Saturday, June 14, 2014

Albania: Omonoia Seeking Union of Himara and Loukovo

by Nikoleta Kalmouki - Jun 13, 2014

The Democratic Union of the Greek minority, “Omonoia” has expressed with an official announcement, its opposition to the proposed administrative division in the region of Himara, Albania.

 “Omonia” has proposed the union of Himara and the region of Loukovo and will intensify its efforts to achieve this goal by updating European and international actors. The president of  “Omonoia,” Vasil Bollano has already informed the Albanian government and international bodies.

During a recent meeting of the board of “Omonoia” where the issue of the administrative division was discussed, there were complaints about rigged courts and falsified data that steal the properties of the Greek community and Church. The board decided to inform the competent international organizations on the issue.

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Albania to lift obstacle to EU candidate status

Waving the flag. Pristina, 2008. [*Vanesa/Flickr]
Albania expects to soon settle a dispute with Czech utility ČEZ over its loss-making power distributor, so that it can go ahead with a $200 million investment in its electricity sector, Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri said yesterday (12 June).
The World Bank and other donors are ready to back Albania's electricity sector with funding of up to $200 million, provided the government resolves its 18-month long dispute with ČEZ.
Last week the Czech government made it plain it would block the granting of EU candidate status to Albania over the ČEZ dispute. In early June, the European Commission recommended that Albania be given the status of a candidate land. The 26-27 June EU summit is expected to make a decision on the issue.
>> Read more: Prague to block Albania’s candidate status over utility dispute
Albania stripped ČEZ's local unit of its licence and put it under the control of an administrator in January 2013. The move followed a dispute over imports and prices and prompted ČEZ to take the Balkan nation to court.
"First, we hope to end very soon this open conflict with the Czech company over ČEZ Shperndarje to get the Albanian (power) distribution in the state's hands and help the company become commercial," Gjiknuri told oil investors.
"Over $200 million from donors, including $150 million from the World Bank, is waiting to be invested, mainly in the (electricity) distribution sector. We expect a quick solution to the conflict with ČEZ so we can invest in the sector," he added.
An Albanian government source said the government expects a solution "in a matter of weeks" and that the donor money would be used to overhaul the grid, and not to pay ČEZ any potential damages.
One of Europe's poorest countries, Albania does not want to pay steep damages that would hit its energy sector, state finances and to hurt its image with foreign investors.
Gjiknuri described the sale of 76 percent of the power distribution monopoly to ČEZ in 2008 for 102 million euros ($138.87 million) as a failed privatisation that had opened a huge financial hole for the government.
"Without investments, this sector cannot progress and will be a continuous haemorrhage for the state budget," he added.
Soon after the Socialist government came to power in September last year, Gjiknuri said Albania wanted to resolve the row with ČEZ amicably, but talks have so far not produced a deal. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Albanian Media: Himara with Lukovo


Luhansk People's Republic seeks recognition from Serbia

MOSCOW -- The self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) has asked Serbia and 14 more countries to recognize its independence.
A spokesman for the entity told RIA Novosti that the message was sent to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, China, Nicaragua, Serbia, "Russian republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya," as well as South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Pridnestrovie.
A letter sent by the Supreme Council of the LPR pleads that the People's Republic of Luhansk is recognized as a sovereign, independent state.

After a change of the regime in Kiev, the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine in May held independence referendums. According to local officials, around 90 percent of citizens who turned out in Luhansk voted in favor of independence.

Russian tanks in Ukraine "unacceptable"

KIEV -- Petro Poroshenko has announced that he told Vladimir Putin that the entry of three Russian tanks into the Ukrainian territory was "unacceptable."
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
This is what Poroshenko's spokesman "wrote on Facebook," agencies reported.
The Russian and Ukrainian presidents spoke on the phone.

The Ukrainian president also talked about plans to resolve the crisis in the east of the country in the first phone conversation with Putin since he took office last weekend.

But it was "not possible to conclude what Putin could have responded" from the short Kremlin press release, said the AFP news agency.

"The Ukrainian president informed Vladimir Putin of his plan for resolving the situation in south-eastern Ukraine," said the statement issued by spokesman Dmitry Peskov to Russian agencies.
Albania: CEZ privatization increased debts

CEZ privatization increased debts
Recent data from the Energy Regulation Entity show that the privatization of the distribution system plunged the energy sector in a deep financial crisis.

In the annual report of 2013, the entity notes that as soon as the company passed to the private operators, their debt increased and by 2009, the debt of consumers to CEZ was around 197 million USD, but by the end of 2013 it reached 713 million USD, or 6% of the Gross Domestic Product. 523 million of this are owed by individual families.

Right after that are businesses, with 101 million USD of debts, while the public enterprises have also created a 88 million USD debt.

Two days ago the government approved a law that stops businesses to take part in tenders of they don’t have paid all energy debts. But the data show that the accumulated debt in the energy sector will require other strong measures.

These are only the known obligations that come from bills that CEZ has not been able to collect. There is another significant part of energy that is lost or stolen in the network.

Greece sues for 7 billion euros over German submarines that have never sailed

Exclusive: Military deal which became symbolic of financial crisis now at centre of international legal case over Greece’s geo-political reputation

Greek Submarines in Shipyards
In total the submarine deal has cost at least three billion euros Photo: Greek Navy Press Office
Greece has launched a multi-billion euro claim against one of Germany’s biggest defence firms who sold the financially-beleaguered country four submarines in a complicated deal which has become symbolic of the country’s economic woes.
The controversial deal has threatened Greece’s position in Nato, according to well-placed sources, led to the criminal prosecution of the country’s defence minister and the resignation of a senior Naval figure.
The Telegraph today publishes photographs of the four submarines, which are still unfinished in a Greek shipyard almost 15 years after they were first ordered.
It can now be disclosed that the Greek Government has launched a seven-billion euro compensation claim against ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Abu Dhabi Mar – the defence firm and shipyard now responsible for the order.
A 200-page document sent to the ICC International Court of Arbitration states that Greece’s international position was compromised by the failure to supply the submarines and its position in Nato was undermined.
“The issue is so sensitive that we could claim even higher economic compensation from the Arabs and the Germans because the submarines are connected with the geostrategic role of the country, its place within NATO, and the fact that the country is awaiting the finalisation of the Exclusive Economic Zone which has brought several investors who want to invest in its natural resources,” said a well-placed source.
Following years of delay, the Greek Government has recently insisted that the submarines are finally due to start full sea trials imminently, although no date has been set. When one of the Greek submarines first went to sea, it was found to list heavily in certain sea conditions.
Greece’s spending on defence systems before the economic meltdown has attracted controversy, with the four submarines coming to symbolise the waste. The country was Europe’s largest importer of weapons, spending four percent of GDP on armaments. It had 1,300 tanks – more than twice as many as Britain.
Greek politicians claimed that Germany encouraged Greece to spend vast sums on weaponry and then criticised the country for profligacy. However, a 3 billion euro deal to buy the four submarines – vessels the country does not even need – have become a tipping point and the new Greek administration now appears determined to seek compensation.
The ICC appeal is likely to be part of Greece’s attempts to shift the blame for its massive overspending onto other European countries. The International Court of Arbitration resolves international commercial disputes.
“If there is one country that has benefited from the huge amounts Greece spends on defence it is Germany," said Dimitris Papadimoulis, an MP with the Coalition of the Radical Left party, said previously.
Last year, the former defence minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos was jailed after being found guilty of receiving an €8m bribe from Ferrostaal, one of the German companies involved in the deal. Ferrostaal agreed to pay a €140m fine.
Stelios Fenekos, a 52-year-old vice admiral of the 22,000-man strong Greek Navy, also resigned his position in the wake of a row over the vessels. He said he did so in protest at the Greek defence minister’s decision to purchase the submarines, as well as other decisions taken that Mr Fenekos considers “politically motivated”.
"How can you say to people we are buying more subs at the same time we want you to cut your salaries and pensions?" said Admiral Fenekos.
The four Class 214 submarines have been mothballed in the Skaramangas shipyard near Athens in Greece for over two years, having been ordered over 15 years ago.
Workers left the shipyard in April 2012, but were recently told they would be rehired on wages 35 per cent lower than their previous salaries.
In total the submarine deal has cost at least three billion euros – three times more than the EU demanded that the Greek administration save from the country’s budget by cutting workers’ pensions, a move that sparked violent unrest in Athens.
Although the economy of the country is now slowing improving, Greece has received international financial bailouts which total 215 billion euros. In return for the bailout, Greek was ordered to adopt extreme austerity measures.
The four boats that are currently in Skaramangas were finally handed over to the Greek navy in March, although the deal was first signed in 2000. At that time, the Greeks ordered three Class 214 submarines with an option on a fourth.
ThyssenKrupp Marine bought the shipyard, which was responsible for building the submarines in 2002 and subsequently sold on a large shareholding to Abu Dhabi Mar.
The Navy is expected to carry out minor modifications on them and undertake sea trials in Souda Bay, Crete, before commissioning them into service.
The submarines are almost 214 feet long and carry 5 officers and 22 crew.
ThyssenKrupp Marine declined to comment as the company said it had not seen details of the claim.
Greece must put conditions in Albanian rapprochement with EU
To demand to stop all kinds administrative and judicial machinations against the Greek ethnic community. Do not join the Greeks of Himara Region in a single municipality with Muslim fanatics as they want Tirana

Written by Constantine Cholevas

The European Commission announced that it was time to begin discussions on possible integration of Albania into the European Union. I do not know where this optimism is based commissioners, but I believe that Greece is entitled and obliged to set specific and strict conditions for open discussion. Albania is not well carried on many issues about Hellenism and generally demonstrates bad faith towards Athens and the Greek ethnic community that lives there.

1) First Greek term must be the direct collaboration and licensing by the Albanians to collect the bones of Greek soldiers of 1940-41. The Commission rightly points Associates Fallen that most of the 8,000 officers and soldiers of the saga of Northern Epirus mountains or have not yet been identified or are buried in mass graves. From the time our ancient ancestors played in the theater the "Antigone" of Sophocles, the price to the dead is a basic requirement to be considered civilized a society. Albania has to demonstrate in practice if it is indeed ready to join the European democratic institutions.

2) We ask the greatest respect for the rights of the Greeks, whether they live in Northern Epirus or elsewhere in the country. To redo the census of minorities with a clear record of national origin and religion. For the previous census have complained about being held by serious irregularities, so the result was not recognized by the Orthodox Church of Albania and of the organization of the Greek minority Omonia. I remind you that this census was partially financed by the European Union, which had considered legitimate and useful record of religion and nationality (eg member of the Greek minority or Montenegrin), provided that it is voluntary and with the consent the Enumeration.

3) To ask the EU require the cessation of any anti-Hellenic propaganda parties, press or textbooks. In textbooks, which share even in Greek children of Northern Epirus, the Albanian state-regardless of party-ruled cultivates the myth of the great "natural" Albania, which should include the territories of several Greek Epirus and Western Macedonia. Albanians in the Balkans develop a dangerous nationalism Recently expressing the unification of the educational system between the "two Albanian states' Kosovo and Albania.

4) To demand to stop all kinds administrative and judicial machinations against the Greek ethnic community. Do not join the greeks of Himara Regionr in a single municipality with Muslim fanatics as they want Tirana. To annul the judgments which grossly unfair to landowners and Greek Orthodox Church. To regulate by law the return of all the churches and monasteries which nationalized the communist regime.

5) To indicate the two major Albanian parties, Democratic and Socialist that do not comply with the demands of the Chams descendants of war criminals of 1941 to 1944, which start from claiming land in Thesprotia and arrive to claim Greek territories in Epirus.

6) This year marks 100 years since the Protocol of Corfu in 1914, which was signed by Albanians and then patrons Italians after the revolt of the Northern. Bear in mind our partners autonomy of the Greeks in Albania called the null that the implemented text. Even though they have clearly changed circumstances, international agreements should not koureliazontai.

Source "Democracy Newspaper"

Territorial division, Himara against the union with Laberia

Residents of Himara were expressed today against the proposal for the new territorial division that provides the union of a territorial unit of Himara, with Vranishti.

Minister of local issues, Bled Çuçi was today in Himara to unveil in front of the interest groups the proposal for the new territorial division, but has faced fierce oppositions from residents who have expressed dissatisfaction against the union with Vranishtin, a village of Vlora, because according to some speakers, some of the residents of those areas, are dealing with drugs and have high crime rates, so they do not want to get involved with them.


The land in Himara belongs to the people of Himara! Land and property registration NOW!

Himara Organizations Address Letter to EU Ambassador Stefan Fule

June 9, 2014

The Honorable Štefan Füle
European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy
200, Rue de la Loi
B - 1049 Brussels (Belgium)

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

We are writing to you on behalf of the 11,000 citizens of Himara, Albania and members of the diaspora.

As the Republic of Albania’s European Union candidacy status decision approaches on June 2014, we wish to bring to your attention the plight of the people of Himara, Albania and their disenfranchisement of their basic human right of property ownership.

Progress in the area of property rights is one of the 12 key priorities the European Commission identified in order for Albania to be considered for candidacy status.  The Commission’s 2012 report found progress has been made towards this priority by the adoption of a comprehensive strategy on property reform. However, we wish to inform you that for the people of the municipality of Himara, any progress on property rights must entail a change in the laws and policies of the Albanian government which currently do not allow for the return of property to Himara’s rightful owners.  Rather those laws and policies are being used by the government to facilitate a land grab of Himara for the benefit of ex-communist party officials and the mafia.

 To date, 23 years since the end of the communist regime, not one Himariotan has yet to receive title to their rightful property.  Rather, their lands are being appropriated, sold to third parties by groups with shady ties, or given as ‘concessions’ to unscrupulous interests and developers. To the people of Himara,   their lands are ‘under attack’, their patrimony is being sold, and they are being marginalized in their historic homeland.

 Albanian Land Law 7501 and its amendments effectively allow for the distribution of only 20% of the land of Himara that was confiscated in 1945 by the previous communist regime. It does not allow for the restitution of the family properties, Orthodox Church property or communal village property that was confiscated. As Himara lies along the Ionian coast of the ‘Albanian Riviera’, the cover of the law is being used to claim the remaining 80% in a land grab of valuable coastal property eyed for touristic development. This has fueled rampant corruption and land conflicts between historic owners and those claiming their land. The perpetrators of this land grab believe that they can act with impunity as there has been limited international monitoring of developments or independent investigation of events.

For 23 years the people of Himara have consistently called for the restitution of all the land that was confiscated by the prior communist regime to the people of Himara.

As Law 7501 has yet to be implemented in Himara or along the Ionian coast to the south, and as accurate property records exist in state hands, this should be a relatively straightforward process to carry out.  True property rights and reform would spur lawful development and growth in an area which has the potential to benefit the country economically as a whole.

We are in support of the Republic of Albania’s European Union ascension and progress on all 12 key priorities, including that of property reform as it applies to the country as a whole.

 We also strongly believe that it is in the best interests of the Republic to hold itself to the high standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its respect for the rights of property ownership. We encourage the European Council to address this issue with the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama and encourage that government to exemplify bold leadership and take decisive steps to implement true property rights in Himara based on the full restitution of property to its rightful owners.

We look forward to the opportunity of discussing this matter with you further.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Himarriotan Society of America, Annapolis MD
Himara Community, Tirana Albania
Himara Union, Athens Greece
Shoqata Bregdeti, Tirana Albania
Drymadioton Adelfotita, Athens Greece

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Czech Republic, pressure before status

Czech Republic, pressure before status
The five member countries who blocked the status on December have given positive signals for this June, but news from the Czech Republic suggest that the candidate status might be blocked from Prague, due to a conflict that the Albanian government has with the Czech company, CEZ.

The news has been announced by the Czech news agency CTK, which says that sources from Brussels confirm that the Czech Republic is preparing to say “no” to the candidate status of Albania in the EU summit that will be held by the end of June.

The cause for this decision is a conflict that has started in the beginning of the past year between the former Albanian government and the CEZ company, In June 2013, the Regulatory Entity of Energy revoked the license of the Czech company, and the Albanian government appointed an administrator to lead the company. As result, CEZ lost control over the energy distribution company.

A few months ago, the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, and the Minister of Energy, Damian Gjiknuri, announced new talks with the Czech company to find a solution and avoid the Court of Arbitrage, where CEZ has filed a lawsuit against the Albanian government.

According to the CTK, Prague has launched critics saying that the talks between Albania and CEZ didn’t come to any solution. “CEZ demands compensation from Albania to defend its investments”, the Czech media says.

The European Commission recommended the candidate for Albania in the past week, and the Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, announced the conclusion of this report during his visit in Tirana. Fule declared in a joint press conference with Rama that he wants “to make it very clear that the Report of the Commission recommends the candidate status for Albania without any doubt”.
Kosovo, Haradinaj next Prime Minister?

Kosovo, Haradinaj next Prime Minister?
The opposition parties in Kosovo have reached an agreement for avoiding a third mandate to the PDK of Hashim Thaci.

The Democratic League of Isa Mustafa, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, with Ramush Haradinaj, and the Initiative of Fatmir Limaj, have reached a cooperation agreement for creating the new government, despite the fact that the PDK won more votes.

They say in a joint release that what they call “the government of hope” will focus on economic development, creating new jobs and fight without compromises against the organized crime and corruption.

They express their commitment to make possible Kosovo’s accession to NATO and the European Union. The letter says that they have decided for Ramush Haradinaj as Prime Minister. The Parliament Speaker will be the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, while the President will be selected based on the Constitution. The “Initiative” will be represented with one Deputy Prime Minister.

All other political and institutional responsibilities will be shared based on the numbers in Parliament. The leaders of the political parties promise to continue consultations with the rest of the opposition and the parties of communities.

Based on the electoral law, the party coming with most votes has the right to form the new government. But if the PDK cannot secure the necessary majority for creating the majority, this right goes to the second most voted party, the LDK.

If the LDK would receive this right, the agreement of LDK, AAK and initiative would come to life.

PDK: Agreement, just pressure

Hajredin Kuqi from the PDK reacted and considered this agreement as anti-constitutional and pressure for raising the bargain.

“I think that they need to read the Constitutions. They have good law experts. The citizens’ will cannot be changed with an anti-constitutional agreement”, Kuqi declared.

Turkish foreign minister visits Serbia

BELGRADE -- Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday the Balkan nations were "as one family" and could settle all their differences "in a brotherly way."
His host, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić, pointed out after their meeting that "some actions and statements should no be an obstacle to good relations."
"Turkey and Serbia view some parts of history and the present in different ways, which is understandable, " Dačić told a joint news conference after a meeting with Davutoglu.

That is why it is necessary for the two countries to seek common interest in the future, he noted.

According to Dačić, Serbia and Turkey wish to reduce any tension in their relations, bring them to normal and strenthen them.

The two countries have a lot in common, Davutoglu stated.

"Turkey is willing to work with Serbia towards a better future of both Serbia and the Balkans, because it knows Serbia is the backbone of the Balkans," he remarked.

When asked if his visit meant the end of the dispute caused by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's statement from last year that "Kosovo was Turkey and Turkey was Kosovo," Davutoglu avoided a direct response.

He said Belgrade was "a friendly city that he liked to visit often."

A common goal of the two countries is to develop their mutual relations in economy, sport, culture, science, security, defense and crisis response, the two officials agreed, adding that a Serbian-Turkish business forum should be held in Turkey in the fall.

Trade between Serbia and Turkey in 2013 was EUR 760 million, Dačić stated, adding that 170,000 Serbian tourists visited Turkey that year, 30,000 Turkish tourists came to Serbia.

Dačić thanked the Turkish government for its assistance during the recent floods, adding that it was now vital to Serbia to collect funds from international donors to repair the areas hit by the disaster.

Turkey has had bitter experiences with earthquakes and was deeply distressed by the disaster that struck Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and is willing to provide any help possible, Davutoglu stated.

He extended sympathy on behalf of the Turkish citizens to the people of Serbia for their losses during the disaster.

When asked if a meeting between Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey would be organized "soon" - Dačić said that "the focus now should be on rebuilding the relations between Serbia and Turkey."

Commenting on the situation regarding Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines, the two officials said it was "in the hands of the appropriate ministries and the airlines themselves, but added that there was a joint interest in resolving the problem."

According to media reports, Turkish Airlines could lose "ideal landing and take-off slots at the Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla starting from July 1 because the related agreement between Serbia and Turkey stipulates reciprocity."

The Turkish company has 21 flights out of Belgrade a week, while Air Serbia has only 7 from Istanbul, and not from the main airport, Ataturk, but from the smaller one, Sabiha Gokcen.


Relations between Serbia and Turkey deteriorated last year after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan visited Kosovo, where he stated that "Turkey is Kosovo, and Kosovo Turkey."

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić reacted to the statement to day it was tantamount to "an act of aggression without weapons," while Ivica Dačić, who served as prime minister at the time, called it "a direct provocation."

His first deputy at the time, Aleksandar Vučić, sought an "urgent apology".

Ahmet Davutoglu said a short time later that his country had no intention of apologizing, and said Erdogan's statement "contained no insult, only positive feelings."

His reference to Kosovo, Davutoglu continued, "was not political in nature, nor did it express an expansionist policy."

In December, Nikolić canceled a planned trilateral meeting between Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Turkey.

Turkey has recognized Kosovo as independent after ethnic Albanians made a unilateral declaration in early 2008. Serbia rejected the proclamation as unconstitutional and considers the territory its province.

Bilirakis: The rights of Himara, in U.S. Congress

Florida Republican Congressman, Gus Bilirakis, raises the question of  Himara and property in Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress

Territorial division, no deviation from the US Departament Plan, Himara unit away together with Lukovo

Himariot lobby continues efforts to the issue of property in the U.S. The Department.

 Washington. Florida Republican Congressman, Gus Bilirakis has raised "the issue Himara" in a special seance for the Western Balkans Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress. According to the agenda up to Republican Congressman, Himara issue, should with new administrative territorial division, must be treated with caution by the Albanian government, based on historical retrospective of the province as well as human rights together with Lukovo.  

Bilirakis has raised the issue of Himara, this case as a permanent problem of the Albanian nationalist policy, for which the region inhabited by ethnic Greek majority, is one of the biggest clashes with Albanian nationalist.

"But in essence, the issue of property. Albanian government has the duty to prevent spoliation of the  Himara Community and Orthodox church, which became the subject of the Albanian mafia and oligarchs. Albanian government has approved permits for the construction of tourist villages, claiming in the name of development without legitimate desire of the owners, leaving open a conflicting issue with the community, "notes Republican Congressman Bilirakis.

Two months ago, the Himariot Lobby in USA, has had intensive contacts with representatives of the U.S. Department regarding the case of property of citizens with U.S. citizenship, but the Albanian government continues to make demagoguery simultaneously approving decisions which conflicts with the legitimate owners violating the rights of human.

An U.S. congressman, is the second time that calls the Albanian government to respect the rights of Himara .. In administrative elections of ​​Albania in 2000, when in the Municipality of Himara the Albanian politic partiesall united under a nationalist coalition, made massive manipulation of votes for which the Chairman of the
Foreign Committee of the U.S. Congress  Benjamin Gilman,  has called the government of Ilir Meta, to stop violence and nationalists attack against Himara.

English Albanian Greek

Congressman Gus Bilirakis honored by HSA

On May 21, 2014 the Himarrioton Society of America was pleased to host a reception honoring Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Florida's 12th Congressional District representative. Congressman Bilirakis, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is Vice Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, is a member of the Congressional Caucas on Hellenic Issues and has been a big supporter of issues of concern to the Greek American community. We had a fruitful discussion of the issues affecting the Himarrioton community after which Mr. Bilirakis spoke encouragingly about our issues. He elaborated as well on his efforts advocating for religious freedom in Turkey and an end to the occupation of Cyprus. On behalf of all our members, we would once again like to thank Congressman Bilirakis for his dedicated service and for giving us the opportunity to honor him. 
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Monday, June 9, 2014

PDK wins elections in Kosovo

PDK wins elections in Kosovo
The Democratic Party of Kosovo leads the elections with 39,91%, the Democratic League of Kosovo with 25,83% and the Self-Determination Movement with 13,57%.

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo received 9,53%, the Initiative for Kosovo 5,29% and the New Kosovo Alliance is still under the threshold with 4.68%.

The materials were sent at the ballot counting center, while the verifications are undergoing. The Central Election Commission is expected to declare the preliminary results this Monday evening. 43% of the total voters participated in these elections.

These are the second Parliamentary elections of Kosovo since the declaration of independence, and the first ones to be held in areas with Serbian majority.

The Kosovo Democratic Party declared victory at midnight, with the current party leader, Hashim Thaci.  After thanking all voters, Thaci declared that they will start working to realize the New Mission, which plans to create 200,000 new jobs and a 1,5 billion EUR fund.

The Democratic League of Kosovo made no press release, and Arban Abrashi from their electoral headquarters said they will hold a declaration on Monday.

The Central Election Commission is continuing with the ballot counting and declared that the results will be declared during Monday.

The Self-Determination Movement considered the result as successful, and that they have doubled their votes. According to the Self-Determination, this result shows a consolidation of the left concept among Kosovo voters.

The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, sent a congratulatory message to the Kosovo Democratic Party leader, Hashim Thaci, which was posted on his Facebook profile.

Fatmir Sejdiu, former President of Kosovo, declared that these elections showed the democratic culture of the Kosovo citizens.

He added that after the election will be over in a democratic manner, the real winners will be the citizens of Kosovo and the European perspective.

South Stream "looks irreversible" - Bulgarian minister

BEIJING -- Bulgaria has not given up plans to build the South Stream natural gas pipeline, Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev was quoted as saying on Monday.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
He also described the Gazprom-led project as "irreversible," Reuters reported.
On Sunday, Bulgaria announced it had halted work on the pipeline "after the European Union and United States expressed concerns about the project," the news agency said.

Last week the EU asked the country "to suspend work pending a decision on whether it complies with EU law."

Stoynev, who is visiting China, said he was "certain South Stream would be built once disputes over how to structure it as a European project are cleared":

"If we look at the situation strategically and without emotions, the South Stream project looks irreversible and important for both Europe and Bulgaria. I am convinced that all pending issues will find a solution."

"We really are actively working to close the open issues with the European Commission, meaning that we have not abandoned the project," Stoynev said.