Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wall Street Journal

The best solution for Balkans

May 22, 2001 By Nicholas Gage

As battles mount in Macedonia between Albanian insurgents and government forces, the likelihood grows that the Balkans will remain engulfed in conflict for years to come. If the violence continues its southern trajectory, it may well envelop Greece and Turkey, NATO allies but traditional enemies, and turn the whole region into the kind of enduring battleground it became during the first quarter of the last century.

With the Serbs crushed and Slobodan Milosevic under arrest, the most powerful threat to stability in the region is Albanian nationalism. Like Serbs, Albanians see themselves as a fragmented nation. The borders of the Albanian state fixed in 1913 left almost half of them outside it. Other Europeans have long accepted having large minorities in neighboring countries, but nationalism is still an intense force among Albanians, and many still dream of uniting all their people into one nation. While Albania itself is too weak militarily to promote a regional drive for a greater Albania, there are enough arms and fervent nationalists in the Albanian enclaves of the former Yugoslavia to fuel a conflict in the area that could be even more devastating than any we have seen so far.

Two years after 37,000 NATO troops moved into the largest of these enclaves, Kosovo, they have not been able to fulfill their mission of restoring peace to the region. The campaign by Kosovar Albanians in Kosovo has so far forced more than 100,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians to flee the province.Encouraged by their success in Kosovo, Albanian nationalists, flush with funds raised from supporters abroad and from drug trafficking and prostitution at home, have moved on to their next target -- Macedonia.

In response to the mounting violence, the United States has strengthened its contingent of troops sent to Macedonia several years ago and has increased its military involvement with Albania. But, as Michael Roskin, formerly of the U.S. Army War College, has written, "What precisely will U.S. peacekeeping forces do in Macedonia? If the Albanian areas of Macedonia attempt to secede, will we have to stop them in order to preserve Macedonia's territorial integrity? If fighting erupts between Albania and Macedonia could there be U.S. troops on both sides? Do we, in fact, have a policy?"

Other than urging moderation, we do not have a clearly thought-out policy for ending the mounting conflict in Macedonia any more than we do in Kosovo. As long as Albanian nationalism is not contained with a strategy that will end ethnic strife in the southern Balkans as a whole, it is certain that the conflict we are now seeing in Macedonia will spread southward and reach the borders of Greece.Lest anyone think this is a phantom fear, let me point out that when former Greek foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos met with Kosovo Liberation Army leaders in Tirana two years ago, they made it clear to him that they had claims on Greece as well as Macedonia. He told reporters later that he was "amazed with what great politeness and calm they told me" about their demands.Are the southern Balkans then doomed to become the bloody battleground in the new century that they were at the start of the last one? If the West continues to pursue a piecemeal approach to dealing with conflict in the region, the answer is yes. But if it learns from its mistakes and develops a comprehensive strategy for dealing with ethnic tensions in the region, further bloodshed can be avoided. How? The United States must call an international conference on the southern Balkans to deal with the main cause of conflict in the region: the treatment of minorities.

The key to the success of such a conference is to base it on the principle that the same rights have to be shared by all minorities in the region -- Christian minorities in Albania as well as Albanian minorities in the former Yugoslavia. If that is done, Albanians will be forced to scale back demands for their enclaves in the former Yugoslavia, because they will have to give the same rights and the same political status to Christian minorities in Albania itself. A successful conference on the southern Balkans, based on shared rights and on the inviolability of borders, is the best way to end the conflict in Macedonia and the threat of a wider war in the region. It will also give all the countries concerned the chance to focus on what their people need most -- economic development. Everyone involved will be a winner.

Two years ago, in an article I wrote for this newspaper [op-ed, April 26, 1999], I proposed a similar conference as a way of ending the conflict then raging in Kosovo and preventing it from spreading southward, as it now has into Macedonia. After the article appeared, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called me and asked me to come to Washington to discuss the idea further with her and her staff. I flew down and met with her for more than an hour after first meeting with her top aides for an hour and a half. At the conclusion of the meeting she told me that she agreed that a conference would have to be held eventually on the southern Balkans to resolve minority issues in the region in a comprehensive way and to put an end to the conflict they instigate.

But she said it would be necessary to "deal with Milosevic first." By the time Milosevic was forced from power; however, she too was on her way out, and nothing has been done to pursue the idea of a comprehensive solution to the Balkan crisis.The time to act on such an approach is long overdue, and the new administration should recognize that it offers the best way to finding a way out of the Balkan quagmire.

Almost 10 years later, nothing has changed. Washington, on behalf of human rights, believes that only Albanians are privileged to have the luxury of other nations, including among minorities in the Balkans. Analysis of writer Nick Gage 10 years later, the Balkans remains the same parameters, only the roles being exchanged, from Washington to Paris and Berlin.

Deutsche Velle, Analysis

Great powers playing politics with Kosovo and Georgia

A UN court ruled Kosovo's claim of independence as legal, intensifying a global debate about sovereignty and self-determination. But the conflict in Georgia reveals great powers - not courts - decide the fate of nations.

The international controversy over the fate of de-facto states has intensified this summer. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which settles disputes between nations, ruled in July that Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia is legal. On Thursday the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling on Serbia to enter into direct talks with Kosovo.

The impact of the ICJ's decision regarding Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence has become a matter of perception rather than objective truth. The West as well as Georgia consider Kosovo to be an unusual case. Slobodan Milosevic's regime committed ethnic cleansing against the Kosovar Albanians, thereby sacrificing any legitimate claim Serbia may have had to governing Kosovo. But Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia see Kosovo as a precedent.

"The territorially damaged states [Georgia] see Kosovo as an exception," Uwe Halbach, an expert on the Caucasus with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told Deutsche Welle. "On the side of the de-facto states [Abkhazia, South Ossetia] it is always highlighted that the decision on the declaration of independence emphasizes the right to self-determination above territorial sovereignty."

Principles call for consistency. Yet the respective positions of Russia and the US appear to be based more on their own political agendas than a belief in self-determination or state sovereignty rooted in international law. The US can support independence in Kosovo while opposing it in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Meanwhile, Russia can support independence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while opposing it in Kosovo.

"International law itself is indifferent," Halbach said. "International law doesn't support secession, but it's also not against it. In the end politics is decisive."

The politics of great powers

During the Kosovo conflict, Russia viewed itself as the historic guardian of Serbian interests against an expansionist West. However, once NATO mobilized militarily against Belgrade, there was very little Russia could do to stop a Western-backed secession of Kosovo from Serbia. Moscow felt sidelined and not taken seriously as a great power.

So after Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, Russia adopted the case as a precedent. And it applied this precedent in Georgia under the pretence of maintaining stability in the South Caucasus, as the West had done in Kosovo nearly 10 years prior..

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev: Relations between great powers still decide the fate of nations",,5956279,00.html

Man throws shoe at Greek PM

Athens, Sep 11 (DPA) A man threw a shoe at Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Saturday in protest against the socialist government's austerity measures.

The shoe missed its intended target and the man was arrested along with two accomplices, radio reports said.

The incident took place in the northern city of Thessaloniki where the prime minister was attending the opening of an international exhibition.

The 49-year-old assailant told reporters he was a radiologist and member of an ultra conservative organisation. He said he threw the shoe in protest at government fiscal and labour reforms.

The austerity measures were introduced in a bid to get the budget deficit down from around 14 percent of gross domestic product to under the EU-mandated limit of three percent by 2014.

Greece was saved from default in May by fellow euro area members, which agreed to lend it 80 billion euros over three years in return. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) added 30 billion euros.

Unions and other organisation have a called a demonstration in Thessaloniki Saturday evening to protest the government's policies.

City of Athens donations to Greek-language schools in southern Albania

(ANA-MPA) -- The city of Athens will donate more than 15,000 items of clothing and footwear as well as 200 bicycles to students at Greek-language schools in southern Albania, it was announced on Friday.

Central Kotzia Square marked the starting point of the initiative, where Athens Mayor Nikitas on Friday delivered the items to members of the association Youth of Northern Epirus .

Next week, municipality trucks, accompanied by members of the youth association, will transport the items, to then be distributed to some 1,200 pupils.

Some Association of South Albania, in order to support Dukati villagers for the property right. After Kakomea, Drimades is target by Albanian Mafia.
According to natives, the next time, residents of Kakomea, will protest with the Greek flag.

According to the newspaper "Shekulli"", in Kakomea, Lukovo region, where he built a resort village, is hit for the third time with explosives. Guards of a private company, could not stop attacks that have the protagonists of indigenous people of North epiriotes in Lukovo Municipality.

"Shekulli" newspaper underlines the fact that the guards have had no resistance. But according to the newspaper, has warned that next time, the village will protest politically with Greek flag, which can lead to a deterioration of the image of Albania, as robbers property of residents in Northern Epirus.

Meanwhile, the situation appears serious, especially in Drimades, the second largest country after Himara with Greek inhabitants, in which the Mafia helped by the state, "wants to buy everything".

An invitation has been addressed by the "The Association Ionian Coast", to coordinate all the associations ONG in Southern Albania, to support the property right of ownership of Dukati village, for the entire peninsula Karaburun.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Albanian Opposite, prepares to target Berisha

Gramoz Ruci: A large political action protests of the opposition, against Berisha

During a television show in the "Ora News", the general secretary of the Socialist Party, Gramoz Ruci, stated that "the next action of protest, will be the removal of Prime Minister Berisha, who has privatized all over Albania".

Albanian opposition, under the direction of the Socialist Party, is preparing to lead protests throughout of the country.

Yesterday, SP leader Edi Rama, called on all the heads of the Socialist party throughout the country to prepare for the protests for scrapping Berisha.

The Greek diplomacy, priority the Balkans

Extraordinary meeting: Convening the National Council on Foreign Policy

Convened on Tuesday evening under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Dimitri Droutsas, the National Council on Foreign Policy. In a statement representative of the Foreign Ministry Gregory Delavekouras said that the meeting will consider developments in the Balkans, the Middle East, relations with Turkey and Cyprus.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Droutsas will be received by the President of the Republic, to advise him on foreign policy.

The Foreign Minister will also participate in the cabinet will convene on Friday in Thessaloniki, and then will depart for Brussels, the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, designed to prepare the European Council of 16 September, which will employ essentially the EU's relations with strategic partners in Asia and its relations with Turkey.

According to the representative of the ministry, Saturday and Sunday, the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be in Thessaloniki for the proceedings of the TIF, and Monday D. Droutsas will go back to Brussels for the General Affairs Council, which will involved and the Deputy Minister Marilisa Xenogianakopoulou.

Albania continues to adopt anti democratic laws against the property right

The opposition has left the Commission, against pr / law for foreign investments

The Greek population in Region of Himara, Lukovo and Saranda, risks to loss properties of this bill

TIRANA-Draft for foreign investment is 'slamming' opposition of MPs, with those of the majority in the Laws Committee, who after his appeal, have left the meeting.

The Majority has insisted on the positive side that brings the bill, when value investing is about 10 million euros, and invest in energy, tourism and agriculture. Even if investors have ownership problems, the state guarantee appears giving another property.

Damian Gjiknuri an Opposition MP, who asked that before they call the adoption of the draft to stakeholders, while stressing that there is such a thing would seriously undermine the owners, as it happens, to establish a park at Yale in Himara Region, and because the law required for the robbed lands of the Greek population.

According to him, the law is a scandal of unconstitutional, while leaving open the possibility for corruption, because expropriation of private interests.

According to latest information, the Greek ambassador in Tirana, Nickolas Patzios is interested to contact member of SP for latest developments about this project law.

The Ionian Coast from Vlora to Saranda, is still no to registration land process, promised by OSCE.

Dnevnik: Albanians make 30% of population in Macedonia, statistics

10 September 2010 | 16:21 | FOCUS News Agency

If the upcoming census in Macedonia is made properly, it will turn out that 30% of the population in the country is Albanian, announced the Democratic Union for Integration, Macedonian Dnevnik daily writes.

The newspaper remarks that the party, which is member of the ruling coalition in Macedonia, has made its evaluation seven months before the official start of the process. At the previous census, the Albanian population ran to 25%.

OSCE Criticises Albanian Political Dispute

Tirana | 10 September 2010 |
Robert Bosch, head of the OSCE in Albania
Robert Bosch, head of the OSCE in Albania

Tirana’s political elite has been criticised by the OSCE for its failure to resolve the dispute over the results of the June 2009 parliamentary elections.

A report by the head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, presence in Albania, Robert Bosch, underlined that the Socialist opposition boycott of parliament for the better part of last year hindered Albania’s reforms necessary for the EU integration process.

“Although a legislative agenda was maintained over the last year, especially in the crucial areas pertaining to the visa liberalisation process, the fight against organised crime and corruption, economic reform and judicial police, the lack of political dialogue hampered the ability of the legislature to pass some pieces of legislation needed to further the integration agenda,” the report read.

Led by Tirana mayor Edi Rama, the Socialists have contested the results of the elections, narrowly won by the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, as being marred by fraud.

They have held a series of protest and a near six-month long parliamentary boycott in order to force the government to agree to a recount of election ballots.

However, Berisha and his right-wing party have rejected the calls, arguing the opposition had exhausted all legal appeals and the government was respecting the powers of the judicial system by not overstepping its authority on the issue.

With upcoming local elections set for May 11, 2008, the OSCE urged both the government and the Socialist opposition to start working on changes to the electoral code, based on the recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR.

“The ODIHR recommendations and other suggestions for further improvement of the system should be implemented soon,” noted the report, which was filed with the OSCE permanent council on Thursday.

It concluded: “After 20 long years of transition, the Albanian publics expect their political leaders to put the issue of contested elections in their country to a close," it read.

PM George Papandreou to visit NY, Washington

Prime minister George Papandreou will be in the US from September 18 to 23 to address the Summit on the Millennium Developmental Goals and attend the formal opening of the 65th UN General Assembly in New York, and a series of contacts in Washington on September 21.

While in New York, Papandreou will have a number of meetings with head of state and government, including Turkish president Abdullah Gul and Cyprus president Demetris Christofias, as well as with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Papandreou's itinerary begins on Sunday, September 19, with a meeting with American Jewish organisations, while the following day, Monday, September 20, he will address the first day of the Millennium summit and take part in a round-table discussion.

Later in the day, Papandreou will attend a lunch at the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) with stockmarket and Wall Street officials, where he will present the Greek government's developmental and investments program.

On the afternoon of September 20 Papandreou, who is also president of the Socialist International (SI), will chair a meeting of the SI presidium.

On Tuesday, September 21, Papandreou will fly to Washington for a series of talks, including with US vice-president Joe Biden and members of Congress.

Back in New York, on Wednesday, September 22, Papandreou will meet with foreign leaders, and will also attend a reception at Greece's Consulate General, where he will meet with leaders of the Greek American community, academicians and representatives of the arts and letters. Later in the evening, he will attend a reception hosted by former US president Bill Clinton.

On Thursday, September 23, Papandreou will attend the formal opening of the 65th UN General Assembly, which will be addressed by US president Barack Obama, while that same night he will attend a reception hosted by Obama in honor of the heads of state and government attending the General Assembly opening, before leaving New York.

Foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas will address the General Assembly this year on behalf of Greece on Tuesday, September 28.

While in New York, Droutsas will also attend the traditional lunch hosted by the Secretary General on the occasion of the new General Assembly session, while he will also accompany Papandreou in the latter's meetings with foreign dignitaries, attend scheduled NATO-US, EU-US and EU-Russian high-ranking meetings.

Ioannis Korantis of LAOS, seeking explanations from the Papandreou government, in relation to weapons seized in Kastoria

On the letter, made publicly, to the government led by George Papandreou, the Former Secret Services Director of Greece and currently Member of the Greek Parliament with the right party of LAOS, Ioannis Korantis, has requested to inform that the weapons seized by greek police in the border with Albania in Kastoria, belong of the Chamuria Liberation Army, UCC.

The Letter sent to date September 6, is waiting to inform, the National Security Committee Members of the Greek Parliament in which it will be announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou himself regarding his request.

more see:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Sandžak autonomy inevitable"

9 September 2010 | 15:23 | Source: Beta
PODGORICA -- Chief Mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia Muamer Zukorlić said that Sandžak’s autonomy will be “an inevitable social process”.

Muamer Zukorlić (Beta archive)
Muamer Zukorlić (Beta archive)

For the sake of Serbia and Montenegro’s stability “a dialogue about it should be held in time”, Zukorlić told Podgorica-based daily Vijesti.

He explained Sandžak’s autonomy requests by stressing the need of the Bosniaks in this region to have “additional defense mechanisms” that would “recompose the status of the Bosniaks in the Balkans” with participation of the states they lived in, the EU and the international community.

The chief mufti thinks that “there must be a historical dialogue” whose “key axis would be Bosniaks and Serbs”.

He pointed out that Montenegrins “are easier to talk to” because there are “less factors that are burdening relations”.

Zukorlić stated that “the most appropriate model for Sandžak is the autonomy of South Tyrol because there is a trans-border, i.e. dual autonomy, while neither Italy nor Austria’s identity are threatened.”

“Sandžak is divided between two states and the concept of a trans-border autonomy is something that should be a platform for negotiations. Surely all peculiarities, Sandžak, Serbian and Montenegrin, should be taken into account,“ the mufti explained.

He has also stated that “none of the people who represent the need to give Sandžak a special status represent radical measures or violence“ but he also warned that “anything can be happen if some has the idea to silence those who speak about autonomy with a boot and a nightstick”.

Greek diplomatic "bridge" between Serbia and Kosovo

Kosovo, latest developments

The Press in Belgrade want the head of Greek diplomacy to mediate in Pristina, with his Italian counterpart, the "secret diplomacy" between the two sides to find a definitive solution in the region.

The "Danas" Newspaper in Belgrade invokes anonymous diplomatic sources, noting that ongoing informal dialogue with Serbia and Kosovo brokered by the EU and with Greek participation.

According to the same source advisers of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of Kosovo, they have contacts with the Serbian leadership.

The same diplomatic circles were mentioned as possible mediators in informal negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina the Italian Ambassador, Michele Tzifoni and head of the Greek Represent of Office in Kosovo, Ambassador Dimitris Moskopolous.

The rumors were fueled by the mobility in the European Union to persuade Serbia to amend the draft resolution by the UN General Assembly and to order the secession of Kosovo. The same publication describes the possible "solutions" presented to the press for a definitive resolution of the issue by "trial powers" to record the reactions in public. The most recent proposal saw the light of publicity came from the organization "International Crisis Group» (ICG):

-Recognition of Kosovo's independence from Serbia
-Autonomy of Serb areas in central Kosovo and
-Reunification with Serbia, the northern part of Kosovo

The paper attributes the paternity of the office of Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.

Regional conflicts in the Western Balkans and in the Caucasus - similarities and differences

September 09, 2010
A Special Report of the World Security Network
Albanian Corespondent SManalysis

"Would independence of Kosovo result in formulation of a political pattern applicable to other disputed regions ?"What binds the Western Balkans to the Caucasus is, among other issues, certainly an extremely challenging legacy of the past. Dissolution of two respective multinational states-- the Soviet Union and Socialist Yugoslavia in the beginning of 1990s-- introduced ethno-nationalist conflicts on large scale. While the Yugoslav crisis ended in 1999 after the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was bombed by NATO during its Kosovo campaign, the Caucasus still remains a conflict-ridden region where Russian and Western influences keep colliding.

In that respect, the point of this article is to present an analytical comparison of the three respective regional conflicts-- Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia-- by enumerating and analyzing similarities and differences between them as this proves to be one of current and more intriguing issues of the contemporary international political scene. In that respect, the article is aimed at providing answers to two different issues: Did Kosovo's independence influence establishment of a specific political pattern applicable to other disputed regions, and, on the other hand, to what degree are cases in question comparable to each other?

Kosovo's declaration of independence. When Kosovo declared independence in early 2008, voices in international community speaking about this event as having major impact upon modern international relations grew stronger. While ones spoke about devastating effect Kosovo's newly acquired status would bring to the existing international order, others rebuffed such arguments as unfounded and voiced Kosovo's independent status as the only viable solution. For that matter, one question became central to the ongoing dispute:

World Security Network

Albanian fugitive wanted in gang violence, armed robberies arrested

(ANA-MPA) -- A 22-year-old Albanian national arrested on Monday in a Piraeus-area district is believed to be a member of an Albanian gang involved in a bloody turf war in the Greek capital two years ago as well as a perpetrator of numerous armed robberies of jewelry stores and break-ins of upscale residences in the greater Athens area.

The man is suspected of participating in the robbery of nine jewelry stores, where merchandise worth 500,000 euros was taken, as well as in the burglary of six residences.

Nine murders and at least 13 attempted homicides were attributed to the 2008 violence, which pitted mostly gangs of young Albanians nationals vying for slices for the drug trade in parts of central and west Athens.

The suspect was arrested along with a Romanian woman, 22, in the Piraeus working-class district of Drapetsona after a brief car chase. He had reportedly ignored a police patrol's indication to stop for a routine traffic stop.

Authorities found an assault rifle, a pistol, bullets, a bulletproof vest as well as 11,490 euros and US$4,300 in the vehicle, while a subsequent search of the couple's home revealed another assault rifle, three handguns, a large number of rounds, another bulletproof vest, suspected loot from previous robberies, cannabis and two precision scales.

Analyst: Historical agreement with EU

9 September 2010 | 09:54 | Source: Politika
BELGRADE -- Political analyst Ivan Vejvoda told daily Politika that in being able to write a joint Kosovo resolution with the EU, Serbia has gained an important ally.

Ivan Vejvoda (FoNet)
Ivan Vejvoda (FoNet)

He said that Serbia has gained an important ally in a time when it would be getting ready to hold talks with the Kosovo Albanian leadership.

“This is maybe a historical decision. A very realistic and wise one,” he said.

Vejvoda said that he does not believe that this means that Serbia has recognized Kosovo.

“No one is asking Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence. This was a decision made in the best national interest of the state and enables it to turn to the future and to place itself in Europe and the world as a country that constructively approaches a realistically difficult situation,” he said.

He said that the worst thing that Serbia could do in a time of global economic crisis, when unemployment is rising and there are no new investments, is to enter a confrontation with the European Union.

“It must be said that there are links between the all-encompassing situation in which the state is in and this decision, which was a hard one, but it has opened up the possibility for this situation to improve,” he told daily Politika.

Albania World Heritage Site in 'Damage' Row

Butrint Roman Theater
Butrint greek Theater

Heritage experts have visited an ancient city in Albania amid claims the construction of a new road has damaged the historical site.

The two top experts from UNESCO and the International Council of Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS, are to compile a report on their findings after visiting Butrint to determine whether the archeological park had suffered any damage.

The mission, headed by Simica Simsic for UNESCO and Giora Solar from ICOMOS, came after local and international experts accused the government of taking poor care of the UNESCO world heritage site, in breach of its obligation under the 1975 World Heritage Convention.

Solar an Israeli perseveration architect, did not disclose any details of the report to UNESCO.

But he told Balkan Insight on Wednesday: “I was personally impressed by the sincerity and goodwill of all involved.”

Butrint is considered one the most significant Classical archaeological sites in the Mediterranean.

Dating back at least as far as the 10th century BC, it has been a Greek presence, and Byzantine bishopric before being deserted in the late Middle Ages, after which its magnificent buildings sank into the marshes.

Serious excavation of the site began in the late 1920s, under Italian auspices.

Still largely unknown to the outside world before the fall of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha, the site now receives tens of thousands of visitors every year.

It is managed by the Albanian authorities with the assistance of the London-based Butrint Foundation – which until recently has been hailed by observers as an example of fruitful collaboration between local and foreign expertise and money.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kosovo Albanian killed in northern Mitrovica

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Kosovo Albanian Hakif Mehmeti was shot dead in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica late on Tuesday.

Regional spokesman of the Kosovo Police Service Besim Hoti told the Tanjug news agency that Mehmeti was shot near his house in the Mikronaselje district and that he had died in the hospital in northern Mitrovica from the sustained injuries.

Mikronaselje is one of the town districts in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica where Serbs live together with ethnic Albanians.

Hoti said that the killer or motive are not known yet.

Mehmeti used to work in radio and local media in Kosovo, according to sources.

Fresh Names Added to Albania "Terror Watch" List

Tirana | 08 September 2010 |
Camp X-Ray Guantanamo
Camp X-Ray Guantanamo

Scores of people and companies associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been added to a list of suspected financiers of terrorism, the Albanian government has said.

Officials in Tirana said Albania had updated its "terror watch" list with new additions supplied by the UN, including a key associate of the Taliban and 62 associates and nine entities and companies associated with Al-Qaeda.

Sanctions are to be applied to people and associations connected to Sirajuddin Haqqani, an Afghan warlord associated with the Taliban who, along with his father Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, are alleged to head the Haqqni network.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, based on documents recently leaked into the public domain by website Wikileaks, is on the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan "kill-or-capture" list.

New additions also include the groups Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The Albanian government has been supportive of the US-led, so-called "war on terror", through the arrest and deportation of foreign terrorism suspects in its territory.

It has also frozen the assets of organisations suspected of being linked to Al-Qaeda, such as the El-Haramain Foundation.

Based on UN Security Council resolution 1267, all member states are obliged to prevent individuals and organisations associated with the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda from entering or passing through their countries, as well as freeze their assets and prevent arms sales to them.

Albania sent 44 combat troops to take part in operations in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan on 29 July.

It now has 245 troops stationed in Afghanistan, engaged in securing military bases for other troops, mainly in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

Since 2006, Albania has also accepted 11 former prisoners of the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, all deemed innocent, who could not be repatriated to their home countries for fear of persecution.

alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk_20100202224447_JPG

Alexi Giannoulias (left) and Mark Kirk are facing off for the Senate seat that President Obama used to hold. (FOX Chicago)

Kirk and Giannoulias Neck and Neck: Poll

FOX Chicago News

Chicago - A newly released poll is reaffirming just how tight the state's U.S. Senate race is.

The poll from Rasmussen Reports shows that Democrat (Greek - American) Alexi Giannoulias may be inching ahead of Republican Mark Kirk.

Of likely voters surveyed, 42 percent favored Giannoulias and 40 percent favored Kirk.

However, that's still within the poll's 4 percent margin of error, so the race is still a toss-up.

The 750 likely voters in Illinois were polled on Monday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Date Set for Albania Local Elections

Albanians vote in the June 2009 parliamentary elections
Albanians vote in the June 2009 parliamentary elections

President Bamir Topi has decreed Albania's local elections will be held on 8 May next year.

The date was announced as Albania’s main political parties, the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the Socialists, headed by Tirana mayor Edi Rama, remain locked in a standoff over the results of parliamentary elections held in June 2009.

The Socialist opposition is seeking a recount, saying the results were marred by fraud.

Socialist MPs have boycotted the parliament for most of the past year and even held a 21-day hunger strike in front of Berisha’s office to demand a recount.

Berisha’s Democrats maintain the elections are the best the country has ever held and a recount is impossible as the opposition has exhausted all legal appeals.

Despite mediations attempts launched by Topi, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, the two Albanian leaders have so far failed to agree on the powers of a parliamentary commission set up to investigate alleged irregularities in the ballot.

An OSCE/ODIHR report on the poll noted tangible progress over voter registration and identification processes, and in the reform of the overall legal framework governing the election.

But, although the electoral process was deemed an improvement on previous polls, it still did not meet internationally recognised election standards, it said.

Whether the opposition will take part or boycott the local elections remains unclear.

Meanwhile, the two political powerhouses continue to trade accusations.

The EU, whose members of parliament have invested heavily in a solution to the crisis, is widely seen to be losing its patience.

Albania has sought integration with the EU for nearly 20 years, but observers say trying Brussels' patience and will might not be the best way for the local political class to gain membership.

EU harmonizes position on Serbian resolution

Belgrade starts working on a new, joint resolution with Spain and Greece.
7 September 2010 | 16:26 | Source: B92, Beta
BELGRADE -- EU member-states have principally adopted “guidelines” forthe harmonization of positions with Serbia ahead of the upcoming debate in the UN General Assembly.

UN General Assembly (FoNet archive)
UN General Assembly (FoNet archive)

The Beta news agency has learned from EU officials in Brussels that the opinions of those countries which have and those which have not recognized Kosovo were harmonized.

According to them, the document does not mention either Kosovo’s unilateral secession or negotiations on all open issues, which Serbia has requested.

These “guidelines” will be presented to Serbian President Boris Tadić by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in order to add them or “make” harmonized positions of the EU and Serbia, to use for discussing the issue of Kosovo in the UN General Assembly.

The EU member-states that have recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo made it clear that the document’s content is not in any way questioning their position that Kosovo is an independent state.......


Bosniak Council wants intl. observers in Sandžak

7 September 2010 | 09:47 | Source: Tanjug
NOVI PAZAR -- The Bosniak National Council requested that international observers be sent to Sandžak, the mostly Bosniak populated region of southwest Serbia.

The Bosniak Council in question is the one that the Serbian Ministry for Human and Minority Rights does not recognize.

According to a statement issued by the council's press office, the Council sent its request to EU Security and Foreign Policies Chief Catherine Ashton, who was informed in a letter about the frequent cases of discrimination and the violation of rights on religious and ethnic grounds in the region.

The letter stresses that the recent events in Novi Pazar show that tension is boiling over in Sandžak, and that an excessively large number of police officers present in the region are not helping calm the situation.

The Islamic Community in Serbia, headed by Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlić, staged a rally in Novi Pazar on Saturday because the city administration usurped land where a kindergarten was planned to be built.

Several persons were arrested for violating public order and security and attacking police officers during the Saturday rally.

The Bosniak National Council was formed by the Bosniak Cultural Community and two Bosniak Renaissance members.

The Bosniak Cultural Community, led by Zukorlić, won 17 of the 35 seats on the council in the June elections.

The Serbian Ministry for Human and Minority Rights does not recognize the council because a two-thirds majority was not present to verify the mandates of all three electoral lists.

Albania, latest developments

The residents surround Karaburun Penisola, a large territory near Naval Base of Orikum

VLORE-After street protests led the government appeals, the old properties of Dukati village, have attacked Karaburun Penisul, a territory protected by Albanian Army, since 1945, dividing of taking their property on the peninsula of Vlora Gulf.

Although crossing the road is limited by Orikum Naval Base, the famous submarine base of Varsavia Treaty, now reconstructed by Turkish Army, more than 150 residents of the village, have entered through the old road in order Karaburun division of their property.

They have set benchmarks border demarcation by using the old wire to demonstrate publicly owned lands to them.

Young and old from Dukati again raised the issue of land requirements, where between them and it is opening access gate to the Karaburun Peninsula.

Jewelries residents claim that the peninsula belongs to them and anyone else, regardless of the state not giving document property.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Netherlands; Tirana, needs much to do for human rights and liberties Before Liberation visa process

TIRANA, "Netherlands respects the position of the European Commission regarding the visa liberalization process in Albania", diplomatic sources from Netherlands embassy accredited in Tirana, quoted today by "Gazeta Shqiptare".

Responding to harsh statements against the abolition of visas with Albania by a Netherlands European Parliamentary member by Commission of Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, the Netherlands embassy diplomats in Tirana have confirmed that Van der Stoep parliamentarian, representing the grouping "Freedom Party" in PE, but does not speak on behalf of the Netherlands government.

"Member states of the EU are not yet part of the discussion regarding the visa liberalization, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will determine its view when the European Commission to provide advice to the European Council" - stressed diplomatic sources quoted today newspaper in Albanian.

However, EU member countries, believe that in Albania, the visa liberalization process, it seems to be a bad moment, inside the political war between the two major parties rather than a reality, in which Albania itself, has many applications to fulfill.

Albania won’t be submitting Kosovo resolution

6 September 2010 | 11:30 | Source: Tanjug
VIENNA -- Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that Tirana would not be submitting its own Kosovo resolution to the UN General Assembly, despite such rumors.

He told Vienna daily Standard that the Kosovo question has been a question between Belgrade and the international community.

“However, after the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the efforts of Serbia are not unjustifiable, because Serbia must adhere to international law,” Berisha said.

He added that Serbia was the country that asked the ICJ for its opinion and received it, which is why “all efforts to go against the international decision are bizarre and will not help.”

Since the ICJ decision, Tirana has been intensively lobbying in order to secure more recognitions for Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence.



Albanian PM and Thaci meet before UN Session

Kosovo and Albanian Prime Ministers met few days before the beginning of the UN annual session for joining the efforts to increase the number of recognitions for the independence of the newest country in the Balkans.

Kosovo and Albanian Prime Ministers met few days before the beginning of the UN annual session for joining the efforts to increase the number of recognitions for the independence of the newest country in the Balkans.

After a meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, both Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his Kosovo homologue Hashim Thaçi emphasized that the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is now a legal basis for every country to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

“The ICJ’s decision has transformed the issue of Kosovo’s independence into a case of recognizing, respecting and implementing international law. So, this matter does not concern only Albania and Kosovo, and I am convinced that in the future we will have even more support,” said Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

“We are positive that Kosovo will have new successes in the UN General Assembly. This is an international commitment for new successes of the Republic of Kosovo, and at the same time there will be new recognitions for Kosovo,” said Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi.

Meanwhile, Berisha and Thaçi commented on Spain’s inclusion in the negotiations for the Serb resolution. “The Spanish attempt to help Belgrade fits in with the new reality,” said Berisha. “The best solution would be for Serbia to withdraw this resolution,” said Thaçi.

The Albanian delegation, which will attend the UN annual session on September 9, will include President Bamir Topi, Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Foreign Minister Ilir Meta.

Statement of the Greek American Lobby

Condemnation of the death of our compatriot Aristotelis Goumas From Albanian terrorists


We condemn the racist death of Aristotelis Goumas a member of the Greek Minority in Himara a region of Northern Epirus in Albania, simply because he was speaking Greek.

The region of Himara is a territory in Albania inhabited by many ethnic Greeks who are still deprived from their minority rights
The death of Aristotelis Goumas is the last of a long list of incidents of terrorism to the Greek people in Albania caused by Albanian citizens who claim the properties owned by the Greek minority.

Criminal actions like this are intended to stimulate Ethnic tension with unpredictable consequences and undermine the bilateral relations between Greece and Albania.

The respect and protection of Ethnic Greeks and their rights and security, beyond the self evident obligation of the Albanian government, is also mandated by international law and the European Community for which Albania desires integration. The Greek Minority in Albania as all Minorities in the world has its own rights that should be respected by both the Albania government and the Albanian citizens.

The Hellenic American National Council demands from the Albanian government the following:

• To find and prosecute the murder(s) of our compatriot Aristoteli Goumas.
• Be impartial in the trial of the fugitives who committed this crime.
• Ensure the proper expeditious administration of justice, which serves as the only practical response to the legitimate concerns of the Greek National Minority
• We also demand the recognition of the Greek language and the Greek National
character of the district of Himara.

Finally with all our respect we urge the Greek and American Governments to proceed immediately and take all necessary steps to the Albanian government to ensure full investigation and justice in this case and recognize, secure and respect all minority rights in Albania.


P.O. BOX 56046
ASTORIA, N.Y. 11105

Recently in the town of Himara in Southern Albania, on the eve of one the most religious holy days, a son of of Himara was brutally killed after an argument with Albanians, because he was speaking Greek, his mother tongue.
Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από κακόβουλη χρήση. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε την Javascript για να τη δείτε.

The situation happened when Arisotelis Goumas of Himara, was overheard by a group of Albanians speaking Greek. Upset by this, the Albanians began harassing Mr. Goumas and questioning him why he was speaking Greek. Mr. Goumas replied to them that “no one has the right to tell me what I can speak in my own house” (HIMARA). Later on, this group of Albanians followed Mr. Goumas, who was riding a motor bike and ran him over.
This is not the first time something like this has taken place. In the last 20 years, since the fall of communism, there have been numerous aggressive incidents towards the Greek Minority that lives in Albania.
With Albania getting ready for acceptance into the EU, they still disrespect the rights of the Greek minority. Recently, Sali Bersha, admitted after the incident, that “the people of Albania should know that Himara has been a bilingual community for about 200 years.” There is a problem with this statement Mr. Berisha. Greek was the only and chosen language in Himara and in Northern Epirus for over 3000 years. Still today everywhere you go in Northern Epirus it is the language of choice, there mother tounge
We call on the Albanian Government to respect the rights that the Greek minority is entitled to. The right to speak in there mother tongue freely. Also to respect all property and religious rights that are due to them.
We ask all Greek American societies and federations to please send out the following form and statement to the state dept, Embassies here, in Greece and in Albania

Thank you and God Bless

Fotis Galitsis Demetrios Koutoulas
President General Secretary

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Albania, latest geopolitical developments

Vassilios Bollano, "We do not parallel with Kosovo, but each nation, based on the UN Charter, has the right to self-determination."

Asked during an exclusive interview on TV "Top Channel", the fact that it lies in one of his previous statement, the parallel lines between Kosovo and autonomy of the Greeks in Northern Epirus in Albania, the President of the ethnic Greek minority and the Mayor of Himara, Bollanos, said: "We do not parallel with Kosovo, but each nation, based on the UN Charter, has the right to self-determination, both the Greeks in Northern Epirus."

In addition, Bollano has responded to the murder of Aristotle Guma if he considers for ethnic motive, stated emphatically that "murder is completely ethnically motivated and that there have been testimonies from Himara who have attended the event."

Meanwhile, Bollano urged Albanian leadership, to cooperate to solve the problem of property in Himara region, to contribute for integration of the members of the Greek minority, in Albanian state structures including a policeman entirely where ethnic Greeks live in the majority, including the Region of Himara.

Gul Denies pro-Muslim Bias Towards Balkans

Gul (L) and Silajdzic (R) walk by Bosnia's honor guard
Gul (L) and Silajdzic (R) walk by Bosnia's honor guard

Turkish President Abduallah Gul has dismissed as “tendentious” Bosnian Serb claims that Turkey has a secret agenda that includes ensuring the dominance of Bosnia's Muslim population over the country's Serb and Croat peoples in the Balkans.

He made his comments in a speech to the Bosnian parliament in Sarajevo on Thursday amid a boycott by Bosnian Serb lawmakers, who view growing Turkish influence in the Balkans with suspicion, accusing Ankara of pro-Bosniak bias.

Gul said in his address: “Turkey looks at all the Balkan countries as its neighbours and it is in our interests that the Balkan countries live in peace, solidarity, friendship and prosperity.

“I assure you that nothing outside this is on our agenda.”

He said the stability of Bosnia was of crucial importance to the stability of Europe, urging the country’s leaders to cross ethnic divides and work together for prosperity and the success of their people.

"Turkey will do everything that is in our power and everything you allow us to do for this to be achieved as soon as possible,” he said.

Gul added Turkey wanted the Balkans to “move from the fringes and become a part of Europe ... a crossroads of important economic and political corridors”.

But Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said Serbs “should not be naïve” in believing Turkey had good intentions.

Speaking to journalists in Jahorina, he added that Turkey was playing an important role in international affairs, but that “does not mean that we in the Republika Srpska should applaud their hidden political agenda [for the Balkans]".

Turkey has recently intensified its efforts to help countries of the former Yugoslavia - notably Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia - to overcome differences that remain from the wars in the 1990s.

It has organised several meetings with foreign ministers of the three Balkan countries as part of the effort.

In April, meeting between Haris Silajdzic, the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) chairman of Bosnia’s presidency and his Serbian counterpart, Boris Tadic, in Istanbul during which the two Balkan leaders agreed to work to improve their troubled relations.

Gul added on Thursday that "more such meetings should be expected either at the same [presidential] level or at the level of foreign ministers".

Under the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, the country was divided into two highly independent entities – the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak federation.

The two are united by weak central institutions, but each has its own government, parliament and presidency.

On Friday, the second and final day of his Bosnia visit, Gul is expected to meet the international community’s High Representative in the country, Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko, and visit the southern town of Mostar.

Another scandal in Albania: The murder in Himara, court releases three persons

Sure, the Greek authorities are observing everything about transparency of Tirana, which could bring new escalation on future relations Greece and Albania, particularly for the Vise Liberation process and new geopolitics tensions on the region.

For the mudrer in Himara, yesterday the Court of Vlora, ordered the release of three teenagers accused of supporting the author of Himara ethnic incident, a few weeks ago, where after collision with car, remained dead 35 year old Aristotle Guma.

During the hearing at the expense of the accused to support Ilir Muka, author of the event, the court has decided to let free citizens: Alexander Lavdosh Gjokaj, 21, Bledar Meminaj Seraph, 22, and Andy Petrit Kotori, 25 years old who where certain security measures before the 20 days in jail.

"There was no new evidence that could heaving their position in the crime", the Court decided to charge the three persons.

After the killing of Guma, the Himara residents reacted harshly, blocking for hours Vlora-Saranda National route, to protest the murder of 35 year old.

Very interesting the Independence of Albanian Courts, which under the nationalism pressure of Albanian media, releases after 20 days three implicated persons.

Sure, the Greek authorities are observing everything about transparency of Tirana, which could bring new escalation on future relations Greece and Albania, particularly for the Vise Liberation process and new geopolitics tensions on the region.