killing escalation by Greece's increasingly violent nihilist-anarchist fringe that local politicians and "experts" consistently denied it is a credible possibility. Lulled into apathy and fiction by their own delusions and self-imposed "democratic limits," Greece's "leaders," politicians, "opinion makers," and the "community avant garde" have come to believe in their hearts and minds that the "angry kids," who play with clubs, stones, Molotov cocktails, and petrol cans; and who have been smashing and burning the center of Athens and other Greek cities for years with complete impunity, actually abide by some unwritten pact, or "gentleman's agreement," not to take human life, the steadily increasing material cost be damned. ...............
more see: www.rieas.gr
Two arrested, four killed in Radusa According to ALSAT TV, the persons killed where Albanian nationality from FYROM and Kosovo
The incident took place 10km away from the village of Radusa. Makfax crew said the residents didn't hear anything or saw the police. At the place of the scene were found oil traces and four bullets.
Police intercepted the gunmen aboard a vehicle packed with weapons. The incident took place at about 3 am.
The gunmen opened fire on police officers. Police sources say four gunmen were killed in the exchange of fire. A large quantity of weapons have been seized.
Two weeks ago, Macedonian police seized large quantity of weapons and ammunition stashed in a cache near the border with Kosovo. One of the gunmen guarding the cache was injured in shootout.
According to ALSAT TV, the persons killed where Albanian nationality from FYROM and Kosovo.
OPPOSITION PROTESTS, FROM 1997 TO 2010, AN ESSENTIAL CHANGE ON IDENTITY, OR SOMETHING ELSE?
EU calls on Albania to end political crisis
The European Union has urged Albania's political parties to find a constructive solution to the internal political crisis that is threatening to obstruct the country's path towards the EU.
The message was underlined on Tuesday (11 May) both by Stefan Fuele, EU commissioner responsible for enlargement policy and by Spanish state secretary Diego Lopez Garrido, after a meeting of the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Council in Brussels.
Parallel to the Brussels ministerial meeting, several socialist opposition parliamentarians continued their hunger strike in the Albanian capital Tirana, asking for a recount of votes from last year's general elections that prompted the ongoing crisis.
Albania's deputy prime minister Ilir Meta acknowledged in Brussels that a hunger strike was a legitimate democratic tool but added it was not the right way to resolve disagreements. He said "the government remains ready to engage with the opposition in a constructive manner in the interest of the whole country."
EU representatives stressed the EU's line that parliament is the right place to discuss disputes between the ruling majority and the opposition. At the same time, they tried to avoid being seen as interfering in "internal political fighting" in Albania.
The European Union also urged Albania to do more to fight corruption and organised crime and to present a convincing track record of investigations and convictions carried out without political interference.
"The EU expressed the view that corruption remains widespread and constitutes a particularly serious problem in many areas including in relation to party funding, in the health sector and others" the joint declaration after the EU-Albania meeting stated.
Albania applied for EU membership last year. The EU commission is due to give its opinion on whether Albania fulfils the necessary political and economic criteria to get the status of an official EU candidate.
Failure to resolve the political crisis could have a negative impact on the Commission's assessment. One of the EU's key political conditions is the proper functioning of democratic institutions, including parliament. The socialist opposition is still boycotting the work of the parliament in Tirana in protest against what they say was a rigged election.
Crisis prompts some Albanian workers to quit GreeceReuters
"Some of them are returning back," said Nikolaos Pazios. "They are maybe disappointed in Greece, they have administrative problems, or they think the situation is getting better in Albania."
Albanians make up by far the largest foreign workforce in European Union-member Greece, with about 800,000 Albanians there, many in private construction, agriculture and tourism.
The ambassador said it is too soon to speak of a major wave of departures. Another Greek official in the region has said Albanians were leaving permanently but said the exact numbers were unclear.
After the fall of the hardline Communist regime, many Albanians went to Greece to find relief from the then poorest corner of Europe. Greeks invested in Albania to become the top foreign investor with $1.2 billion and second trade partner.
Now, many Albanians also fear the Greek crisis could prompt some Greek business to go home or reduce their exposure.
"If they reduce the investment in finance and telecommunications, they are going to destroy the roots of productivity in Albania," said Arben Malaj, a member of parliament and former finance minister.
Many Albanian workers send a chunk of their earnings home, a vital contribution to the country of 3.3 million people which suffers from a large trade imbalance. Remittances fell 6.4 percent to 780 million euros in 2009 compared to a 2008.
"Albanians in Greece have had a hard time for the past year," said Oliver Whittle, CEO at Albania's largest bank Raiffeisen.
Greece has advocated admitting Albania and former Yugoslav nations into the EU by 2014, a date widely seen as wildly optimistic. Pazios said Greece's recent economic troubles did contain a sobering message for Albania, which applied for EU membership last year, and others in the region.
"They believe this perspective will solve the problems -- it won't," he said. "Europe is not a panacea...But there is no going back."
Gov't on Erdogan visit to Athens
"We have a specific stance as far as our foreign policy is concerned. We are not isolationist, nor do we reject relations with other states, particularly neighbouring ones ... It's counterproductive not to discuss problems with other parties," government spokesman George Petalotis emphasised on Tuesday, ahead of a visit later this week to Greece by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Responding to press questions during his regular briefing, the spokesman merely reminded that "Greece recognises the (Aegean) continental shelf issue as the only problem with the neighbouring country.
"However, (Turkey) being a neighbour and a country that wants to become an EU member, we have an obligation to have relations and talk ... We have an extrovert foreign policy and we talk with them because we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about," added.
FYROM: Four people die in shootout between police and armed group on border with Kosovo
Four people have died in a shootout between the police and an armed group on the Macedonian-Kosovan border close to the village of Radusa during the night, "Alsat" reports.
According to unconfirmed information the police clashed with a group smuggling arms. The armed people opened fire on the police. Four people died in the shooting and there are injured people. Three of the dead people have been identified.
They are residents of the villages of Grcec and Merovo and of Pristina. The fourth dead person has not been identified yet.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
TIRANA, -- Supporters of Albania's Socialist Party blocked roads across the country on Tuesday to show their solidarity with the hunger strikers in the capital city of Tirana.
Protesters blocked the busy highway that links Tirana and the seaport Durress. In Tirana police clashed with protesters who blocked the main road between the capital city and the central town of Elbassan.
The hunger strike in front of the prime minister's office building in the center of Tirana entered its 11th day on Tuesday. And 23 strikers have been hospitalized.
The European Union enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele said in Brussels on Tuesday that he was concerned with the political situation in Albania, asking Albanian political parties to solve the problem before the situation deteriorates.
The Socialist Party, led by Edi Rama, has accused the ruling Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha of vote- rigging and called for a full investigation into the fraud, which was denied by Berisha.
Rama told a protesters rally at the hunger strike scene on Tuesday that the opposition will not give in and will carry on protesting until their demands are met.
"We are not fighting for power, we are fighting for truth," Rama said to the roaring of the protesters.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Albania: Opposition protests enlarge
Tirana. The wave of opposition protests in Albania is enlarging, albanian media reports. The opposition calls for complete transparency in last year’s elections.
Outside the parliament in Tirana opposition leader Edi Rama said the protests will not stop until the objective is achieved.
In the meantime opposition MPs and some 200 supporters have been on a hunger strike for seven days. At least five motorways are blocked. According to analysts the situation might complicate.
|Sejdiu: No one above law|
| PRIŠTINA -- Commenting on charges being brought up against Kosovo's Traffic and Telecommunications Minister, President Fatmir Sejdiu said that no one is above the law.|
EULEX police searched the offices of the ministry ten days ago, as well as Limaj's personal property.
Limaj is suspected of a misuse of position, corruption and accepting bribes.
Daily Koha Ditore writes that Sejdiu said that it is in the interest of everyone in Kosovo for all working officials to do their jobs, and believes that all Kosovo officials agree with this stance.
EULEX prosecutor Johannes Van Vreeswijk stated on Friday that the prosecution and police have evidence of misuses worth several million euros and that there are six other investigations into corruption and organized crime being led in addition to the investigation of Limaj.
Djibouti recognizes Kosovo’s independence
Priština daily Express writes that the Republic of Djibouti has become the 68th country to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
According to KiM Radio, the recognition is not yet officially confirmed in the Kosovo Foreign Ministry.
A confirmation is expected to arrive to Priština at the beginning of next week.
Djibouti has a population of about one million and is located in southeast Africa, near Ethiopia and Somalia.
ALFRED MOISIU FOR THE RUSSIAN TODAY TV
Nothing words for western alliance forces of the Second World War, indication in Albania, even his father Spiro Moisiu was comander of albanian - italian fashist army that invaded Greece in Octobber 1940.
One of the first casualties of the Second World War was Albania. But its fight wasn't initially against Nazi Germany. It's threat initially came fr... more One of the first casualties of the Second World War was Albania. But its fight wasn't initially against Nazi Germany.
It's threat initially came from across the Adriatic Sea - in Italy.
The former Albanian president says his country's eventual liberation would have been all but impossible without help from the Soviets.
FYROM press: Name dispute, security
The name dispute and concerns about country’s security are the front-burner topics in the Macedonian press on Saturday.
Macedonia should not wait for Greek initiative in the name issue but rather use all means it has to solve the dispute, said Rosa Balfour, senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Vecer daily reports.
“Macedonia should really focus on what the citizens want because they cannot stand this uncertainty. It should also be aware of the fact that this uncertainty creates negative consequences for the country and tension between the two ethnic communicates,” Balfour remarked.
“We know that the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia is political and bilateral issue, but the nature of the process itself is also very important. That is why we think that it should be solved as soon as possible,” said French ambassador to Skopje Jean-Claude Schlumberger in interview to Dnevnik daily.
In his words, there is a need for all forces and means to be united in the name of the European integration so as Macedonia to become a member of the EU and NATO through some normal and correct political dialog.
Schlumberger also expressed his concerns about country’s security.
“With regard to the latest incident, there is some concern about the amount of weapons found by police. The information provided by Macedonian authorities shows that there is some concern. What makes us meeker is the fact that all countries condemned the violence,” Schlumberger added.
Utrinski Vesnik also puts focus on country’s security and the police operation in which huge amount of weapons was found.
“Who is shooting in Macedonia after the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and what made the inter-ethnic relations turn into a threat for country’s security,” journalist Alexandra M. Mitevska writes.
“The war of words between the ruling parties and the opposition over who was plotting destabilization in the country and who is acting unscrupulously raised the tension even more after police found the hidden weapons close to the border to Kosovo and the attempts to revive the myth of the National Liberation Army,” the article reads.
“It is important for Macedonia to be united over the name dispute and the solution of open issues of ethnic-religious nature, which remain unsolved even in countries with stronger democratic tradition,” Daut Dauti writes in an article published in Dnevnik daily.
“We all share the ‘fog’ that fell over us after some of the police operations, in which authorities found huge amount of weapons, which definitely are not aimed to express one’s joy at wedding parties. All public figures have been ‘bombarded’ with questions like “What does this mean”, “What will happen…” The international community is sharing our concern, too. Meanwhile, everyone gave up on the radical scenarios. The comparison to 2001 comes naturally,” Dauti writes.