Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eleftherotypia: Turkey prefers  EEZ not Edi Rama

Common cause with Turkey on the issue of delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone arranges Albania. The newly elected prime minister, Edi Rama, in an interview with Albanian TV channel «Top Channel» Turkey has introduced the three strategic partners in Albania after Italy and Greece, noting that henceforth Tirana relations with Ankara upgraded "to an unprecedented level."
In particular, the Albanian Prime Minister underlined that Turkey is part of "regeneration program" of the country and included 'in the new chapter of foreign policy of Albania "and that this option is" the result of thorough, multi-faceted and very careful analysis. "

He also added that Turkey longer came to "very important player in the region, who had all these years been neglected."

Referring to the issue of the EEZ boundary with Greece, Mr. Rama kept closed papers, avoiding to give a concrete answer.

He noted, however, that this is a very complex issue, but "by mutual trust and goodwill will not remain unresolved."

"We are ready to do to overcome-as noted-and open a new chapter after a period when relations Greece - Albania had reached a very low level."

Asked if he considers that the fact that Turkey is evaluated as "strategic partner" will cause the "rivalry" of Athens, said that "we should be concerned potential rivalries," as it seeks to Tirana to promote the process of strategic cooperation with Greece, Turkey and Italy while in favor of Albania.

Recall that the intervention of Edi Rama was catalytic for cancellation (which was followed by a decision of the Constitutional Court of Albania in 2010) of the agreement that was signed between Greece and Albania in 2009 on the delimitation of territorial waters.

The argument that there were objections was that the small islands north of Corfu, have no shelf.

Already since the cancellation had argued that the Albanian withdrawal was prompted by Turkey, which estimated that the agreement would nullify their own claims in the Aegean over the Castelorizo.

Also recalled that in 2010 the Albanian Parliament approved the entry and stay unit of the Turkish fleet in Albanian territorial waters of the Adriatic.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Government approves ARMO sale

09/08/2013 19:45

Government approves ARMO sale The Ministry of Economy has approved the sale of ARMO from Anika Enterprises, administered by Rezart Taci, to the “Heaney Asset Corporation”.

In an interview for Top Channel, the Deputy Minister of Economy, Eno Bozdo, says that this company fulfills the technical and financial criteria, and inherits all obligations of Anika Enterprises, including debts to third parties and the keeping of the employees.

“We had an intensive correspondence with the company in question, which was interested to enter in this concession by exchanging its shares. We have made the technical and financial verifications, and we have the legal declaration of the company that undertakes to recognize the agreement as the only legal relation between them and the contracting authority, and to recognize all the debts of the company that have been created so far, that are being created and that will be created. Above all, it accepts to keep the employees and to pay their due salaries together with the social security payments. Absolutely every debt to third parties”, Bozdo declared.

Answering to the questions regarding the origin of the company, Mr.Bozdo says that Heaney Assets Corporation comes from Azerbaijan.

“The company is Azerbaijani and has a respectful background in this area. We hope that their presence with good technical and financial assets will resolve and improve the problems that this company has had”, Bozdo underlined.

As refers to the limitation of the intervention of the Ministry of Economy for the sale of the shares, Bozdo explains that the privatization has not crossed the five year deadline.

“Usually it is right to have it to two or three years. On this time it is to five years. If this transaction would have been done in December 2013, we would not have the right to intervene or impede the intervention of the transaction, because the deadline expires. But it is good that it happens now, because we have the possibility to check what needs to be checked”, Bozdo adds.

ARMO was sold for 125 million EUR by the end of 2008 to a consortium that was introduced as an American Company registered in Texas, United States of America.

Right after that, businessman Rezart Thaci appeared on the scene and declared that he was the person who was controlling the shares of ARMO.

But in the years to come, the company was involved in political debates for not implementing the privatization criteria, such as investments and production.

Last year the State Bank of Azerbaijan asked the seizing of the ARMO shares, claiming that they haven’t paid a 75 million EUR loan used for the privatization.
Latest News

British navy prepares landfall in Himara Region, in the framework of Operation of Albanian Lion 2013.

Its to begin operation in southern Albania, named Lion Albania 2013,, Initially in Porto Palermo the Albanian Naval Base, then in Oricum

According to the announcement of the Albanian Ministry of Defense  British forces will develop in Panormo, Albanian exercise Marines Base in Himara, Oricum of Vlora Bay, Airport of Kucovo, Rinas and Biza, the Albanian training base near Tirana.

The total Military personnel is 6000 .

Danas: Blair's Minister to Be Vucic's Adviser?

/Tanjug, file/
First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has held talks with two prominent UK politicians and experts, Stephen Byers and Peter Lilley.

The talks were held with the UK experts about the possibility of their becoming Vucic’s advisers on the economy, the Danas newspaper writes on Friday.

Quoting a "well-informed sources in London," the paper says
that a final agreement has not been reached yet and that consultations
will probably continue.
Byers and Lilley are prominent members of different parties
-- the former belongs to the Labor Party and was a member of the
cabinet of Tony Blair, while the latter is a conservative and held
offices in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major; at
present, he is a member of the British Parliament.

Danas's sources in London, close to the Foreign Office, say
that one of the reasons for Vucic's interest in potential collaborators
from that country is that outgoing UK ambassador in Belgrade
Michael Kirby will be taking over as head of the EU Delegation to
Serbia in September and that a strong "British connection" could very
well be useful to the Serbian government.
For the past few weeks, Vucic has been holding intensive
talks with financial and economics experts from several European
countries in an effort to induce them to take offices in Serbia's
reshuffled government.

It is not yet clear whether foreigners in a reshuffled government would

only hold advisory positions or would serve in the capacity of ministers,
Athens is interested for water agreement Sheffield with Albania, while the Greek community is losing the properties, attacked bay Albanian mafia

Outgoing government intends to provide hundreds of acres for construction in the protected area Narte

Fatmir-mediu-and-Sali-BerishaThe outgoing government barbarism knows no boundaries, affecting where and how to beat to beat.

Another scandal these days and has been at the center of the government's effort to allow construction in a protected area.

Specifically it comes to restoring an area of ​​600 hectares in the protected area Vjosë-Narte.

It was declared a protected area by a decision of the Council of Ministers on 22 October 2004 by the government of Fatos Nano.

But with the advent of Sali Berisha in power, parts of this area were announced for the construction of tourist facilities.

The decision was taken by Berisha on 14 July 2009 and hundreds of hectares of the area was declared as protected areas for tourism buildings, as the PDF document below.

These days, when the government remained in power a few hours, is being pressed to allow the Ministry of the Environment Agency Restitution to return to an area of ​​600 hectares owners.

After the scandal lies Fatmir Mediu and its people.

The scandal deepened if it is assumed that international reports urge Albania to 2020 our country reach up to 18 percent of the total in the area protected.

But the barbarity of the Berisha government has not stopped reducing the extreme this area.

Thus, in addition to intervention in the area of ​​Narte, Berisha allowed to intervene in Dajtit National Park, in the area of ​​Rrushkull, in some other areas in Vlora, doing massacres in many territories that had to be protected.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Obama to show support for Greece as Samaras visits White House
US President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on August 8, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP, Mandel Ngan)
President Barack Obama will show US support for Greece at a meeting Thursday with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as Greece prepares for more talks with creditors on additional debt relief.

Cyprus unification, trade and counterterrorism initiatives also are on the agenda, the White House said in a statement ahead of the visit.

The White House meeting precedes the Sept. 22 elections in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a third term with a promise that Germany won’t ease pressure on Greece to make reforms needed to continue receiving aid it’s received since the debt crisis almost four years ago.

Thursday’s meeting also follows the July 31 release of a report by the International Monetary Fund that said Greece, now its sixth year of recession, probably will need more money from Europe to meet its bailout objectives, while 4.4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in financing as part of a rescue package next year has yet to be identified.

“It’s an important bit of visual and substantive stagecraft,” Douglas A. Rediker, visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said of Thursday’s meeting.

Obama and Samaras aren’t likely to get deep into technical finance issues so much as to promote the message that “the US remains supportive of Greece,” said Rediker, who represented the US on the IMF’s executive board from 2010 to 2012.

That message also may be couched with an eye to timing.

“Whether political leaders and policy makers acknowledge it or not, much of the dynamic around the euro zone is somewhat frozen, pending the outcomes of the German elections,” Rediker said.

“The IMF has been very careful in the language,” he said. “Greece is supposed to continue to adhere to agreed upon conditions, and if there is a hole that develops, as anticipated, the Europeans will be expected to make up that hole,” he said.

Laura Lucas, a spokeswoman for Obama’s National Security Council, said Obama will have a chance to express support for Samaras’s reform efforts.

“The United States has an important stake in a Europe’s economic health, and in Greece’s, so we will be talking about ways we can support the structural reforms ahead of Greece to accelerate a return to growth,” Lucas said in an e-mail.

The visit may provide Samaras an opportunity to send a message to Merkel to ease off on austerity. Greece’s minister for administrative reform, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in the Athens newspaper Kathimerini, said Samaras planned to tell Obama that “austerity has been pushed too far” and that additional efforts to tax incomes “will not fly.”

In last year’s debt restructuring, under which Europeans and the IMF hold most of Greece’s debt, Greek debt is targeted to fall to 124 percent of gross domestic product in 2020, from 176 percent of GDP this year.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said on July 21 after meeting with Samaras in Athens that the US recognizes “difficult decisions and shared sacrifices” Greece has made while “continued reform will be essential to laying the foundation for sustained growth.” [Bloomberg]

Albania makes progress in tackling corruption

A recent report lauds the success of Albania's anti-corruption efforts.
By Merita Bajraktari for Southeast European Times -- 06/08/13
photoA new European Council report gives Albania high marks for anti-corruption reform. [AFP]
Albanian officials welcomed a report by the European Council's Group of States against Corruption that said that Albania has made progress in its anti-corruption efforts.
"The European Council's Group of States against Corruption concludes that Albania has now implemented satisfactorily or dealt with in a satisfactory manner all the 12 recommendations contained in the third round evaluation report," the group noted.
The evaluation focused on two themes: incriminations and transparency of party funding. The first and second round compliance reports were compiled in 2009 and 2011.
Albania Prime Minister Sali Berisha lauded the report, and praised the close collaboration between Tirana and the European Council group on legislative matters and the fight against corruption.
However, analysts and citizens said the country has more work to do.
"If there is anything that Albania continues to have as a problem without any results, is the fight against corruption. Perhaps Berisha and the European Council group simply mean achievements in the legal framework, namely the adoption of laws against corruption. As far implementation of these laws go, and when it comes to their practical application, especially in the area of corruption, the situation is alarming," Mirela Bogdani, an associate professor at the University of Tirana, told SETimes.
"On paper, these evaluation and compliance reports under the group sound great," said Agron Alibali, an Albanian lawyer, told SETimes. "In reality, the measures recommended and implemented do not seem to have any significant impact on the ground, and moreover they raise legitimate jurisdictional and equal protection issues."

Greece-Albania: Tirana raises issue of maritime border

08 August, 17:24
(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, AUGUST 8 - Tirana wants a settlement with Athens on the issue of maritime borders between the two states, Albania's prime minister-designate Edi Rama said in an interview with the country's Top Channel as reported by daily Kathimerini.

Albania's Constitutional Court has annulled a territorial agreement signed with Greece in 2009 delineating the continental shelf between the two countries in the Ionian Sea. The court argued that the deal had serious legal flaws. Athens has been unwilling to renegotiate the accord. Speaking a few days after an unofficial visit to Athens, where he met with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Rama voiced his confidence that relations with Greece will improve. ''The difficulties of the past will be overcome,'' he said.

Rama, whose Socialist Party government is due to take office in September after a landslide election win over Sali Berisha, said he will seek to improve ties with Italy as well as Turkey.

Strengthening ties with Turkey should not fuel concerns among neighboring states, Rama, a former mayor of capital Tirana, told the network.(ANSAmed).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mosque construction: Court rules against environmentalists
07/08/2013 15:50

Mosque construction: Court rules against environmentalists
The Court decided to reject the request of the environmentalists to interrupt the construction of the new mosque in Tirana.

Although most of the judges are on holidays in August, one of them reviewed the request for interrupting the construction works of the new mosque in Tirana.

The environmentalists of the Institution of National Affairs lost this battle but are now preparing the next session in September.

“The basic case will be tried on September 11th, and certainly there is a symbolism about this, because September 11th is the day when the Twin Towers in New York were hit”, declared Kastriot Frasheri, leader of INA.

“The temperature in Tirana reached 41 degrees Celsius and it is a right of everyone to demand a clean environment”, declared Qerim Ismeni, and engineer.

The Muslim Forum commented:

“We distance ourselves from empty rhetoric. Tirana needs that mosque. The request has been made for the last 80 years. We don’t have any objection against the requests of the environmentalists and we are not against their claims, but that land is property of the Albanian Muslim Community, and this decision was right for this case”, argued Roald Hysa, Secretary of the Muslim Forum.

The Albanian Muslim devotees have been praying for years on the street, due to the lack of a big mosque, and this situation is expected even for this Bayram.
Italian authorities publish Lazarat images
07/08/2013 15:45

Italian authorities publish Lazarat images
The Aerial Operative Command of the Italian Guardia di Finanza published the details of the recent operation held in the Albanian territory, from which they discovered 500 plantations of cannabis planted in Lazarat.

The specialists of the Gardia di Finanza explain that there are 319 hectares planted with Cannabis, which means that more than 1000 tons are being produced, with a total value of four billion EUR.

For the realization of this difficult areal intervention, the Italian authorities, in cooperation with the Albanian police, have worked for eight weeks and the results were achieved thanks to sophisticated appliances with digital cameras and other sensors realized by the Napoli University.

The aerial monitoring of the Albanian territory is foreseen based on an agreement signed in Tirana on 19 June 2012, between the Central Directory of the Italian Criminal Police and the Central Directory of the Albanian Police.

The discovery made to Lazarat attracted the attention of the main Italian media. The public and private televisions have made several news reports on the police operation.

Newspapers such as Repubblica or Corriere Della Sera, and other internet websites, spread the news by adding other details and curiosities.

“Lazarat, the European drug town”, or “Albania, the drug supplier”, were some of the titles. And this was not the only one operation of this kind. On July 2012 Guardia di Finanza discovered 62 plantations of cannabis with the same monitoring method.

Kosovo: Can War Heroes Be War Criminals?

The first half of 2013 in Kosovo was turbulent, with mass protests against the arrests of former fighters on war crimes charges, and convictions for organ-trafficking and the torture of prisoners.
Edona Peci
The first few months of this year did not go smoothly in Kosovo, with several protest rallies sparked by war crimes cases and legislation pushed forwards by the government.
The adoption of a controversial amnesty law at the beginning of July was preceded by demonstrations and harsh criticism by opposition parties and civil society.
The law did not pass its first reading in parliament because of a controversial section which envisaged reductions in punishments for those convicted of crimes like murder, manslaughter, harassment, defamation, assault and theft.
But it was approved a week later after the government removed the disputed section and added a new article which states that “all criminal offences which resulted in bodily harm and murder will not be amnestied”.
The legislation, which is part of the recent Pristina-Belgrade deal to normalise relations, aims to help integrate Serbs in north Kosovo by ensuring they are not prosecuted for resistance to the Pristina authorities in the past, which would prevent them from taking roles in Kosovo public institutions in the future.
But the opposition Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) Movement bitterly rejected the legislation, saying it would free “Serbian criminals”.
“Why should criminals who dealt with organised crime in the north be amnestied?” the party asked.
Meanwhile, the Kosovar Institute for Policy, Research and Development, backed by some 30 other non-governmental organisations in Pristina, launched a petition aiming to amend the legislation further by specifying who will be amnestied and for which offences.
EU rule-of-law mission criticised
The Kosovo parliament was the venue for another heated debate at the end of May.
After the arrest of seven suspects of war crimes - a former Kosovo Security Forces commander and a mayor included - several MPs asked parliament and the president to review the EU rule-of-law mission EULEX’s mandate.
Former Kosovo Security Forces commander, Sylejman Selimi, current Skenderaj/Srbica mayor, Sami Lushtaku, and five other suspects are being investigated for war crimes against civilians held in a Kosovo Liberation Army detention centre during 1998.
The arrests sparked a mass protest in Pristina, where several thousand people marched through the city to the government building to demand the men’s release.
But, the head of EULEX, Bernd Bochard, reacted in an article distributed to Kosovo media by promising that prosecutions would continue despite the criticism.
“EULEX will continue - together with its Kosovo partners - its efforts to deliver justice for the most vulnerable in this society; to bring perpetrators, no matter who they are, to justice,” Borchardt said in the article.
However, the War Veterans Association in Kosovo vowed to continue to oppose EULEX’s powers.
Former KLA fighters sentenced
Meanwhile, a court presided over by a EULEX judge convicted three former KLA guerrillas known as the ‘Llapi Group’ of torturing wartime prisoners and sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison.
Latif Gashi, now a lawmaker with the ruling Kosovo Democratic Party, was sentenced to six years in prison; Rrustem Mustafa was sentenced to four years, while the third defendant Nazif Mehmeti was sentenced to three years.
Their indictment alleged that they “ordered and participated in the beating and torture of Kosovo Albanian civilians detained in the detention centre located at Llapashtica/Lapastica, in an attempt to force those detainees to confess to acts of disloyalty to the KLA from October of 1998 until late April 1999”.
Charles Hardaway, the EULEX prosecutor in the case, told the court ahead of the verdict: “These three men are not war heroes, they are war criminals”.
But Gashi told reporters after the verdict: “The criminals are the ones we put in detention, and not us.”
Organ-trafficking convictions
At the end of April, a verdict was handed down in another case which attracted attention not only in Pristina and Belgrade but throughout the world.
A Kosovo court convicted five men of participating in an illegal organ-trading ring that sold human kidneys at the Medicus clinic near Pristina, bringing in poor people from abroad with false promises of large payments, removing their organs and transplanting them into rich patients.
The court found the former owner of the Medicus clinic, Lutfi Dervishi, guilty of organised crime and people-trafficking, sentenced him to eight years in prison and imposed a fine of 10,000 euro.
His son Arban Dervishi was found guilty of the same charges and sentenced to seven years and three months in prison, and fined 2,500 euro.
The clinic’s head anaesthetist Sokol Hajdini was sentenced to three years in prison, while assistant anaesthetists Islam Bytyqi and Sylejman Dula were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, suspended for two years.
However a senior official at the Kosovo health ministry, Ilir Rrecaj, was acquitted of abusing his position.
The indictment said that around 30 illegal kidney transplants took place at the clinic in 2008.
The EULEX prosecutor said that the transplant recipients, mainly Israelis, paid more than 70,000 euro for the kidneys.
Two foreign suspects in the case - Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez and Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen - are still at large.
After the convictions of the five Kosovars, the EU rule of law mission launched a new investigation into eight people suspected of involvement in the organ-trading ring that operated from the Medicus clinic.
The Medicus clinic was also mentioned in a Council of Europe report which alleged that elements of the Kosovo Liberation Army traded the organs of prisoners during the 1999 conflict.
But EULEX prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told BIRN that he had “found no direct evidence” of a link between Medicus and the KLA.

Film Tackles Kosovo Organ-Trafficking Scandal



A new documentary to be shown in Kosovo next week explores the international black-market trade in human organs and the role played in it by a clinic near Pristina.
Edona Peci
‘Tales from the Organ Trade’, an 82-minute documentary directed by Canadian film-maker Ric Esther Bienstock, includes coverage of the Medicus case, which saw five people jailed earlier this year for their involvement in illegally selling kidneys from a Kosovo clinic.
The documentary will be shown twice at the tenth annual DokuFest film festival in the town of Prizren, which starts next Saturday.
“’Tales From The Organ Trade’ is a gritty and unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the street-level brokers, the rogue surgeons, the impoverished men and women who are willing to sacrifice a slice of their own bodies for a quick payday, and the desperate patients who face the agonizing choice of obeying the law or saving their lives”, says a description of the film on the festival’s website.
The movie offers interviews with donors and recipients of illegally-traded organs, and also includes interviews with EU rule-of-law mission prosecutor in the Medicus case, Jonathan Ratel, and Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez who is wanted by Interpol over organ-trafficking in Kosovo but remains at large.
Poor people from Turkey, Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan were allegedly brought to the Medicus clinic after being assured that they would receive up to 15,000 euro for their kidneys.
Prosecutor Ratel said that transplant recipients, mainly Israelis, paid more than 70,000 euro for the kidneys.
At the end of April, a court in Pristina found the former owner of the Medicus clinic, Lutfi Dervishi, guilty of organised crime and people-trafficking, sentenced him to eight years in prison and imposed a fine of 10,000 euro.
Four other people were also convicted, and the EU rule-of law-mission subsequently launched a new investigation into the case based on evidence that emerged during the trial.

Obama canceled meeting with Putin

Washington - U.S. President Barack Obama has decided not to meet separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit in Russia next month,AP.
/Tanjug, file/
/Tanjug, file/
Obama's presence at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg was confirmed earlier, but the meeting of the two presidents was uncertain due to the additional tightening of relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Kremlin's decision to grant asylum to Edward Snowden.
Although the last few days neither Obama nor the White House representatives wanted to talk about the potential meeting with Putin, it is now reported that "a plan to have a separate meeting has been canceled."

"There are times when they (the Russian authorities) go back to the Cold War mentality. What I keep telling them, and their President Putin is that it is the past," Obama said in a talk show of the famous TV man Jay Leno.

Obama also indirectly criticized Russia for its treatment of homosexuals, and also said that he "is disappointed by the decision of the Kremlin to grant asylum to Snowden."

North Kosovo courts status neutral

PRISTINA - Courts in northern Kosovo will operate under Kosovo law, but will not be called courts of the Republic of Kosovo.
Courts in northern Kosovo will operate under Kosovo law, but will not be called courts of the Republic of Kosovo, Pristina daily Tribuna writes citing sources close to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
According to the source, the April 19 agreement covers the issue of second-instance courts but not basic courts.

Talks on the basic courts will continue in Brussels and it is expected that a solution will be found which will allow them to operate in accordance with Kosovo law and yet remain status neutral, writes the Albanian language newspaper.

Serbia insists that every institution which is created in the north be neutral to Kosovo's status. This position also has the support of EU facilitators since five member states do not recognize Kosovo, writes the Pristina daily.

Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci confirmed for Tribuna that the courts will continue to be discussed in Brussels, but claims the talks will focus on how they will be integrated into the Kosovo legal system.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Samaras gears up for talks with Obama in Washington

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras heads for a three-day visit to the USA next week, the highlight of which will be a meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, in the hope of further restoring Greece’s credibility as well as discussing economic and foreign policy issues with the American leader and other contacts.
Greek government sources see the meeting between Samaras and Obama as a vote of confidence from the US in Greece’s premier at a time when his coalition is under considerable pressure at home. A White House official told Kathimerini that the US government believes the Samaras government “is working very hard in challenging conditions.”
The talks come only a few days after the International Monetary Fund warned that Greece would need 11 billion euros more in bailout funding as well as a fresh round of debt relief.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visited Athens on July 21 and Greece’s adjustment program is certain to be one of the main topics of conversation when Samaras and Obama meet. However, diplomatic issues, especially given unrest in Turkey, Egypt and Syria, will also be high on the agenda. The topic of energy policy will also form part of the discussion. The US is said to be pleased by the recent agreement for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to carry Azeri natural gas to western Europe via Greece.
The White House source said he expects US as well as European companies to show an interest in bidding for gas monopoly DEPA after an attempt to sell the company to Russia giant Gazprom collapsed earlier this summer.
Apart from talks with Obama, Samaras will also meet United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris, various hedge fund managers and Greek-American businessmen. He will also speak to the editorial boards of the Washington Post and New York Times during the trip, which will also involve him traveling to New York.
In an interview with Ta Nea newspaper on Saturday, Samaras denied that he was preparing to call elections in the fall but failed to categorically rule out the possibility.
“I do not want snap elections and I will not pursue them,” he said. “However, the fact I do not want elections does not mean I am willing to accept any kind of blackmail from any interest group. If I feel that I am being blackmailed or pressured the others will bear the responsibility for what happens.”

Pavićević: Serbs and Albanians ask for help

Pristina - Liaison Officer of Belgrade with Pristina, Dejan Pavicevic, says he has not had problems so far, and that both Serbs and Albanians ask for his help.
/Tanjug, file/
/Tanjug, file/
Pavićević, who has been the liaison officer for a month and a half, says for the "Novosti" that the work of liaison officers is a pioneering endeavour because there are many technicalities to be solved, but so far, everything has worked as planned.
Mostly Serbs from Central Kosovo address him asking for help, he says, having a wide range of requirements, but also Albanians, and adds that his door is open to anyone who has a problem.

I'll find time for everybody if I can somehow help them, but also for those who can and want to help me to better perform this duty.

Stating that his office is in the EU building in Pristina, Pavicevic says that he has 24-hour police protection and has not had any problems so far.

Asked whether he has contacts with Albanian politicians in Pristina, Pavicevic said that as a liaison officer in Pristina, he "came to talk to everyone, and therefore also to the international community representatives, Albanians, representatives of NGOs, and in order to solve specific everyday problems and implement the Brussels Treaty."

He stressed that the Serbian government is very committed to dialogue and the implementation of the agreement.

In terms of local elections in Kosovo, Pavicevic says he does not like to make predictions, but "joins the message they (the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija) received from Belgrade."

Greek foreign minister planning autumn visit to Albania

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is due to visit Albania this fall, it emerged on Monday after the country’s prime minister-designate, Edi Rama, met the PASOK leader and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens during an unofficial visit.
It was a first opportunity for Rama to meet Greek officials, and vice versa, since the leader of the Socialist Party led a left-wing coalition to victory in June elections. Rama is due to start his premiership on September 9, when the Albanian parliament reopens.
Athens is particularly keen to cultivate its relationship with Rama as he played a key role in nixing a 2009 agreement between Greece and Albania for the creation of an exclusive economic zone, allowing gas and oil exploration to progress.
A new energy-related link between the two countries was created last month when the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was picked to carry Azeri natural gas to Western Europe. The pipeline will pass through Greece and Albania.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fire rages near Athens

Athens - Near Athens blazing forest fire enhanced by strong winds, with several homes damaged.
Beta - AP
Beta - AP
Because of the potential fire spread, dozens of people have been evacuated.
Witnesses say the fire damaged at least three homes in a village near the town of Marathon, where in the year 490 B.C. a historical battle between the Athenians and the Persians took place, the report said.

"The fire got to the houses, but we do not know how many are affected," said an official of the fire brigade, who wished to remain anonymous.

Police said that form the cottages in the area, about 40 kilometers northeast of Athens, between 50 and 60 people were evacuated.

The spread of fire has been fought against by more than 60 firefighters and volunteers, with the support of dozens of fire engines, four aircraft and four helicopters.

German Spy Arrested On Chios - Says He Was Contracted By Turkey!

By on 3.8.13

A Turkish-German espionage circuit was dismantled by Greece's intelligence services on the island of Chios following the arrest of a 72 year-old German national who, according to reports, was spying on Greece systematically in favor of Turkey and its shady spy agency MIT.

When authorities arrested him, according to a separate news report on defencenet, they discovered two cameras and storage cards with photos of various military camps around Chios.

Several news reports said that the suspect lived on Chios for the past four years and a following a search of his home revealed evidence suggesting that he had been snapping photographs of Greek military installations as well as other Greek infrastructure on the island for at least three years.

According to him, Turkish nationals had approached him in the summer of 2010 and contracted him to snap the photographs in exchange for a fee, which he noted ranged anywhere from 500 to 1,500 Euros -per mission-. The material, he added, was then sent either through an encrypted e-mail (which was then deleted), or was delivered to five unidentified Turkish nationals, either on Chios or in Turkey.

After a thorough search of his home, officials discovered that his personal computer also yielded a number of suspicious e-mails, including one detailing naval and military activity near the island.

One email, say the same reports, was apparently sent to an unknown recipient last week and contained intelligence data on Greek warships and military vehicles located in Chios. Quite suspiciously, in the same email, the 72 year-old German also spoke about the controversial arrest of several Turkish nationals -between the area of Chios and Oinoussa- for illegally transporting various weaponry.

More precisely, and in accordance to a dispatch from the military news site defencenet, authorities discovered and seized:
  • 3 laptops,
  • Two cameras,
  • 14 memory cards
  • 5 USB sticks,
  • 5 tourist maps of Chios
  • 2 mobile phones and
  • 1 pair of glasses with an integrated camera
And while this extraordinary case of espionage begins to unfold, authorities are also looking into the controversial fires on the island of Chios, especially those that destroyed much of the woodlands around Greek miliatary camps, with the hope of linking these incidences to the case.

HellasFrappe is going to follow the story and if there are any developments, we will post a follow-up story.