Friday, October 21, 2011

30,000 Greeks Korytsaioi reported in the census in Albania

Letter of Omonia in Korca Region to Stavros Lambrinidis

Korce 20/10/2011

To: Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis


With the population census in Albania leans a chapter in the history of Northern Epirus and opens another.
Especially for the District of Korca Albania finally gets 70 years trying to eliminate the Greek minority in the region, since the census of approximately 30,000 people declared Greeks.

Now begins the struggle for recognition as a minority in Korca region.
It's time again to open our schools to learn our language, learn and teach our history to our children and to have all those rights for 100 years now deprived us of the Albanian state.

We, a big Greek minority organization with 5,000 members in the region of Korca did not need from your financial aid but to support your claim of our minority rights.

We also, Sir, to express once again our gratitude to the General Consul, Mr. Economou - Kamarinos without the action of which is whether the Greeks of Korca would have the courage to declare their nationality.

Mr. Kamarinos give back to the Consulate of Greece dignity she had lost in previous years, and persecuted all who chrimatizontan inside and outside the consulate.
He made us proud to call ourselves Greeks.

Sorry actually you have decided to postpone the premature.
We hope that the next Consul will be as good and will continue to support the Greeks in Korca like that.

Dear Mr. Minister, we hope that the removal of Mr. Kamarinos not mean that you abandon us when we proved that we exist in Albania.

Favor of the project by dressing room and not to remove from the Consulate General in Korca send you the following signatures of our members who gathered in two days.


The President

Naoum Disho

(Below 600 signatures in favor of leaving Mr. Economou - Kamarinos Consulate General Korca)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Military cooperation between FYROM and Turkey

Turkey delivered to the Armed Forces of FYROM military equipment worth $ 900,000 at a ceremony held on October 14 on a maintenance base in Skopje, in the presence of FYROM’s Defense Minister Fatmir Besimi, the Turkish ambassador Gürol Sökmensüer and senior officers of the Turkish Army.

Specifically, 18 Land Rover vehicles, 95 telephones for use in campaigns and night observation equipment, constructed by the Turkish defense industry, were delivered.

In his speech, the Defence Minister Besimi (who is a Muslim with Albanian origin) thanked Turkey, highlighting the close ties between the two countries and revealed several interesting facts about the bilateral military cooperation between the two countries. From 1998 FYROM and Turkey have signed a total of 22 military agreements. At least 600 members of the armed forces of the country have been trained in Turkey, of whom 82 are graduates of the War Academy in Ankara. The height of the Turkish military aid to Skopje amounts to $ 16 million and by the end of the year another delivery of equipment for the Special Forces and logistical support, worth $ 1.15 million, is expected.

From the information available, the latest delivery of military equipment to FYROM took place in October 2008 and involved Land Rover vehicles, generators and tents, totaling $ 275,000. Note that with the help of Ankara, two communications interception stations operate near the Greek border, through which it is possible to intercept Greek communications and hence monitor the military movements in northern Greece. Also, recall that in 1999 Turkey offered to donate to Skopje 20 F-5 fighter jets, a project that ultimately did not materialize.

By the end of this year a new military contract worth $ 1.35 million is expected to be signed.

World Bank: Business opportunities deteriorated

Business opportunities deteriorated
The new report of the World Bank, which reviews the economic situation of 183 countries, shows a deteriorated position for Albania regarding the facilities for the opportunities of making business.

After reviewing the data, Albania has passed from the 77th rank of last year’s classification to the 82nd. The Analyze of the World Bank is based on the rules that help or impede a business activity, and is not an indicator of the business climate in a country. According to the report, our country is ranked last for the release construction permits, while from the 242 new reforms taken in the last 12 months, the only one mentioned is the reform taken for easing the property registration.

Macedonia leads the Balkan countries, going from 34th to 22nd place. Albania has lost five places compared to last year. The Bank has used another methodology in the new report for three of its indicators: the construction permits, loans and taxes. Albania is in the last place for the construction permits, due to the fact that the authorities have not released construction permits since April 2009. The World Bank report reflects the legal framework and the rules set by the governments for helping businessmen.

Census stirs Balkan melting pot

SHENGJERGJ, Albania | Thu Oct 20, 2011

SHENGJERGJ, Albania (Reuters) - Stela Mustafaj pressed her finger to an official document charting her family tree as far back as 1875.

There, in black and white, her grandfather and other relatives, all bearing distinctly Muslim Albanian names, were listed as born in Greece.

"It's surefire proof we are Greeks," Mustafaj, 65, told Reuters in the village of Shengjergj in Albania's eastern Korce region.

"My father's name was Dionysus, but they renamed him Dervish," she said.

"I knew where my roots were but the (communist) system tried to change it. We're not trying to sell out our country or buy into another, we're just exercising our right to say who we are."

Statements like Mustafaj's are causing waves in Albania, where for the first time since communism was toppled in 1990 residents are being asked to specify their ethnicity in a national census.

In Shengjergj, a village of shiny new villas built with money earned in Greece, more than half of the 180 families told census officials that, despite their Muslim Albanian names, they are Greek.

Many complain the interviewers simply ignored them, while nationalists accuse them of trying to gain special minority benefits, or worse, aiming to sow ethnic strife.

In the Balkans -- a patchwork of ethnicities, disputed borders and rival histories -- identity can be a dangerous thing.

Up and down the region this year, countries bidding to join the European Union are holding population counts that elsewhere would be a simple matter of mathematics -- key to accurate national data, government spending plans and minority rights.

In the Balkans, much of it scarred by the ethnic cleansing of the 1990s during the collapse of Yugoslavia, they are opening old wounds and stirring controversy as rival groups vie for rights, influence and government jobs.

Macedonia last week abandoned its own census in a row over who should be counted.

Ethnic Albanians, who officially make up 25 percent of the population but say they account for more, complained the authorities were trying to bend the rules to keep their number down.


In Macedonia, the figures should help determine the make-up of the delicate power-sharing balance in place since the country narrowly avoided civil war in 2001 in fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas seeking greater rights.

In Kosovo earlier in the year, the census process was marred by a partial boycott by Serbs who reject the majority Albanian country's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

In Serbia, most ethnic Albanians in the south -- where Western diplomacy also helped end an insurgency in 2001 -- refused to take part in protest at the lack of Albanian-language questionnaires.

And in Bosnia, where ethnic coexistence under Tito's socialist Yugoslavia collapsed in war in 1992-95, Muslim, Serb and Croat communities have been unable to agree on how to hold their own count.

Bosnia's last census was in 1991, before the war killed an estimated 100,000 people and displaced around 2 million.

A new count could have ramifications for the unwieldy, highly decentralized system of ethnic power-sharing enshrined in the 1995 Dayton peace accords.

In Albania, ethnicity was taboo under the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha.

Now, nationalist critics are up in arms at efforts to provide an accurate picture of Albania's ethnic breakdown, seeing a plot to weaken the state.

Others argue the records are being manipulated by some Albanians trying to gain special benefits or a way to leave Albania for EU member Greece. Albania and Greece have long disagreed on the size of Albania's ethnic Greek population.

"Some artificial Greek minority is going to ask for special status, maybe for a percentage in parliament or government," said Kreshnik Spahiu, deputy head of Albania's Higher Council of Justice, a body chaired by President Bamir Topi to monitor the judiciary.


Spahiu is leader of the Red and Black Alliance, a movement founded by soccer fans and which takes its name from the colors of the Albanian national flag.

The group has denounced the ethnicity section of the national census, and Spahiu warns the results could upset Albania's "good model" of ethnic and religious tolerance.

The alliance, whose members last week unveiled a huge flag of what they call the Ethnic Albania of 1912 before the Great Powers approved the country's current borders, has appealed to Albanians to boycott the ethnicity question and render the calculation impossible.

"I believe that this registration has the ultimate aim of turning Albania into another Lebanon," where sectarian tensions still simmer after the country's 1975-1990 civil war, said historian and former Albanian foreign minister Pellumb Xhufi.

In Shengjergj, Stela Mustafaj rejected the charge.

She insisted her family took refuge in Albania after the Italian invasion of Greece during World War Two, but was prevented from returning when Albania's isolationist regime closed the borders.

Mustafaj conceded, however, that there was also a financial motive.

"Those who have everything should not forget that our children are out of work," she said. "We want our children to get long visas and go to work there (in Greece)."

Outside the Greek consulate in Korce, there are queues to apply for 100-day visas, and many of those waiting said they hoped to obtain longer-term work permits despite the economic strife in Albania's southern neighbor.

The Greek consul, Theodoros Ikonomou Kamarinos, attracted attention in February when he said people who think they are of Greek ethnic origin should say so on the census and not hide it for fear of a backlash from nationalists.

"I wouldn't say that I agree with certain voices within Albania, which do not make the process of friendship between Albania and its neighbors any easier," he told Reuters last week.

(Additional reporting by Kole Casule in Skopje, Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo, Fatos Bytyci in Pristina and Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade; Editing by Matt Robinson and Sonya Hepinstall)

Serb murdered, two wounded in Kosovo attack

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- A Serb man was shot and killed while two others were wounded in the village of Dobruša near the town of Peć in Kosovo on Thursday.

The two injured men were transported with police escort to the hospital in the Serb, northern part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica.

The murder victim has been identified as Miško Komatina, while Dejan Bogićević and Draško Ojdanić were wounded, the hospital said.

Ojdanić spoke to reporters there and explained the three were in Dobruša to visit the land owned by the victim, where they found an ethnic Albanian who had usurped it.

"After a short conversation, the Albanian said he had to do something and would be back soon. He went to his vehicle, took out a rifle, and started to shoot," Ojdanić said.

Previously, reports said the Serbs were attacked by an ethnic Albanian who tried to force them into selling their land to him.

Kosovo police, KPS, said they were investigating the case, but have confirmed that the killer is an ethnic Albanian from the village of Lukaci in the Istok municipality.

The village where the attack happened is located south of the Ibar River, where Serbs live in isolated enclaves.

The shooting took place on the same day when NATO forces in the province, KFOR, started forcefully removing barricades put up by Serbs in northern Kosovo.

Navies roam eastern Med

NAVIES from at least three countries are converging on the eastern Mediterranean in the vicinity of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to reports yesterday, as Turkey continued talking tough and asserting its geo-strategic interests in the region.

The Jerusalem Post said Turkey has deployed gunboats and helicopters to escort its research vessel, the Piri Reis, as it explores for gas and oil. According to the paper, the United States has discreetly dispatched an aircraft, and Russian naval vessels have been seen patrolling.

The same report said US reconnaissance planes have circled the Piri Reis on at least two occasions, and on another occasion low-flying Israeli fighter jets and choppers “harassed” a Turkish ship.

Local media meanwhile said a French corvette was expected to arrive in waters southwest of Cyprus’ Block 12 gas prospect and would be patrolling the area for a month. Other reports insisted a Russian submarine is already patrolling the same waters, while a Russian “armada,” or an aircraft carrier, is set to arrive sometime in the next few weeks.

The Piri Reis was said to be operating within Block 12 in relative proximity to the Homer Ferrington rig, located some 160 km off the coast. Vessel-tracking website likewise placed the Turkish ship there.

Turkey’s Institute of Marine Science and Technology, which owns and operates the vessel, said the Piri Reis would remain in the area for a week more.

Turkey disputes Cypriot and Israeli offshore territorial claims and says Cyprus should not exploit resources until it resolves a standoff with its breakaway Turkish-speaking north.

Energy reserves in the Mediterranean have further raised the stakes in existing political disputes in the region.

Dependence on imported energy has helped push Turkey’s current account deficit to about 10 per cent of gross domestic product this year.

The US Geological survey estimates that the Levant Basin, a triangular slice of the Mediterranean lying between Cyprus and Israel, may hold 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. That’s more than the 86.2 trillion cubic feet held by all EU countries combined, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Speaking on Turkish television channel Kanal 7, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis called Greek Cypriots the “Trojan Horse of Israel”.

Bagis reiterated that Cypriot drilling was a “provocation” to Ankara, adding: “They are drilling holes in the Mediterranean … as if the natural resources around the island are a fizzy drink. It’s not as if the gas is going anywhere.”

And Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu again stressed the Turkish side would press ahead with explorations as long as Greek Cypriots continued doing so.

“As you know, we have rights in these territories, we also have rights in the undersea resources,” Eroglu told reporters.

Responding to Bagis’ comments, Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said gung-ho statements like these show that Turkey not adhere to international rules.

“It is the EU candidate who must adapt to the bloc, and not vice versa,” said Marcoullis. “It seems they have not understood this basic fact which governs the relations of all candidate countries.”

She confirmed that the government has made representations to the United Nations Security Council over the Piri Reis’ forays into Cypriot waters.

Representations have been lodged too to France and Norway over the presence of the Burgen Surveyor, a vessel also conducting undersea research off Cyprus’ coast on Turkey’s behalf. Owned by French company CGG Veritas, the ship is sailing under Norway’s flag.

Marcoullis is planning a visit to Egypt early next month to discuss bilateral relations and energy cooperation.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after meeting Egypt’s new ambassador to Nicosia Menha Mahrous Bakhoum, the Foreign Minister said the two countries have signed an agreement for the joint exploitation of hydrocarbons.

Calling her upcoming visit to Cairo “significant”, Marcoullis noted she hoped the two nations would soon ratify the agreement.

On a deal between Cyprus and Lebanon delineating their respective EEZs, which has yet to be ratified by the Lebanese parliament, she said a team of experts from the neighbouring country would be coming here possibly this week or the next to discuss details of a technical nature.

The aim of the visit would be to “talk, on a technocratic level, about some of the concerns Lebanon has, not over the agreement between the Republic and Lebanon, but about certain coordinates relating the EEZs between Lebanon and Israel.”

The government is meanwhile pressing ahead with initiating the second round of licensing for the remaining 11 gas prospects in its EEZ.

KFOR starts removing barricades

ZUBIN POTOK, BELGRADE -- KFOR troops started removing a barricade in Jagnjenica on Thursday morning and used tear gas to disperse the local Serbs.

KFOR troops are seen during the operation (Tanjug)
KFOR troops are seen during the operation (Tanjug)

A KFOR convoy also arrived to the barricade in the village of Zupče. There were no activities near the Jarinje administrative crossing.

Telekom and Telenor cell phone networks are being disrupted.

The international forces are removing the trucks that Serbs parked in the middle of the road leading to the Brnjak crossing.

KFOR troops first formed a cordon between the Serbs and the barricades. They have riot equipment and used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the gathered Serbs who have refused to leave.

KFOR vehicles are parked around 300 meters from the barricade in Zupče, where there are several dozens of citizens.

Citizens have gathered at the barricade near the Jarinje checkpoint out of precaution, Leposavić Mayor Radoslav Ninić has said.

French KFOR troops took over the barricade near the Brnjak administrative crossing last night and expanded the security zone around it.

3 dead, 5 missing in ship collision off Albania

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Three sailors have died and five others are missing after their Turkish merchant ship collided with a passenger ferry and sank in the Adriatic, Albanian port authorities said Thursday.

The 3,300-ton Reina 1, sailing under a Maltese flag, sank immediately after the collision in international waters with the car ferry Ankara, said police spokeswoman Ornela Cako. The crash happened at about 1 a.m. (2300 GMT) Thursday some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Albanian port of Durres.

One body was taken aboard the ferry while two others have been spotted but not yet recovered due to rough seas, ports head Edmond Doraci told The Associated Press by telephone. Two sailors were rescued.

The Reina 1, loaded with grain in the Black Sea Russian port of Novorossiysk, had been headed to Bar, Montenegro, with a Turkish crew of 10, according to Ahmed Soyturk, 54, one of the survivors, speaking from the Durres hospital.

"It took only two minutes for the ship to go down," Soyturk said.

The two survivors were in good health, according to hospital personnel in Durres.

No injuries were reported on the ferry, which had left Durres en route for the Italian port of Bari with about 200 passengers. The ferry has remained at the scene of the accident.

Police gave no information on the cause of the crash.

Police and military ships and helicopters have started a search and rescue operation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turkey bombs Kurdish rebels in Iraq

TURKEY -- Turkey has launched a military operation against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, VOA is reporting.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul visits a military post on the border with Iraq (Beta/AP/Turkish Presidential Press Service)
Turkish President Abdullah Gul visits a military post on the border with Iraq (Beta/AP/Turkish Presidential Press Service)

It came hours after the militants killed at least 24 soldiers and wounded 18 in attacks in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border.

News reports quote Turkish officials as saying at least 20 rebels were also killed in the fighting, as Turkish air force bombers hit targets in Iraq and helicopters ferried army troops into the region. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who canceled a trip to Kazakhstan, described the action as "hot pursuit" within the limits of international law, following the deadliest such Kurdish attack in years.

Turkish authorities say rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, opened fire on military outposts in Cukurca and Yuksekova in Turkey's Hakkari province earlier Wednesday. Kurdish rebels claimed responsibility, prompting President Abdullah Gul to tell reporters that "vengeance for these attacks will be great."

Last week, Turkey called on Iraq to stop the Kurdish rebels from attacking Turkey from Iraqi soil, saying its "patience is running out." Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara is determined to eradicate the rebel threat in northern Iraq.

The PKK has escalated attacks against Turkish targets in recent weeks. Turkish forces have responded by increasing the number of airstrikes against suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq. In August, Turkey's military said it killed as many as 160 Kurdish rebels in air and artillery strikes across the border.

The rebels have waged a campaign for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

The Turkish government has taken steps to address the demands of Kurds and other minorities for greater rights. Prime Minister Erdogan has been pushing to amend the country's constitution, which was written in 1982 when Turkey was under military rule -- a move seen as key to addressing those demands. But Kurdish leaders say an amended constitution should recognize the Kurds as a distinct element of the nation and grant them autonomy.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

Greece attracts 2 motorized divisions of the northern border with Macedonia and Albania

Troika, NATO has sought reductions in the Greek armed forces

The Greek military forces should left the entire front of the Central and Western Macedonia and Epirus in the government's decision on a mandate of the troika, while preparing and similar moves at Air Force and Navy

Decision made ​​to implement the General Staff with a proposal submitted to Headquarters designed to reorganize the Greek Army. More specifically, according to exclusive information the General Staff sent a letter to inform and encourage staffs for decision by the end of the month to repeal the First Army and the First Army Corps.

Result of this decision will only retain the Fourth Army Corps of ASDEN and Third Army Corps (NDC-GR), which anyway serves as NATO headquarters. Proceedings of the Greek Army will not have an operational headquarters once considered virtually impossible to run the D Corps and ASDEN.

Equally, the proposal of the General Staff includes a study in the future to repeal the Second Army Corps, and for the abolition of the historic 8th Infantry Division in Ioannina, leaving only the 9th Infantry Division to administer the entire region of Epirus and Eastern Macedonia.

The letter sent by the Defense Ministry is dated October 17 and as stated aim is that these proposals be passed until October 24 until October 31.

Facts: 15 June, 1940

When the Albanian Parliament, unanimously approved the declaration of War against Great Britain and France

  • Albania in Occupation and War: From Fascism to Communism 1940-1945
  • Author Owen Pearson
Qatar and Albania sign several agreements
HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Albanian President Bamir Topi listen to the national anthems before inspecting a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony for the visiting state guest, in Tirana, yesterday

Qatar and Albania signed several agreements following a official talks chaired by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Albanian President Bamir Topi at the Presidential Palace in Tirana yesterday.

The talks were attended by HE the Deputy Premier and Chairman of the Emiri Diwan, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, and members of the official delegation accompanying the Emir.
After the session of talks, the Emir and the Albanian president held a bilateral meeting which was also attended by HE al-Attiyah.
The Emir also held separate talks with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha which dealt with bilateral relations and regional and international issues .
The meeting was attended by HE al-Attiyah and the members of the official delegation accompanying the Emir.
Following the meeting, the Emir and Albanian premier witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between both countries.

German Unrest Over Free French Frigates Delivered to Greece

According to Spiegel, an armoury deal between France and Greece could have a severe impact on the German arms industry. The article claims that the French government will deliver two to four new (type FREMM) frigates to the Hellenic Navy.

Because of Greece’s recession-hit economy, the French government has offered to leave the frigates for five years free of charge.

By the end of that period, the Greek government will have to pay for the frigates at a discount of €100 million or otherwise the stealth ships will be acquired by the French Navy.

All sides are now awaiting the next EU Summit in order for the Troika to provide clarifications on the matter.

General strike begins in Greece

ATHENS -- A two-day general strike, which will practically paralyze the whole country, will be launched in Greece on Wednesday.

(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)

Athens will be the epicenter of discontent since mass protests will take place there.

The Civil Servants' Confederation ADEDY representatives explained that workers in Greece could not live on their monthly wages any more, for which they called on the people to seek justice in the streets.

A new austerity bill that the Greek parliament should pass on Thursday includes collective wage and pension cuts, tax increase and layoffs for thousands of public sector staff.

Trade union confederations representing employees in public and private sector, which comprise more than two million members, agreed to go on strike at the same time in order to put pressure on MPs.

This would be the biggest strike in the past two years, since the economic crisis began. Strikers call for blocking the entrance to the parliament building at the time when MPs should vote on the new austerity bill.

The police will tighten security measures, as announced, in order to avoid possible clashes with demonstrators which already happened in the past.

N. Kosovo Serbs discuss KFOR's request

ZUBIN POTOK -- Councilors of four northern Kosovo municipalities are holding a meeting in Zubin Potok to discuss KFOR's request to ensure freedom of movement.

KFOR has warned it is determined to take action if Serbs did not make a decision on removal of the barricades on Wednesday.

The meeting between representatives of four northern Kosovo municipalities started a little after 11:00 CET in Zubin Potok.

Kosovska Mitrovica District Head Radenko Nedeljković and Republic of Srpska (RS) Vice President Emil Vlajki are also attending the meeting.

Nedeljković said on Wednesday that the northern Kosovo Serb representatives should make a rational decision and that the Serbian government had advised them not to get into conflicts with the international forces.

“I think that this is a historic moment for survival of Serbs in these parts. We have to be very wise, determined and brave at the session today and make a rational decision,” he pointed out ahead of the meeting.

He did not want to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

Repeating that relations with the international forces in Kosovo, especially KFOR, will be discussed at the meeting, he stressed that the northern Kosovo Serbs were in constant contact with top Serbian officials through Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanović.

He pointed out that the government, top officials and the president supported their peaceful and determined fight for their interests.

“At the same time, we got recommendations from the top state officials not to react to provocations and that we must not confront and get into conflicts with KFOR and other international institutions,” Nedeljković pointed out.

Leposavić Mayor Branko Ninić told B92 that the northern Kosovo Serb representatives would most likely agree to remove the barricades so KFOR could go through.

According to him, KFOR should understand the position of the citizens at the barricades and it should not attempt to remove the barricades by force.

Serbian government's Media Office Chief Milivoje Mihajlović expressed expectation that the Wednesday meeting of representatives of four north Kosovo municipalities would result in a decision that would contribute to stabilization of situation and resolution of crisis in this part of the province.

“This is a good chance for better communication between citizens and KFOR, which is the only one to guarantee security to Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” Mihajlović said.

He said that further complication of the situation as well as spending time near barricades are not in the interest of Serbs, but that they would persevere in order to prevent deployment of bodies of the so-called independent state of Kosovo north of the Ibar River.

“Serbs have only one condition and that is status neutrality of KFOR, which should operate within its mandate as a UN peacekeeping mission,” he underlined.

“Serbs in Kosovo would like to see tensions in north Kosovo ease, as the crisis is solely favored by Priština,” Mihajlović said and expressed hope that Serbs in north Kosovo would not make moves which would be harmful for their survival.

At the late Tuesday meeting between Zvečan, Leposavić, Kosovska Mitrovica and Zubin Potok mayors and municipal assembly speakers, the officials reached an agreement on conclusions which would be delivered to councilors for adoption on Wednesday.

“The representatives of the local self-government and KFOR should today reach an agreement based on three key elements,” Serbian Ministry for Kosovo State Secretary Oliver Ivanović announced on Tuesday.

“An agreement should be reached to guarantee that KFOR will not transport Kosovo customs officers, allow armed units to come to north Kosovo, or assist EULEX to deploy the representatives of Kosovo institutions,” he explained.

As he put it, the agreement will have several phases and it will start with good will to let through KFOR vehicles provided they do not carry customs officers and heavy machinery, as well as groups of armed people that Serbs see as enemies.

“This implies a partial passing of KFOR vehicles,” the state secretary added.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brussels, more asylum seekers from Albania

Brussels, more asylum seekers from Albania
Belgium is facing a constantly increasing number of asylum seekers from Albania. The General Director of Emigration at the Belgian Kingdom, during a press conference in Tirana, declared that the purpose of his visit was the alarming increased number of applications coming from Albania.

He declared that after the first seven months that went without any requests, now there has started a great flux of people pretending that they are facing a blood feud conflict in Albania. 480 people have applied for asylum in September and October, presenting documents that show that they are in a blood feud conflict in Albania.

The Belgian official declared that there is a network of people living in Belgium who release falsified documents for Albanians mainly from Shkoder and Kukes, which is actually a fraud, because the convince them that in Belgium they will be sheltered for free by the Belgian government, and that they will receive a job and monthly payment. He categorically excluded that these people will receive any asylum in Belgium.

Within one day, the asylum offices in Belgium have received 50 requests, all of them from Shkoder, with the motivation that they are in involved in a blood feud in Albania.

This number has been considered as alarming by the Belgian authorities, which have sent in Shkoder the General Director of Emigration and Asylum. He warned that the asylum requests will endanger the visa regime for all Albanian citizens.

The Belgian official asked the help of local authorities for stopping this phenomenon, which is made by people who receive fake documents by Blood Feud Reconciliation Associations and the local administration.

“The information I received from Brussels today, indicate that only today, before noon, 50 Albanian asylum seekers have applied at the offices. Why have I come to Shkoder? Because most of them come from this district. I came here to meet the local authorities, because the people who aim to travel to Belgium with the purpose to apply for asylum, they have the right to take the necessary information, because we are convinced that these people receive fake information from here in Albania. Every asylum request is being reviewed with an accelerated pace, and for all requests that receive a negative answer, the applicants will be forced to return to Albania. If they will not return on their own, they will be isolated in a closed center. An these consequences will happen only because these people are victims of fake information from the travel agencies and other persons that organize the fraudulent schemes, telling people that if they go in Belgium, they will receive a job and a payment, which is completely untrue”, declared the General Director of Emigration in Belgium.

During the first months of the visa liberalization, there was no problem from Albania, but after August, the situation in Belgium has become concerning. Only in the last two months there have been 161 requests from Albania, which have been considered as fraudulent only for emigrating from Albania.

Archons Honor Admiral James Stavridis

Admiral James Stavrides accepts the Athenagoras Human Rights Award at the annual Archon banquet in New York for himself, and in behalf of the members of the Armed Forces of the U.S. Seen L-R: Archbishop Demetrios, Admiral Stavridis, George Stephanopoulosand Dr. Anthony Limberakis.

NEW YORK – Admiral James Stavridis, the highest ranking Greek American in the history of the United States was honored by the Order of St. Andrew, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at their annual banquet at the Grand Ballroom of The Hotel Hilton in Manhattan on Saturday, October 15.

To exclamations of axios, axios, axios the Admiral, who serves as the current Commander of the U.S. European Command and as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe was award the Athengoras Human Rights award by Archbiohop Demetrios of America. The award was intended as both a personal tribute to the Admiral and, in the words of Master of Ceremonies George Stephanopoulos, an acknowledgement of “the sacrifice and achievements of our American armed forces.”


When George Tenet asked Gorbachov if he could ever imagine, a former president of the Soviet Union to be honored by a former director of the CIA

Archon Great Orator Gorbachev

CIA’s former Director George Tenet and Archbishop Demetrios of America present Athenagoras Human Rights Award to the last President of the Soviet Union

New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev was honored with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, by the Order of St Andrew of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Award was presented to Chairman Gorbachev, by Archbishop Demetrios of America and Commander of the Order Dr. Anthony Limberakis, on Saturday, October 22, at the annual banquet of the Archons Order of St. Andrew.

Greek American former Director of the CIA George Tenet, served as Master of Ceremonies of the banquet.

Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Award honors Patriarch Athenagoras who served as Archbishop of the Americas for 18 years before being elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948. Previous recipients of the award include Archbishop Iakovos, President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and Elie Wiesel.

Present at the ceremony were hundreds of archons from around the country, the ambassadors of Greece, Cyprus and Russian Federation to the US, as well as President Bush’s Homeland Security advisor, Francis Frangos – Townsend, a Greek American.

Introducing the last president of the Soviet Union, George Tenet asked him if he could ever imagine, a former president of the Soviet Union to be honored by a former director of the CIA.

“The President has a file on me and I have a file on him”, said to the enjoyment of the audience.


Red and Black Marathon in Rome

Red and Black Marathon in Rome
The Red and Black Alliance covered with its colors one of the areas of the La Sapienza University. The guests of honor were the famous football player, Lorik Cana, currently a player of Lazio, the vice consul of the Republic of Kosovo in Rome, Arben Muhameti, and Miss Albania 2010, Arnita Beqiraj.

As usual in the phases of the Red and Black Marathon in Albania and other countries of the world, in this meeting there were Albanian students, intellectuals and Albanian emigrants who had traveled from other cities for joining the spirit of the movement led by Kreshnik Spahiu.

The Red and Black Alliance has created branches in different Italian cities, besides Rome, mainly there where there are more Albanian emigrants. They spoke about the national unification on behalf of the fatherland, which for most of the present guests is far away, and they expressed the desire to do something even by living in the Diaspora.

The head of the Red and Black Alliance, Kreshnik Spahiu, declared that Albania’s European road doesn’t pass through Athens or Belgrade. He mentioned the issue of the emigrant rights, and their inability to vote or get elected. But he made a more special appeal to the Albanian mothers that live outside Albania:

“Speak to your children in Albanian, because this is one of the noblest missions, the greatest contribution you can give”, Spahiu declared.

While the meeting was opened with the music of the national hymn, the closure was accompanied by the hymn of the Red and Black Alliance.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ammunition loaded ship stopped in Durres

Ammunition loaded ship stopped in Durres
A ship loaded with a considerable amount of ammunition has been stopped in the Durres port for verification.

Trusted sources say that the Moldavian ship is being inspected by the Albanian authorities. The destination of the shipment is Iraq, but the authorities do not give explanations for the reasons why they stopped the ship.

The ship is inside the Durres Port and the authorities do not deny of having stopped it, but they have refused to give any explanations.

Police also refused to say where this ship has taken the ammunition and based on what agreements is it traveling to Iraq. They refuse to hint out if the ammunitions are aiding the Iraqi government or army, or if it is a simple merchant load.

Albanian Schools Educate Greek Children

Greek children in Albania do not attend Greek Schools in Albania due to lack of qualified teachers and books.

Many students that have returned from Greece to Albania due to the ongoing economic crisis in Greece register in Albanian schools.

Nevertheless, the education in Albanian Schools is not as sufficient as that in Greek Schools as well as Greek Language, Greek history and culture are being distorted.

According to Himara News Website post, Greek School in Chimara is being fully undermined, since it has no qualified teachers.

The principal of the school stated that teachers have gone a long time unpaid and encourages parents to occupy the school to help the problem be resolved by the Greek Government.

Finally, parents are protesting against non qualitative education and thinking whether to take their children out of schools or start a charity to raise money to pay teachers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Census "unsuccessful" in Preševo Valley

PREŠEVO -- A total of 2,481 persons and 1,348 households took part in the census in the Preševo municipality and it is considered that census was unsuccessful there.

This is according to Local Census Commission President Dragoljub Filipović who pointed out that only 200 Albanians had taken part in the census and that most of the ethnic Albanians had boycotted it.

“The collectors visited all census units and knocked at everybody’s doors, including Albanians’. Nobody complained to the Census Commission that collectors did not come but Albanians for the most part refused to take part in the census,” Filipović told Beta news agency.

He added that the Preševo Municipal Census Commission had not received additional instructions or recommendations in the case of boycott.

According to the 2001 census, the Preševo municipality had 34,904 residents.

WB returns to Southern Albania residence reconstruction

WB returns to Southern Albania residence reconstruction
Another World Bank project is being executed with the help of the Albanian authorities for the reconstruction of the residences in Albania’s southern coastline.

The 625.000 USD project aims to protect and promote the values of the Albanian national architecture in the Southern part of the country, in order to prevent destruction and abandonment of the traditional houses. “Shqip” newspapers says that the Ministry of Public Works is the WB partner in the “Roofs and Facades” project.

The implementation of the program has started in the villages classified as participators: Dhermi i Vjeter, Qeparo i Vjeter, Ilias, Vuno, Himare e Vjeter, Piqeras, Nivice and Luksht.

The World Bank will finance 70% of the restauration cost, with a maximum of 7000 USD, while the program “Accommodation and Breakfast” will finance 50 of the restoration cost, with a maximum of 5,000 USD.

The program “Roofs and Facades” aims to restore 72 houses in 18 months. 20 of them will adopt with the conditions of modern life, in the framework of the program “Accommodation and Breakfast”.