Saturday, September 22, 2012

Latest News

Meeting in New York, Avramopoulos - Koutoulas

In focus of talks, Himara`s issue

Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, special meeting with the President of Panepirotic Federation of America, Demetrios Koutoulas

Situated on the anniversary of the ONU in New York, the Greek Foreign Minister, Demetrios Avramopoulos, has developed a special meeting with the President of Panepirotic Federation of America, Demetrios Koutoulas.

Talks are considered too reserved for the media, but the meeting was in the spirit of the recent situation in the Balkans, Greece and Albania.

In the focus of the talks were, the situation of the Greek Community of Albania and alarming situation of human rights and property in the Himara Region.

At the meeting, was a participant even a member of the Community of  "Himara Union" of Usa Teodorros Retzios

Only tow days ago, the Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos, has expressed criticism about the Greek Albanian relations, particularly for the raise of the Albanian nationalism and the situation of the Greek Community in Northern Epirus.

Photo: from left, Koutoulas, Retzos and Avramopoulos.

PM: Partition of Kosovo only realistic solution

BELGRADE -- PM Ivica Dačić says the EU cannot force Serbia to recognize Kosovo as independent, while a partition of the province is "the only possible realistic solution".
Ivica Dačić (file)
Ivica Dačić (file)
"I still think that a partition (of Kosovo) is the only possible realistic solution, and I'm sure the Albanians in Priština would accept it," Dačić told Belgrade-based Pink TV late on Friday, and added:
"However, it raises the question of whether it could cause shockwaves in the region - while at the same time, the fact is being avoided that a partition of Serbia would cause shockwaves."

He added that "a lasting solution does not exists", and that a political dialogue "certainly can take into account the legitimate interests of Serbs and (ethnic) Albanians".

"In this phase, anything that is not acceptance of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo is acceptable (to Serbia)... Brussels cannot force us to accept Kosovo's independence," the prime minister stressed, noting that five of the EU's member-countries also did not recognize Kosovo.

Dačić advised a "relaxation of relations between Belgrade and Priština" at this time, while until Serbia joins the EU - "which will take many years" - sustainable solutions should be found, "which means that they must not include a recognition of Kosovo and Metohija, and which will not prevent Serbia's European path".

Speaking about the economy, Dačić said that the government would in November draft the state budget for next year, and revealed that it will plan for a deficit of three percent.

He once again rejected the speculation that there were differences between him and his first deputy, Aleksandar Vučić, saying that "everything is under control", while the cabinet was "making all its decisions unanimously".

The premier told the television outlet that he expected the European Commission to submit "an objective report" on Serbia's progress, and added that "every move will be harmonized with EC representatives, because Serbia's policy gains in strength in that way".

"The new government has not made a single move that the EC could comment on negatively," stressed he.

Also yesterday, both Dačić and Vučić took part in the Belgrade Security Forum,

and addressed Kosovo-related issues, including implementation of previously reached agreements, and the conditions set before Serbia by the EU, related to the province.

Berisha provokes Samaras

Albania, a world lecture in Rome, for religious tolerance.

Berisha, in the presence of Samaras: "100 years ago you share us unjustly"

ITALY - Premier Berisha in his speech in the work of the European Centre Democrats, which took place in Rome, said that all the world should learn from Albania in terms of religious tolerance.

"I believe that my nation can give good examples in one of the most sensitive issues at this time," said Berisha.

Spurred by protests across the Islamic world because of the movie "The innocence of Muslims", the head of the government said that, "Imams in Albania were disappointed, but they urged their followers, in respect of worship Prophet Muhammad , to give blood for thalassemic children, provide free books for young people, to educate them better. "

"Albania was divided unfairly"

Head of government said that in 20 years CDI pluralism has helped Albania to walk on the path of democracy, but stressed that 100 years ago internationals caused tremendous damage chopped its territory.

"I am proud to address you today, because this is a special year for my country, the year of the 100th anniversary of our independence. Albania's independence was declared 100 years ago, but it was also a year of decisions terrible unfair sharing Albanian territories, which caused a great loss in my country: difficulties, dictatorship, invasion, "said Albanian Prime.

Berisha statements have been made in the presence of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Ceremony for Greek WWI Victims in Serbia

The annual ceremony honoring the memories of the Greek victims of World War I in Serbia was held at the military cemetery of Pirot, southeastern Serbia. The ceremony was organized by the defence attaché of the Greek Embassy to Belgrade, Brigadier General Apostolos Kostopoulos.
The Pirot Military Cemetery is the resting place of 358 Greek soldiers and riflemen of the 3rd Division of Patras, who died in battles from Oct. 3, 1918-Jan. 28, 1919 during the Entente Cordiale operations. The division entered Pirot, approaching the borders between Serbia and Bulgaria aiming to prevent a potential Bulgarian retaliation.
The memorial service was attended by the Mayor of Patras Yiannis Dimaras, Greek Ambassador to Belgrade Dimosthenis Stoidis, Greek Embassy press counsellor Petros Tsarouchis, the Mayor of Pirot, representatives of the Serbian government, families of the fallen WW I soldiers, representatives of the Greek community in Serbia and many more visitors.
The Greek Ambassador told local media that the ceremony is proof of the historically strong ties binding the people of the two countries. “The ideals of freedom and national independence have once again entered the front stage in modern times and it is important that we learn from our history and experiences,” added Stoidis.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Italian PM meets Greek, Irish, Spanish counterparts on debt crisis

Marzia De Giuli
21 September 21, 2012
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ROME, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti met his Greek, Irish and Spanish counterparts here on Friday.
Monti discussed with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the eurozone debt crisis before next European Council's conference scheduled on Oct. 18 and 19.
The European leaders reiterated their conviction that "it is vital to maintain the integrity of the eurozone, stabilize markets and proceed in the process of EU integration," said a statement released by the government after the meetings.
They confirmed their commitment to "continue following the path of national reforms in order to preserve stability in the single currency region," the statement said.
Monti met with Samaras and Kenny at his official residence in Rome, Chigi Palace and later with Rajoy on the sidelines of a political conference at villa Pamphili, a prestigious location in the Italian capital.
The three leaders attended a luncheon along with other conference attendees including Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha. Enditem
sOSCE: Albania progresses and stops

OSCE: Albania progresses and stops
“The general elections of 2013 are expected to be a wild race”. This is the forecast that closes the annual report that the head of the OSCE presence in Tirana presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation that is being held in Vienna.

Wollfarth presents Albania’s political situation in a report of several pages, but that is summarized with the expression “progress and stop”.  While he considered the other reforms as partial or in a stalemate, Wollfarth appreciates the consensus found for the Electoral Code but he adds that it is not enough.]

“Its implementation for 2013 is a great responsibility of the party leaders”, Wollfarth says, underlining the unlimited power of the party leaders.

At this point, the OSCE report adds that the reforms will be neglected during this electoral year, because the entire attention will be on the elections rather than pushing forward the complex agenda of the reforms.

The report gives negative evaluations about the rule of law, saying that there are tendencies for some steps back in this direction, but only the international pressure has avoided it.

“The constant weakening of the state institution, which is verified by their hesitation to act according to the law, is a serious threat for the delicate achievements in the rule of law”, the report says.
It emphasizes the Gerdec trial, for which it cannot be said that it was in full accordance with the principles of a right trial. As for another famous trial in Albania, the one against the former Deputy Prime Minister, Ilir Meta, the report underlines the Supreme Court decision to find him innocent.

As regards corruption, the report says that the impunity culture prevails.  The corruption accusations against the Ministers on duty who have important investment agreements on their hands and the lack of trust in the ballot counting process have emphasized the impunity culture even more.

A convincing balance of verdicts, sentences or high and adequate fines for the corruption cases of high rank officials would be a positive measure for turning the public’s trust and demonstrate political determination, the report says, noting that there is a apradox in this directio

Greek troika report delayed by US elections

An EU-IMF report into whether Greece's debt is manageable looks set to be delayed until after November 6 because policymakers want to avoid any shock to the global economy before the US election, EU officials and diplomats said.

A Greek flag waves by the statue of the goddess Athina, in Athens
Differences inside the troika about the precise extent of Greece's debt problems, combined with political pressure to hold off for another few weeks, look likely to mean a delay until mid-November Photo: AP
The report by the "troika" of Greece's foreign lenders - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - was expected during October, possibly before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on October 8.
The study provides the basis for decisions on whether to disburse the next tranche of aid to Athens, which may otherwise run out of money to pay wages and pensions, default on its debt and perhaps be forced to leave the euro area.
The news came as the "troika" said it was taking a "brief pause" from discussions in Greece, and expects to return to the country next week.
Differences inside the troika about the precise extent of Greece's debt problems, combined with political pressure to hold off for another few weeks, look likely to mean a delay until mid-November. In the meantime, Greece will be kept afloat by issuing short-term treasury bills and its banks will get access to emergency funds from the Greek central bank.
"The Obama administration doesn't want anything on a macroeconomic scale that is going to rock the global economy before November 6," a senior EU official told Reuters, adding that previous troika reports had also slipped.

"KFOR should stay but not train Kosovo forces"

BELGRADE -- Aleksandar Vučić stated on Friday that Serbia "highly appreciates NATO and KFOR's contribution to creating a peaceful environment in Kosovo".
The Belgrade Security Forum (Tanjug)
The Belgrade Security Forum (Tanjug)
However, the Serbian first deputy prime minister and defense minister qualified as unacceptable KFOR's role in the forming and training of Kosovo security forces.
Vučić said at the 2nd Belgrade Security Forum that Serbia appreciates all activities of KFOR that are in keeping with UN SC Resolution 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement signed in Kumanovo and in that sense strongly supports KFOR's further stay in the province.

"At the same time, Serbia qualifies as unacceptable KFOR's role in the forming and training of Kosovo security forces. Serbia believes this task is not in keeping with the mandate entrusted," Vučić cautioned.

As a militarily neutral country, Serbia remains committed to cooperating with EU member states and European institutions in the field of mutual security and defense policy, he said.

"Participation of members of the Defense Ministry in EU missions is an indicator of political will and readiness of our country and armed forces to assume the most complex tasks in dealing with contemporary security challenges. Our goal is to make contribution to regional, European and global security in close cooperation with our EU partners," Vučić pointed out.

Stressing that Serbia advocates stable, safe and prosperous Western Balkans, the minister referred to preservation of territorial integrity as the biggest security challenge facing Serbia.

Speaking at the panel dubbed "New Paradigm of the Region: Are the Balkans Finally a Success Story?" Vučić underlined that a stable, safe and prosperous region is in the interest of all Western Balkans countries.

The list of speakers at the panel also includes Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčak, DCAF Director Theodor Winkler and others

The "Golden Down" member, statement for the Albanian press

I'm Robert, from Lukova of Himara, and will die for the Northern Epirus

"Gazeta Shqiptare"

My name is Robert, I am the son of Thomas and Athens, Antony and Sotira grandson and great-grandson of Aristidhit and Penelopës. I was born in Saranda and grew up in the village of Lukovo, the Himara Regon, a country with a 4000-year history of Epirus "says Robert." When I was at the age of 1 year was baptized by that name, and when I went to Greece asked to be baptized again, but my father Gerasimos spiritual of Agrinio, who knows me very well me and my family told me not allowed second baptism. I participated in weightlifting championship at the professional level, I studied and I have 2 university degrees for Agronomy and Physical Education and worked as a teacher in Delvin. When the communist regime in Albania rule, sought political asylum in Greece with the claim that "I am an enemy of the communist regime in Albania." In 1991 I married were St. Christopher in Agrinio.

My wife is Greek by Agrinio and has a business, at the age of 20. Albanian media have accused Greek nationalist and now suddenly in Greece be accused as an Albanian. Those who accuse me are those who sold Northern Epirus Albanians, those who do not respect the protocol of Corfu in 1914, and never show their face. I'm northern eiriot and I will fight for my country to death ".

Greece-Macedonia 'Name' Meeting Announced

The Greek and Macedonian foreign ministers, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Nikola Poposki, are to meet next Thursday in New York in an attempt to invigorate stalled 'name' talks.
Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Photo by: Steve Cadman
The two ministers will meet at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where Greece is expected to urge more active UN involvement in the talks held under its auspices.

“I am glad that the Greek side has answered the initiative for more meetings. Greece is asking for greater involvement of the UN. This means that our messages are bearing fruit”, Minister Poposki said, confirming the meeting.

The two are also expected to meet with the UN mediator in the name talks, the US diplomat Matthew Nimetz.

Greece insists that use of the term "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name.

Citing the unresolved issue, Greece has repeatedly blocked Macedonia’s progress towards both EU and NATO membership.

UN-brokered talks to overcome the long standing dispute have failed to result in a solution and there have been no substantial talks for over a year, partly owing to the complicated political situation in Greece.

Speaking recently before the Greek parliament, Avramopoulos announced that he will ask the UN to boost its level of engagement in the talks.

This corresponds with the July statement of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who on a visit to Skopje vowed to engage in contacting both countries in the hope of speeding up the stalled talks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No Progress in Greek Coalition Budget Cut Talks

Wrangling for weeks over how to cut 11.5 billion euros, or some $14.6 billion from the budget over the next two years as demanded by international lenders, the uneasy Greek coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his partners, the PASOK Socialists and Democratic Left, failed to reach an agreement after talking for several hours on Sept. 20.
Samaras is trying to convince PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis to renege on their campaign promises – as Samaras already has – to protect the most vulnerable sectors of Greek society who are expected to bear the brunt of new cuts.
Venizelos and Kouvelis were reportedly opposed to some of the planned pension cuts and layoff and eventual firing of 35,000 state workers, but the newspaper Kathimerini said it appeared they were ready to give in to keep unity.
The three met with Finance Minister Yiannis Stournas, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis for a briefing on Stournaras’ negotiations with the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is putting up $325 billion in rescue monies to keep the Greek economy from defaulting and taking the Eurozone with it.
The talks with the Troika have reportedly become very tense as the coalition leaders can’t find a common ground on a remaining 2-3 billion euros in cuts with Kathimerini reported Stournaras was feuding with them over how to cut public sector costs.

Austrian politician on "recognition, Dayton for Kosovo"

BELGRADE -- Erhard Busek says a solution for Kosovo "could be its partition", and adds he is "absolutely positive Serbia will have to recognize it before joining the EU".
This Austrian politician and former coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, however, noted that it was "impossible to say when Serbia might join the EU".
"Generally, Belgrade and Priština are in favor of that (partition), it is only Brussels that should be persuaded that the borders in the Balkans should be changed once again," Busek said for the Thursday edition of the Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti.

According to him, "the Belgrade-Priština dialogue should be raised to a higher, political level as soon as possible, and at the end of the process the Kosovo knot should be finally untied".

"In my opinion, this can be done through a partition of Kosovo," he said.

"All details of the Kosovo deadlock could be harmonized in a kind of a Dayton Treaty for Kosovo, with the international community, primarily the EU, the U.S. and Russia as guarantors of the agreement," Busek added.

Busek said he was "not surprised by Germany's request for Belgrade and Priština to sign an agreement on good neighboring relations", adding that all the biggest EU countries, Germany in particular, "are expected to set new, additional preconditions for Serbia, as the integration process moves on".

According to reports in the Belgrade media, however, the Serbian government does not intent to draft an agreement on the country's "good neighborly relations with Kosovo".

Serbia considers the territory its province, and rejects as illegal the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of its independence, made in February 2008.

Busek also commented on Serbia's new government and its first moves to say that they "did not go in the direction of essential changes and harmonization with EU standards".

Furthermore, the new authorities are turning toward Russia, which he said he thought was "not good" - as Serbia's place was "in the EU".

However, it is impossible to say when Serbia might in fact be given a date to commence its membership talks, the Austrian politician noted, and explained that this will depend to a high degree on the economic situation within the organization, which he said was "not great".

The Costal Association and the Himara Community,  joint statement about the concessions in the Himara Region

"Himara is occupied" by government decisions and concessions approved for beaches and massive purchaseof land

In a joint statement of the civil society of Himara, The Costal Association and the Himara Community, have accused the Albanian government that "is conquering Himara" the decisions of the government to issue concessions beaches and territories of the Himara Region.

But while strong accusation was made also for the reason that this cooperation has been of the Himara Municipality, which has passed this decision of the Himara Municipality many months before, without informing the people of Himara.

But besides this, their charges are in collaboration both the Himara Municipality for the the fact that the Albanian government, stimulates the Mafia who bay with false documentation of properties of the people of Himara, in particular it highlighted in Dhermi and Palace ..

Read on Albanian newspaper comments in relation to civil society statement of Himara.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"U.S. secretary of state to visit Serbia in October"

BELGRADE -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive here in early October, writes the Belgrade-based daily Danas, quoting "several diplomatic sources".
(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)
According to the report, she will meet with top Serbian officials to discuss the issues of Kosovo, Serbia's EU integration, and cooperation in fighting terrorism and organized crime.
Clinton visited Belgrade previously in October 2010, as part of her Balkan tour.

At the time, the U.S. official and her Serbian hosts discussed Serbia's EU integration and the Belgrade-Priština dialogue.

Ex-KLA members found guilty of war crimes

BELGRADE -- A group of former members of the ethnic Albanian KLA has been found guilty of committing war crimes and sent to jail for a total of 116 years.
The Higher Court on Wednesday (Tanjug)
The Higher Court on Wednesday (Tanjug)
This was the outcome of the retrial, which wrapped up in Belgrade on Wednesday.
Of the 17 defendants charged, six have been acquitted by a panel of judges of the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court, presided over by Judge Snežana Nikolić-Graotić.

Between June and December 1999, the group tortured to death at least 80 people, most of them Serbs and other non-Albanians, the court had found.

34 persons believed to have been their victims are still listed as missing. A total of 153 more civilians were illegally detained, tortured and then released.

The so-called Gnjilane Group - named after the town in Kosovo where the war crimes took place - includes Agus Memsi, Samet Hajdari, Nazi Hajdari, Ahmet Hasani, Burim Fazli, Selmon Sadiku, Faton Hajdari, Ferat Hajdari, Kamber Sahiti, Sadik Alija and Sefket Musliju. They will spend between five and 15 years behind bars.

At the same time Fazlija Ajdari, Redzep Saciri, Alija Idriz, Halimi Ramanan - all fugitives from justice - have been acquitted, as well as Semsi Nuhiju who was extradited to Serbia in May 2012.

Judge Nikolić-Graotić read the verdict to explain that the defendants had committed war crimes against civilians, and proceeded to describe in detail the torture and rape that two survivors - who testified for the prosecution as protected witnessed - had recounted.

The War Crimes Prosecutor's Office is satisfied with the portion of the verdict which pronounced the majority of the members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Gnjilane Group guilty - "but will lodge an appeal against the not-guilty verdicts for six of the defendants", Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekarić told Tanjug on Wednesday.

"Justice has only been partially done, considering the things they did. The length of the sentences they received is only partial satisfaction for the victims," said Vekarić.

Vekarić said this was a high-risk trial and the court worked under extremely high pressure, considering the frequent incidents which occurred between the prosecution and the defendants.

First defendant Agus Memisi, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison today, recently threatened the deputy prosecutor with retaliation.

Vekarić said the Prosecutor's Office would certainly appeal the acquittals verdicts, while it would make a decision regarding the guilty verdicts after it received a written judgment.

The first degree verdict against the group was overturned by the Belgrade Court of Appeals in December 2011, when the case was sent for retrial. The original verdict amounted to a total of 101 years in prison handed down to the members of the group, arrested in late 2008 in the town of Preševo

"European Union will beg Turkey to join"

VIENNA -- Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan has said that the European Union (EU) has been treateding his country "unfairly" for five decades.
However, he also voiced his conviction that "the day will come when Brussels will beg Turkey to become a member".
"The EU is still giving us the cold shoulder, although Turkey, unlike most EU countries, meets the Maastricht criteria. However, the day will come when they will be begging us to join," Caglayan said in an interview with the APA news agency.

He stressed that when that day comes, "Turkey would then decide whether to join or not".

Turkey, according to the minister, "has a right to join the EU" and has no intention of withdrawing from the negotiations.

However, Caglayan noted, it was an open question whether the euro will still exist by the time of his country's accession.

"The EU is reaping what they sow," he said about the current crisis.

Caglayan said that Turkey has managed to reduce its debt from 73 to 39 percent, and that no bank in that country was facing problems.

Turkey's economy, he said, last year grew by 8.5 percent, while the European grew only by 1.5 percent. Had Turkey been a member, the minister calculated, EU's growth would have been 1.8 percent.

"We will continue to upset Europeans. There are people who want to turn the EU into a Christian club and (leave) the Turkish state outside. We will not allow for that to happen," Caglayan said.
Fule meets with President Nishani

Fule meets with President Nishani
The EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, declared through Twitter that after a long meeting with President Nishani, he explained to him that the EU candidate status is achievable. The Spokesperson Peter Stano explained for Top Channel what remains to be done.

“During the visit with the Albanian President, Commissioner Fule declared that critical in Albania’s EU integration path are the concrete results for the 12 key priorities, including the passing of the Supreme Court law and the Parliamentary Reform, together with the reform of the immunity system. Commissioner Fule also underlined that Albania must multiply its efforts for building an efficient and independent judiciary, which is very important. But it is also important to secure strong evidence for the success in the war against corruption and organized crime”, Spokesperson Stano declared.

According to Nishani, the EU candidate status is achievable if the political class works every hour and every day until October 10th. The European Commission insists that besides the passing in Parliament, the laws need to be implemented.

“We spoke about the important achievements, such as the consensual voting of the new Electoral Code, the great efforts and the positive signs for the immunity lifting (a law that passed this afternoon in Parliament), as an indicator of the awareness and responsibility of all political parties in Albania, in service to the European integration of our country. An important part of the conversation with Commissioner Fule were the justice reforms, in which the President, as Chairman of the High Council of Justice, has a very important commitment”, Nishani declared.

Albania has only three weeks for fulfilling all the necessary criteria that would enable the Commission to recommend the EU Council to give the candidate status.
photoThe main Albanian political players are still at an impasse on the election of a new president. [Reuters]

Albania curbs immunity to impress EU ahead of report

TIRANA (Reuters) – Albania’s main parties agreed to curb the immunity from prosecution of lawmakers and judges on Tuesday to convince the European Union that Tirana means business in fighting corruption.
The bill was passed in a bipartisan vote as Tirana races to ensure its reforms feature in an EU report on its eligibility for candidate status due in mid-October.
After rejecting Albania’s application twice in two years, the EU said it expected the Balkan state to address problems in a dozen areas, including fighting corruption.
The EU’s economic crisis has not deterred impoverished Albania from pursuing its goal of joining the 27-member bloc, the biggest donor to the former communist country.
“The adoption of this law is an important step in strengthening Albania’s legal framework for fighting corruption,” said the EU’s Albania delegation head, Ettore Sequi.
“By continuing to work together, Albania’s political leaders can ensure that the country achieves the critical mass of results necessary to achieve candidate status,” Sequi added.
In Brussels, the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule said Albania could make progress on its European path provided it “delivers a critical mass of concrete results in addressing the 12 key priorities from the Commission’s Opinion”.
The government and the opposition need to cooperate to adopt a law on the High Court and complete the parliamentary reform.
A belligerent political culture and a row over the 2009 elections have caused Albania to lag behind its Balkan neighbours in its efforts to join the European Union.
“Albania needs to intensify its efforts to build up an independent and efficient judiciary and to establish a solid track record in the fight against corruption and organised crime,” Fule said.
(Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Rosalind Russell)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Berisha: former President Bamir Topi and Kreshnik Spahiu, corruption of judges appointments

Berisha: to appoint a judge from Durres to Tirana was paid 500 thousand euro, this is a Western intelligence report

It was expected to remove the immunity of the Albanian Parliament, during his speech the Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha has accused former President Bamir Topi and the Red and Black Alliance leader, Kreshnik Spahiu, that when they have been at the head of the High Council of Justice, have make appointments with the judges, being corrupted by hundreds of thousands of euro.

According to Berisha, Western intelligence services, this fact have made known leader Oposita Edi Rama, and that is a report that is not appearing in the press because it is deliberately obstructed.

According to Berisha, to appoint a judge from Durres to Tirana, was paid 500 thousand euro, this is a Western intelligence report.

"Authorities will ask people — Kosovo or EU"

BELGRADE -- The state is deciding on the further steps in its Kosovo policy, to be taken after the United Nations General Assembly, the media in Belgrade are reporting.
Should Brussels - i.e., the European Union (EU) - insist on Serbia's recognition of Kosovo as independent - "the citizens will decide" - Belgrade's Večernje Novosti daily writes on Tuesday, hinting at a possibility of a referendum.
Top state officials are "completely aware" that the policy of defending Kosovo and attempting to join the EU had "hit the wall", after a delegation of the ruling German party last week in Belgrade delivered their country's demands that Serbia should meet to continue its EU integrations. One of them is for Serbia to establish "good neighborly relations" with the territory its Constitution defines as its province.

Now, sources with the government and the presidency in Belgrade told the newspaper that should this condition, that amounts to Serbia de fact recognizing Kosovo, be presented in a direct manner - "it is not ruled out that the citizens of Serbia themselves could decide".

"Only the citizens could decide on a dilemma like this, that would make decision on the defense of the Constitution and territorial integrity, and the state's strategic direction on the other hand," the sources were quoted as saying.

It is expected that immediately after attending UN General Assembly sessions in New York, President Tomislav Nikolić will gather together top officials, opposition leaders and most important state institutions in order to harmonize a policy that Serbia will adopt to face "great challenges ahead".

According to the newspaper the ruling parties will as soon as in early October initiate broad consultations, with the goal of establishing a national consensus when it comes to the next moves concerning Serbia's southern province.

Before this happens, Serbian officials will, while in New York, try to "feel the pulse" of their counterparts from powerful countries concerning Serbia's policy toward Kosovo and the EU.

"The scandal of Concessions" with the  beaches of  the Himara Region

Albanian press charges, greater corruption of the government of Albania, after the scandal with the WorldBank in 2007, in which Jala village, was destroyed entirely.

In Himara, "Omonia" called municipal councilors to denounce the scandal, even though they voted for this concession.

Civil society of Himara, has accused the Himara Council, last year, for Concessions and Development Plans, stating that it has declared "civil disobedience against the 7501 law" and rejected The DevelopmentPlain, a process that is performed without transparency and that serves the Albanian Mafia

The "Omonia President" Vasil Bolanos, urges OSCE, make transparent all the registration of the properties process in the Himara Region. In a letter to the OSCE, the diplomatic corps and the civil society, Bolanos explained that "He has not received a response from the Himara Municipality for the registration process, although advisers" Omonia "are present in all voting in the Council."

The Himara Community and the Costal Association, consider approving of the concession of the beaches of Himara, a "new Occupation" that aims massive looting of land, through tourism development policies of Tirana.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Angela Merkel: “Heart Bleeds” for Greeks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her “heart bleeds” for Greeks suffering a crushing economic crisis and defended Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann’s criticism of plans by the European Central Bank to buy bonds of indebted countries.
Merkel reiterated her hope to to keep Greece in the Eurozone but didn’t off any new concessions, insisting that it must carry through the reforms it has pledged. She dodged questions whether Greece might be given more time to implement unpopular cost-cutting plans and structural reforms, pointing to a report from Greece’s international debt inspectors that is expected next month as the basis for decisions.
Merkel said Germany is ready to help Greece and wants it to succeed, but says it’s important that “these reforms, some of them difficult, be carried through.” She said that she feels for the sacrifices of Greeks but that nothing would be gained by resisting reforms and austerity measures.

Dodik says Bosnia-Herzegovina "makes him sick"

ZAGREB -- Bosnia is causing "a sensation of nausea" in RS President Milorad Dodik, according to an interview with him published by the Croatian daily Večernji List.
Milorad Dodik (FoNet, file)
Milorad Dodik (FoNet, file)
According to the newspaper, the leader of the Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serb Republic (RS), also said that he in fact "does not live in Bosnia".
"I live in the Serb Republic," he was quoted as saying, and adding:

"Sarajevo is today an ethnically cleansed town, there are neither Serbs nor Croats there. (Muslim) Reis (Mustafa) Cerić - who is leaving that office and is politically engaged to a high degree, producing jitters, objected when (SPC) Bishop Grigorije said precisely that. They won't even allow Santa Claus in kindergartens there, and they claim that Croats and Serbs are welcome."

Dodik advised Croats in Bosnia "not to accept any rearrangement" of the entity they share with Bosnia's Muslims - the Federation - unless it was to form a separate Croat entity. Otherwise, he stated, "they were set to waste 20 years".

"Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state has a future only in case a third, Croat entity is set up, so there is the Serb Republic, Herzeg-Bosnia, and Bosnia, so that only foreign policy, foreign security and foreign trade decisions are made on the state-level," suggested Dodik.

"Right now in Bosnia-Herzegovina an international experiment is ongoing where Serbs and Croats have been disciplined, while Bosniaks (Muslims) have been allowed leeway, and a pathological situation has been created," the RS leader noted, and concluded:

"That has convinced Bosniaks that they are the victim and that they are entitled to more than the other two peoples. That's not true, there were victims on all sides, more so among Bosniaks considering their numbers."

                        The Greek Special Forces of Submarines brigade, ready for "Secret Mission"

Greek Minority in Albania, only 1.5%, Orthodox Community come third, after Musulmans and Catholics

Tirana, is ready to publish the results of the Census

Reliable sources from the Albanian government, citing that the public is prepared to declare religious Ethno results to Albania, based on the census of 2011.

Of course, there will be no surprise, by the Greek side, for that as regards the outcome of the new estimates of the Greek Minority, but the fact is most troubling is that the Orthodox Community, is estimated according to the Census, the third, after
Musluman and Catholic Communities

According to sources that are expected next to be public, the Greek minority is reduced to 1.5%, while the total population of Albania is also reduced 2.8 million inhabitants

Sources also point out what the next visit of the Foreign Minister of Albania, Edmont Panariti in Athens, is the most difficult of the last decade, in the Relation Greece - Albania.

Albania has not sent to Foreign Minister's official visit in Athens since 6 years, for which, in future negotiations, there may be major surprises.

Athens has said it will not negotiate any new agreements, maritime border with Tirana and may start looking for oil in Albania's southern border, near Corfu Island, which means that the presence of the Hellenic Navy will be the guarantor, after the requesting of the international companies in Ionian Sea.