Saturday, July 17, 2010

FM: Kosovo compromise is possible

ALMATY -- Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić said that he believes that a solution of compromise could be found for Kosovo that would be satisfactory for everyone involved.

Vuk Jeremić at an informal ministerial meeting of the OSCE (Tanjug)
Vuk Jeremić at an informal ministerial meeting of the OSCE (Tanjug)

He said at an informal ministerial OSCE meeting in Kazakhstan that Serbia is ready to be creative, because he is convinced that a fair and balanced compromise for Kosovo’s final status can be found.

Jeremić reminded that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would give its opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence on July 22, and submit a report to the UN General Assembly in September.

Jeremić said that it us reasonable to believe that the need to preserve the basic norms of international law will lead to a result that will encourage all sides involved to lead negotiations in order to find a solution that is acceptable for everyone.

He said that the Kosovo secession is a direct challenge to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, as a member of the OSCE.

It is a threat to the joint security architecture, Jeremić warned, and to the principle of consensus, which is one of the main principles of the OSCE since its founding.

“Serbia wants to solve this problem. Since the start of this difficult crisis, we have accepted the approach which is completely in accordance with the founding principles of the OSCE,” he said...

Friday, July 16, 2010


The Greek government was “surprised,” newspapers said, because, suddenly, Turkey sent one of its hydrographic vessels to loiter in the northern Aegean near the Greek island of Samothrace performing, the Turks said, updating of navigational charts! This was a tin excuse of course, but the Turks aren’t amateurs at this. Ever since the Imia crisis in 1996, they have been working persistently at creating tensions and “incidents” that can be then woven permanently into a broader scheme of pushing Greek sovereignty in the Aegean back and advancing their own interpretation of the so-called “gray zones” theory in the Archipelago.

To add insult to injury, the Turks returned last week in the vicinity of the tiny islets of Kalogeroi, near Chios, where they staged another phantom “shipwreck,” complete with broadcasting bogus distress signals, as a means of challenging Greek search-and-rescue (SAR) authority in the sea within the boundaries of FIR Athens. With Greek SAR sea and air craft searching in vain for the imaginary “shipwreck,” Turkish helicopters and at least one surface ship appeared to interfere with the Greek efforts. Turkish radio traffic all along adjusted remarkably well to this tactically well rehearsed bait. In all, the Turks again transmitted the message that they recognize little Greek sovereignty past the 25th parallel, all the Greek islands near the Asia Minor coast be damned, and will continue to press on until Greece accepts, at a minimum, “co-exploitation” of the Aegean, which will involve oil exploration in the near future.

The Papandreou government, overwhelmed by the fiscal crisis, stirred little. In any case, the Greek prime minister has an established personal record of promoting “Greek-Turkish friendship” against even the most rudimentary logic of defending basic national interests in the Aegean, the sea which the recent STRATFOR report on Greece recognized as the “heart” of Hellenism (see here and here ). Barely a month and a half after the “groundbreaking” visit of the Turkish prime minister to Athens, Mr. Papandreou is again made bluntly aware of Turkish strategic intentions and longer term policies. It is most unlikely he will heed the message preferring, rather, to stick to his Turkish counterpart’s promises of brotherly love.

This latest Turkish probe in the Aegean is of great concern to those who are still thinking defense and are concerned about this country’s deteriorating military capabilities. While we know that the Greek Armed Forces are always in a state of alert vis-a-vis our undying “friends” to the east, it is becoming humanly untenable to sustain this perennial “no war” situation in the Aegean without a robust, nation-centered defense and security policy and the economic means to back it up. With Greece caught in the noose of the “bailout” austerity plan, and exposed as the lab mouse to EU experiments lest the euro and European banks feel the bite of a Greek default, the Aegean future appears, to say the least, insecure.

The Papandreou administration should realize that we are truly alone in the face of an expanding, well-defined, and purposeful Turkish onslaught. Turkey leaves no doubt as to how it plans to proceed in the region and the Aegean. In contrast, and thanks to a long tradition of incremental retreat and treacherous foreign policy bungling, we have little with which we can parry the Turkish thrusts, let alone go on to the offense.

We are sure that Mr. Papandreou will be discussing a whole range of international issues with his prominent guests at the international Symi symposium just opening on the island of Poros. We are equally sure he will leave the Aegean and Turkish belligerence quietly aside. You see, neither of these critical questions are amenable to “green development.”

World Bank Launches New Partnership Strategy with Albania

The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank Group’s Board of Directors on July 15 discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Albania, which provides the framework for the World Bank Group’s assistance to Albania for 2011-2014.

According to World Bank , the new Strategy is fully aligned with Albania’s National Strategy for Development and Integration and is grounded on a broad and continuous dialogue with the Government of Albania and consultations with all development partners. The new World Bank -International Finance Corporation (IFC) joint CPS envisages financing up to $275 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and up to $120-150 million from the IFC over the four-year period.

“Albania is a development success story in many respects, having made remarkable strides in economic and social development over the past decade,” said Jane Armitage, World Bank Country Director and Regional Coordinator for Southeast Europe. “However, like many of its neighbors, Albania now faces a more difficult external environment following the global financial crisis. The World Bank Group has had a long and productive partnership with Albania, and we look forward to continuing our support to help Albania to maintain its strong track record of growth, sound economic management and poverty reduction.”
The Attorney of Vlora, Sokol Malaj, leave following allegations made by Vassilios Bollanos

After the announcement of the innocent by the Court of Appeal in Vlora, the Mayor of Municipality of Himara, Vassilios Bollano has twice criminally charged personally to the "fascist" prosecutor Sokol Malaj, but he, has not accepted this procedure, calling it "The prosecutor has immunity.

"All, are equal before the law, the All are equal before him," said some time ago the US ambassador in Tirana, John Withers, following complaints made by the President of Himara Municipality Vassilios Bollano. "The prosecution and the courts must have transparency proper and to accept their mistakes" said Withers.

Two indictments made to the Prosecutor of Vlora Sokol Malaj by Bollanos, immediately after the announcement of the innocent by the Court of Appeal of Vlora, are blocked in the Court of Vlora, as prosecutor decided wants to protect his self.

But according to last information Sokol Malaj has left Vlora, under the order of General Attorney Ina Rama in Tirana.

Under the scenario, it appears that there are fascist decisions prosecution of Vlora to penalize the President of "Omonia" and Mayor Vassilios Bollano Himara, which have failed finaly to charde under "penal responsibility".

It is unclear whether politics was involved in this attack against Bollanos, but the data indicate that Sokol Malaj, Vlora`s prosecutor and top judge Artur Malaj are sponsored by the Albanian Mafia and economic interest groups to prosecute terror against Bollano and the Greek community in Himara Region.

Meanwhile almost all Himara Municipality administration has refused to respond to requests from prosecutors to investigate penal involvement, as they consider this act, an open political blackmail against the ethnic Greek Community in Himare.

Also other charges for attorney Sokol Malaj Vlora, are made by a group of Navy military officers in Vlora City, for which they charge hem on real estate involved in a scandal for several years and does not accept the charges raised by them.

Athens on fYRoM 'name issue'

(ANA-MPA) -- The Greek foreign ministry on Wednesday reiterated that Athens remains committed to solving the nagging "name issue" still preventing a complete normalisation of relations with the neighbouring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

"Towards this direction, however, there also has to be a response by the government of fYRoM," foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said during his regular weekly briefing on Wednesday.

In response to press questions, he said there was nothing to new to report over any future visit to the region by UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz, primarily due to a lack of developments on the part of the Skopje government, as he said.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Greece, in real alarm for the Greek community properties in Albania. Mafia, 100 million euros to buy properties with corruption methods

The Albanian newspaper "Shekulli" today on his special edition refereed SManalysis

SManalysis, Albania, security news

The Albanian Mafia has targeted also the properties of George Tenet and Andrew Natsios

The Ionian coast, particularly Drimades, Himara, Lukovo and Saranda, are under mafia attack from Albanian, Kosovo and Russian mafia, to purchase real estate properties in Northern Epirus.

Exclusive Photos: Former CIA Director George Tenet with his mother Evangelitsa Tenet (Katsalanos) during honored ceremony to take the Price 'athina gora" from greek American Lobby in 2004

The Greek national security services, are monitoring the Albanian institutions as how they are given property titles to the Ionian coast, on the verge of recording the properties of the Greek community, from Vlora to Saranda line.

A secret report on the risk of further properties of the Greek community in Albania, came from Washington, has set in motion the Greek government immediately concerning the future of properties of the Greeks in albania. Very reliable sources say that for SManalysis, the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou, has chaired a national security meeting, and one of the main themes have been the situation in Albania which is preparing to immovable properties of the Greek community in Northern Epirus.

The report contains detailed so state in which Albanian, Kosovo and Russian mafia, sported by the Albanian institutions including offices of propriety registration and the notary offices in the southern districts, especially in Vlore and Saranda.

According to the report, even there are top some Directors of The property general office registration from Northern Epirus origin, the Mafia is supporting by structures of Albanian Secret Service SHIK especially by former chief Bashkim Gazidede.

Meanwhile, a scandalous way of proceeding to purchase the property and land in the southern coast, recently the government has alerted not only Greek but also from the U.S. Pan Epirotean Federation, their leaders are originally from Himara and Saranda.

According to the secret report, the Kosovo and Albanian mafia buy with high prices land outside of the market criteria, but also made under the illegal actions.

Meanwhile the Russian mafia, which is also be present was able to purchase real estate on the coast with the same style of corruption of officials of the office registrations. A report of the Albanian secret service, called as danger the Kosovo and the Russian mafia as a phenomenon of high risk for Albanian democracy.

It is not known yet exactly if the Berisha government is involved in a strategy of alienation of this dangerous process of properties but the Greek community is suffering under the Albanian national strategy, but sources say that the style of buying that property from Kosovo mafia resembles a scenario of Kosovo where Serbs have lost properties provided by the mafia in Kosovo.

But sources say that the bad economic situation of immigrants who are in Greece, has inspired the Kosovo and Albanian mafia sets up fund to purchase property that property in the coastal area to raise about 100 million euros, implicated on this case some exponents of associations of emigrants in Greece. Actually the village of Drimades in Himara Region is moor risked by triple mafia.

Meanwhile, under this scenario which is developing in Albania, over also, the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou spoke closely with the chairman of the Albanian opposition leader Edi Rama in Athens.

A month ago, the Greek Foreign Ministry Droutsas, said that Greece is closely monitoring the problem of property to the Greek community in Albania and for each new cast would not stand indifferent about the last dangerous developments in southern Albania.

The Albanian Mafia has targeted also the properties of George Tenet and Andrew Natsios

Former CIA director George Tenet risks to lose the properties of his parents in Himara region by Albanian and Kosovo mafia, if the phenomena could not stops soon as possible. All himarotes families, are including in an incident with Albanian tribunals decision which has given 850 ha to anonymous person in Porto Palermo Area.

Also the former USAID Administrator Andrew Natisos from Saranda origin scientifically is interested to parents properties in Southern Albania, while other exponents of the American Northern Epiriot lobby continues to take information by the State Department and US embassy in Tirana for the new registration properties process, which need to be realized according to old generations property documentation under powerful transparence of OSCE. Other high greek politicans who have old generation properties in Southern albania, are the former Greek President George Stephanopoullos and current President Karolos Papoulias.

Former US State Secretary Collin Powell sent letter to US Ambassador in Tirana for Himara Region Property

The intensification for property transparency for American citizens from Northern Epirus origin has been realized since US Secretary Collin Powell make historic his visit in Tirana in 2003. In addition the Secretary Powell has quested the US Ambassador in Tirana to be replaced some Albanian laws for the rights properties in Southern Albania, especially the Ionian Coast from Vlora to Saranda.

Albanian government, opposition agree on parliamentary commission


TIRANA, Albania -- After months of wrangling, the government and the opposition have agreed to establish a parliamentary commission to investigate the disputed 2009 general elections.

The ruling Democratic Party's Astrit Patozi and the opposition Socialist Party's (SP) Gramoz Ruci met on Wednesday (July 14th) and agreed that the SP will lead the panel and comprise the majority of members.

The biggest stumbling block however, is agreeing on the object of the exercise. The SP wants a thorough investigation and transparency, while the government wants the electoral code to be respected.

Sources: Shekulli Newspaper

The really property of public self declaration of cham PM Dashamir Tahiri is about 30 million euro

Tahiri initial declaration of property as determined by law. Reference form signed by he himself, Tahiri could be considered one of the most well-heeled members of the Albanian Parliament. In his name were registered about seven million dollars and 10.7 million commercial bank deposits in some country and other liquidity.

On behalf of the two companies in which he shares the resulting 33 million of other deposits. Real estate, Tahiri has a private villa in Vlora about 25 million lek, four thousand square meters of land worth four million, a 600 square meter building with a total value of 42 million lek and 25 apartments which are in the process. Also, resulting in its name and a series of shops with two thousand square meters area, which also are in the process of sale.

Tahiri MP is also owner of two vehicles, worth a total of 168 thousand euros. Activity of a hotel in Vlora from 1992 to 2000 he also received 10 million of other income to the first three months of this year, Tahiri has also benefited 61 million from the activity of his private companies. Part of the statement of wages as Tahiri is member of the Assembly of Albania of 300 thousand lek.

But according to information on personal illegal activity by Europol, Tahiti has been on of the first Albanian organized mafia of human trafficking boats from Vlora to Italy since 1991, known in Vlora Area as "Dashi i Havase". Before starting the parliamentary elections of 2009, former Albanian President Alfred Moisiu has included publicly a black list of the political implicated candidates including Tahiti and some others.

According to "Terrorism Research Center", in Washington, a Commandos of paramilitary group action of UCC in Himara Region in February 2004, killed a woman (Qiritsis) in Llamani beach and during the local elections in Himara Municipality in 2003 is injured Theodoros Lasaris.

Tahiri is powerful financial suporter of chameria activity association
FM on ICJ's Kosovo case: Moment of truth

15 July 2010 | 09:19 | Source: B92

BELGRADE -- Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić reacted to the news out of the The Hague late on Wednesday that the ICJ would rule in the Kosovo case on July 22.

Vuk Jeremić (Tanjug, file)
Vuk Jeremić (Tanjug, file)

As the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announces its advisory opinion on the legality under international law of the unilateral proclamation of independence made by Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, it will be a moment of truth, said Jeremić.

He added that the ruling will also be a warning to all those in Priština who thought they could change the basic norms of international law with their unilateral acts.

The minister noted that the announcement of the ICJ advisory opinion will not be the "last episode" in Serbia's fight for Kosovo, since the court will send its ruling to the UN General Assembly, which originally forwarded the case to UN's top court.

According to Jeremić, Serbia will face an uphill struggle at the General Assembly to win a majority for its cause, "perhaps more difficult than that of previous years".

"We must be aware that we will likely be exposed to fierce and well-paid Albanian propaganda and pressure to give up. We must remain composed and continue on the road we've taken, the one of peaceful and diplomatic fight, armed with international law to preserve our territorial integrity and reach a compromise solution for a future status of Kosovo and Metohija. Such a solution can only be reached via new negotiations," Jeremić said.

Meantime, in Priština, Kosovo Albanian government's foreign minister Skender Hyseni also reacted to the news by saying that after the July 22 ruling, the number of countries that recognize Kosovo would grow.

"We view this process with optimism. I do not see a single possibility that this opinion would go in Serbia's favor, because I do not see any possibility that the ICJ would take a position against the freedom of a people. A position in favor of Serbia would go against the freedom of Kosovo. I say this without any restraint," he was quoted.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians made the unilateral proclamation in February 2008, and it was immediately rejected in Belgrade as an illegal act of secession. Recognized by the United States and 22 out of EU's 27 nations, but not by Russia or China, the territory remains outside the UN.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ICJ to announce Kosovo ruling on July 22

14 July 2010 | 09:16 -> 16:22 | Source: FoNet, Beta, Večernje novosti

THE HAGUE, BELGRADE -- The International Court of Justice will announce its advisory opinion on the legality of the Kosovo Albanian unilateral independence proclamation on July 22.

The public session has been scheduled for next Thursday at 15:00 CET at the Peace Palace in The Hague, when ICJ President Hisashi Owada will read the ruling.

Ahead of today's announcement, Former Serbian legal team leader Tibor Varadi said that the ICJ would give its opinion on Kosovo by July 27 at the latest.

He told Belgrade daily Večernje Novost that "if the opinion states that it goes against international law, this would spur a new debate at the United Nations General Assembly."

It was the General Assembly, at the request of Serbia, that originally forwarded the case to the ICJ.

Varadi told the newspaper that this UN body does not have an obligation to schedule a debate once the court gives its opinion, adding that a UN member-state would have to initiate such a debate.

Varadi said that the question posed to the ICJ was "fairly straightforward", so it would be "hard to imagine that the answer could be any different".

Even though the court is expected to give a clear opinion on the matter, Varadi said that if the decision was not unanimous, the individual judges who did not agree with the ruling would be stating their own opinions on the issue.

However, the ICJ council makes its decision based on the majority of votes from the judges, which makes the decision official, but not obligating or legally binding in any way, though Varadi said that it would have "political weight".

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians made the proclamation in February 2008. Belgrade rejected it as an illegal act of secession.
B92 News Politics Politics
ICJ to announce Kosovo ruling on July 22

14 July 2010 | 09:16 -> 16:22 | Source: FoNet, Beta, Večernje novosti

THE HAGUE, BELGRADE -- The International Court of Justice will announce its advisory opinion on the legality of the Kosovo Albanian unilateral independence proclamation on July 22.

The public session has been scheduled for next Thursday at 15:00 CET at the Peace Palace in The Hague, when ICJ President Hisashi Owada will read the ruling.

Ahead of today's announcement, Former Serbian legal team leader Tibor Varadi said that the ICJ would give its opinion on Kosovo by July 27 at the latest.

He told Belgrade daily Večernje Novost that "if the opinion states that it goes against international law, this would spur a new debate at the United Nations General Assembly."

It was the General Assembly, at the request of Serbia, that originally forwarded the case to the ICJ.

Varadi told the newspaper that this UN body does not have an obligation to schedule a debate once the court gives its opinion, adding that a UN member-state would have to initiate such a debate.

Varadi said that the question posed to the ICJ was "fairly straightforward", so it would be "hard to imagine that the answer could be any different".

Even though the court is expected to give a clear opinion on the matter, Varadi said that if the decision was not unanimous, the individual judges who did not agree with the ruling would be stating their own opinions on the issue.

However, the ICJ council makes its decision based on the majority of votes from the judges, which makes the decision official, but not obligating or legally binding in any way, though Varadi said that it would have "political weight".

Kosovo's ethnic Albanians made the proclamation in February 2008. Belgrade rejected it as an illegal act of secession.

Albania Political Crisis Complicates Visa Liberalisation

By Gjergj Erebara

Bosnia and Herzegovina will be awarded visa liberalisation with the EU by the end of this year, but the situation in Albania is more complicated, MEP Eduard Kukan has said, adding that Kosovo's negotiations for visa liberalisation can begin despite existing issues.

Kukan, a Slovakian member of the European Parliament, is the chair of the Delegation of the European Parliament for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

In a meeting with a group of journalists from the Western Balkans, Kukan stressed that even Kosovo is on its way toward visa liberalisation, while the political crisis in Albania is undermining the achievements made on technical criteria.

“The sensitive issue in the discussion on Bosnia and Herzegovina was whether we have to grant visa liberalisation before the election or after the election,” said Kukan. “The European Commission set certain technical criteria to be fulfilled and once those criteria have been fulfilled, they should have the liberalised visa regime, otherwise the rest is politics and not correct,” he added.

According to Kukan, Bosnia has fulfilled most of the visa roadmap and there are only two or three details to be finalised.....

Albania's opposition, ruling parties back at bargaining table


TIRANA, Albania -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the opposition Socialist Party (SP) have returned to the negotiating table to try to resolve their longstanding political stalemate. Both parties said on Tuesday (July 13th) that negotiations will be based on implementing proposals in a European Parliament (EP) resolution on Albania's EU progress, adopted earlier this month. As for the June 2009 general elections, the DP said the SP should address the Constitutional Court and the Strasbourg-based European Court for Human Rights regarding their request to open the ballot boxes. The SP wants a parliamentary panel to investigate the elections as soon as possible, insisting SP members should have the majority of seats on the committee, as well as its chairmanship. (Shekulli, Top Albania Radio, Club FM, Top News - 13/07/10)

EU experts arrive in Tirana


TIRANA, Albania -- A group of EU experts arrived in Tirana on Tuesday (July 13th) to access the country's progress in meeting criteria required for visa-free travel. The delegation is to check whether local authorities are exerting enough effort in the areas of law enforcement, fighting crime and corruption and confiscating criminal assets. The findings will be considered in the drafting of the final decision on Albania's and Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) readiness to join the visa-free regime, expected by October. Local media reported on Wednesday that European Parliament member and rapporteur on visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans, Tanja Fajon wants the two countries included in the visa-free regime as soon as possible.
Belgian ambassador to Tirana urges end to political stalemate

TIRANA, Albania -- Sofia-based Belgian Ambassador to Albania, Marc Michielsen, whose country assumed the EU's rotating presidency on July 1st, told journalists in Tirana on Monday (July 12th) that politicians should work to overcome the longstanding stalemate before November, when the EU is expected to publish its progress report on Albania.

"We have expressed our concern about the political situation in Albania, as well as the failure to resolve issues left from last year's elections ... I call on politicians to look into these issues in a transparent and constitutional way. The majority and the opposition should work together to get out of this situation,"

Michielsen said during a press conference, where he presented the priorities of Belgium's EU presidency. He reiterated his country would continue to make the EU integration of the Western Balkans a top priority.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Picture: FOCUS News Agency
Vecer, Macedonia: Albanian parties reject ties with radical Islam

FOCUS News Agency

Skopje. Albanian parties in Macedonia rejected the allegations that they are connected to radical Islamist structures, Macedonian Vecer daily reports.

The reaction comes after the Islam religious community said that there are such structures within the political parties.

The parties, on the other hand, said they have never been in touch with radical Islamist groups.

The Democratic Union for Integration, which is part of the ruling majority in Macedonia, said that it tries to follow the religious life from a distance, since party’s philosophy looks at a modern state.
“Our party is trying to keep distance from the religious life, as we believe that Macedonia should be a modern country,” said Djavat Ademi with the Democratic Union for Integration.
Romania will not change its position on Kosovo

CHISINAU -- Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stated during his visit to Moldova that Romania will not change its opinion regarding Kosovo.

Romania would not recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence, despite the fact that the European Parliament (EP) has called on all EU member-states to do so.

Romania is waiting for the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and would stick to its position, Baconschi said.

Romania deeply respects the principles of the EP's recommendations, but at the same time, it has its own position regarding Kosovo, which is just as principled.

The EP adopted a resolution on Thursday calling on all EU member-states to Kosovo’s independence.

The document states that the EU will welcome the recognition of Kosovo's independence by all EU countries, reiterating that so far 22 out of 27 EU member-states have recognized Kosovo and five of them have not—Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

Albania, Hezbollah and the labyrinth of international illegal arms trafficking

By Ioannis Michaletos - The Balkan region has a colorful recent history regarding the existence of Jihadist and terrorist networks that are directly related to the ones in the Middle East. The issue has gathered importance in the beginning of 2010 when the Israeli foreign minister, made explicit remarks on the issue, whilst an interesting aspect has emerged through many information channels that relates to the existence of direct Hezbollah ties in the Balkans and most specifically in Albania. At a meeting with FYROM’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in January, the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Balkan states were the new target of global jihad. “Current reports clearly indicate that the region of the Balkans is the new target of global jihad, which intends to establish infrastructure and recruit activists there,” Lieberman said. “That is seen from the attempts of certain Islamists, in particular Saudi organizations that are transferring their funds to Africa and South America in order to bring them to the regions inhabited by Bosnians and Albanians,” he added.

Lieberman said that the Hezbollah group, which is backed by Iran, had penetrated South America and Al-Qa’idah and was well established in Africa. He called on Gruefski not to allow those militants to strike roots in the Balkans. After this statement there came the first reaction from the Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj, who phoned his counterpart Avigdor Lieberman to protest against his statement. The Bosnian minister told his Israeli counterpart that statements of this kind were baseless and that they harmed his country’s international reputation. He added that Bosnia was engaged in a struggle against terrorism and that its intelligence services had no information or data about terrorists being active in their country. For its part, the Albanian side has not reacted to this statement yet. As the Israeli minister stated, the Hezbollah is channeling money for the establishment of terrorist cells in Albanian-inhabited areas. From what it seems this argument was well-established and in fact it has a long history behind it. The previous years there were quite a few reports in the Albanian media that Ukrainian anti-missile systems were bought by Albania and then illegally re-exported to Hezbollah, via several front companies. Under the guise of the Albanian Army’s modernization and the enhancement of its defense capability, former Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu and some officials of his ministry asked for the procurement of Igla-1 (SA-16-GIMLET) and Igla-2 (SA-18-GROUZE) land-to-air rockets. These were Soviet-patented rockets of the end of the 1980s, which had also been typed out by other countries. Igla, with capabilities similar to those of the US Stinger rockets, is very effective against planes, helicopters, and UAV drones flying up to a 5,000-foot altitude. The history of the procurement of these rockets starts in the 2006 spring and also later after a series of feverish efforts to find potential buyers for these rockets. Among the states formally contacted by Albanian officials there are also such ones that pose a potential terrorist threat such as Iran and North Korea. On 19.04.2006, Mr Rrahmani, marketing manager of the Iranian state firm MODELEX, is requested to procure Iranian SAM rockets of the MISAGH type-2. These rockets, however, are inferior to Igla-18, so they do not carry much favor with the Lebanese Hezbollah. On 08.06.2006, contacts are established with the Ukrainian firm UKRSPETS EXPORT through its representative Mr. Mayevski. This firm transferred the orders to its branch SE SFTF PROGRES. Between the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007, this firm sold the Albanian state 150 Igla-1 rockets together with their launchers. The transaction was done on the condition that, in the event these rockets were to be re-exported from Albania, the Ukrainian State Enterprise for the Armaments Export would have to be informed. Soon after the procurement, the SA-16 and SA-18 rockets were hastily decommissioned from the armament of the Albanian Army. The practice carries the signatures of Prime Minister Berisha, former Minister Mediu, and Lieutenant General Hoxha. After this practice was concluded, the rockets were ready for export by the MEICO [Import-Export Company of the Defense Ministry]. The export of rockets was shrouded in mystery. They were sold to an off-shore Lebanese firm called IFC (International Contract & Enterprise) with address: Tabaris Building, Charles Malek Avenue, Beirut, tel. 0096113381888, with Mr Mawan K. Haddad as its representative. According to information made public previously by the Israeli intelligence agency, the Lebanese firm serves as front for MOUNTAMAT AL-JIHAD AL-ISLAM, which is a Hezbollah branch. According to the Israelis, this firm has been helping Hezbollah traffickers to smuggle weapons from the former Socialist countries, including Albania. Miami New Times paper notes on the issue, “Gjerg Thanasi, who broke the news for Gazeta Tema (Albanian newspaper), sent New Times copies of letters and contracts to substantiate the missile deal. Two letters — written in pidgin English — from March 2006 are addressed to the Iranian and North Korean governments. In them, Pinari, on behalf of Albania’s government, asks to buy $4 million worth of SA-16 and SA-18 shoulder-fired missiles with a 3,500-meter range”. (In the letter to Iran, he also asks for a cheap way to transport “1000 kg” Iranian explosives that seem to have already been ordered.)
Continuing, “In the documents provided by Gazeta Tema, another contract between Pinari and Marwan K. Haddad — representative of a Beirut company, International Contracting and Enterprise — suggests the Albanians shipped military product to Lebanon”.
According to Albanian journalists, in many cases, consignments from Albania went to Bosnia-Herzegovina, but countries of the Middle East and Asia were their final destination. The name of Bosnian citizen Damir Fazlic appears in all these reports, just as his links to the main players in these transactions.
Moreover, Gazette Tema newspaper in Tirana, recorded in late 2009, that about eight months before the Gerdec blast, the Albanian Defense Ministry had stepped up the flow of consignments that now turn out to have gone out of control and to have fallen into “insecure hands.” The Israeli state intelligence services have every reason to be alarmed, and reliable sources close to these services say that the Israelis have undertaken a monitoring and observing operation [Operation HAYEDID] on consignments originating from Gerdec and transited through Rinas [Tirana] Airport.
The HAYEDID codename is not accidental. In Hebrew this word means a very close friend (almost a family member) of the Israelis, but one who is not of Hebrew origin or nationality. The Gazeta Tema noted that, for some months in succession, Israeli intelligence services knew that consignments of ammunition from Gerdec were going to groups or circles that are basically the main enemies of Israel and an imminent danger to them.
Continuing, reports from Albania, documented during the summer of 2009, commented that 6,000 Katyusha missiles (107mm) were sold from the Albanian defense ministry to Iraq and Chad, nevertheless, quantities of those were found in the hands of terrorists groups in the Anbar and Nasiriyah regions in Iraq. The weaponry was exported from Albania through the company “BT” owned by the Swiss citizen Heinrich Thomet.
Early March 2008 saw the outskirts of the capital of Albania, in the Gerdec area, rocked by a series of explosions caused by the detonation of hundreds of tons of explosives that were supposed to be destroyed by a secure mode. The results were 26 people killed, approximately 300 were badly injured and perhaps as much as 5,000 were force to temporarily relocate, whilst the Tirana suburb on an alert zone for some period of time, due to the existence of more underground bunkers filled with ammunition.
It is estimated that over 100,000 tons of explosive material has to be decommissioned in Albania over the coming years and they still consist one of the major perils for the livehood of many districts. They are placed underground and scattered across the land.
Data that came to light seemed to confirm the existence of a well-formed network that exported illegally explosives and arms from Albania to various theaters across the globe and especially Afghanistan.
The interestic aspect is that this network can be estimated that operated in parallel or at least was aware of the existence of the one responsible for the Hezbollah trafficking, although no enquiry of an official nature has tried to establish those links so far.
An American company named SACI (South Carolina-based, Southern Ammunition Co. Inc), was the responsible authority for the decommissioned of the armaments, which in turn subcontracted the project to the local corporation Alba Demil.
According to various reports by the Albanian media the whole plan was to start decommissioning 10% of the whole Albanian ammunition reserve for a cost of 16 million Euros. NATO financed the project in order to ease the transformation of Albania from the archaic Warsaw Pact inventory and in light of its proposed NATO entrance in early April 2008 in the Heads of State Summit in Bucharest.
The specific work was done right aside the Tirana international airport and close to a residential area. Even though there was a prohibition against constructing houses in that region during the Communist era; the ‘90’s proved to be a season of chaotic changes in the Albanian community and quite a few of its citizens opted buying land and building their estates close to the ammunition depots.
The Albanian press has already confirmed that SACI ended its contract at early 2008, but work was progressed often abetted by unskilled workers and regardless of basic safety rules for such a dangerous effort. Balkan Insight reported that “A video shot before the explosion and broadcast on Top-Channel on Tuesday, showed children working at the depot.”
The company Alba Demil was owned 75% by the businessman Deligiorgis and 25% by a SACI subsidiary. It opened an offshore company in Cyprus called Evdin which facilitated the sale of 2 tons of ammunition from Albania to Afghanistan.
The offshore company was formed in July 2006, after a law passed by the Albanian government that allowed the arms trade by private firms and in parallel with the agreement with SACI of the decommission process. The telephone correspondence with the company directed to a person in Zenica in Bosnia, a stronghold of Wahhabism in the region. Its post correspondence lead to a street in Larnaca-Cyprus where the alleged firm is based, although a night-club stands instead of any premises resembling an office.
A further detail that adds to the whole story is the existence of the Swiss national Heinrich Thomet who is detailed as a representative for Evdin in Albania. He is also a well-known arms dealer and has often been accused by the international authorities for murky dealings in African states and the Middle East. According to local Albanian sources he was the one that made an arms deal between the state ammunition company MEICO and the Miami based AEY Corporation.
The latter secured Pentagon deals worth around 300 million USD, by reselling Eastern European arms to Afghanistan Iraq in 2006, but it was later revealed that it had falsely stated that its products originated from Hungary and not China as it was actually. That is illegal under U.S Law and FBI investigated the company.
It was revealed that the company’s legal representatives (in their 20’s), had no experience in this kind of projects and the company maintained communication with Albanian citizens and discussed the corruption in the country and explored chances of participating in future arms deals.
In Mid 2008, Kosta Trebicka the owner of the Xhoi Company in Albania that its name was implicated in the aforementioned is found dead in a small town in Eastern Albania. According to quite a few commentators the causes were not natural, although a definite assumption has yet to be discovered.
According to Reuters at that time, “Trebicka was involved in repackaging ageing Chinese ammunition that was being sold from Albania to AEY Inc, a U.S. firm contracted by the Pentagon to supply the Afghan army. He turned whistleblower after the Albanian defense ministry removed him from the contract and appointed another company in his place….Trebicka was to be the key witness in Albania’s investigation into the affair”.
The same assumptions were confirmed by the Albanian “News 24 TV”, at that period, and it was also added that Trebicka had a lot of incriminating evidence against the former defense minister Mediu regarding the illegal arms trade and including the one that relates to the Middle East, whilst he was providing these evidence to the CIA in order to uncover the magnitude of the case. Ephraim Diveroli the American, 25 year old arms dealer and president of AEY Inc, who was in regular contact with Trebicka according to their telephone exchanges for some period of time, in late August,2009 he pled guilty on one count of conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison.
Asian Times in a well-documented reportage revealed that “On December 12, 2006, the State Department made the following entry to the watch list regarding both Diveroli and AEY….The watch list also had entries for Heinrich Thomet, the president of Evdin, Ltd, a company based in Cyprus that acted as AEY’s middleman; and Ylli Pinari, the head of the state-run Military Export Import Company (MEICO), which supplied the ammunition from Albania. The reasons both Thomet and Pinari were placed on the list are classified”.
Although the whole issue of illegal arms trade and the existence of a direct link between Hezbollah’s importation of weaponry from Albania, is far from being thoroughly checked, it is highly likely, judging from all the available information, that there is a serious issue in the Balkan region and in Albania in particular that under proper examination may reveal similar cases and a wider nexus between armed groups and terrorists in the Middle East with corrupted officials and arms traffickers in the Balkans. In any case, much has been already revealed that has caused anxiety to several countries, such as Israel, that point out towards a new look under which the arms contraband can be combated and along with it the ability of terrorists to arm themselves, through the use of loopholes in the system and the assistance of weak links in several countries.

Main Sources:
-Gazeta Tema newspaper (1st December 2009, 9th Jan. 2010)

-Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Monthly Bulletin on Albania, December 2009-