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Greece Cancels Participation in Albanian Centenary

November 28, 2012

The sudden worsening of Greek-Albanian relations confirms the view of an experience diplomat that “Greek-Albanian relations are like a thermometer. Easy to heat and difficult to cool…”

With precisely the same ease that mercury is warmed, tension was created today in the relations between Athens and Tirana. The Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos had planned to visit the Albanian capital today to be present for the celebrations for the 100 years since the declaration of independence of Albania.

Literally just before he boarded the plane that would take him to Tirana, the Greek minister of Foreign Affairs was informed of the statements of the Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha, who claimed that Albanian lands stretch from “Preveza [Greece] to Presevo [Serbia], from Skopje to Podgorodica”!The provocative statement of mr Berisha, with which the Prime Minister of Albania directly raised an issue of territorial claims over part of the Greek territory caused the angry reaction of mr Avramopoulos, who announced the cancellation of is visit to Tirana.The statement of the Foreign Affairs Ministry reads: “The Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos cancelled, at the last moment, his visit to Tirana, expressing the dissatisfaction of the Greek government over the declarations of the Albanian Prime Minister on the occasion of today’s celebration for the centenary of the independence of Albania.

Declarations such as this, do not contribute to the creation of an climate of friendship, trust and good neighbourliness between the two countries, and to the development of common initiatives in sectors of common interest, such as the political, economic and energy sectors”.

In a speech ha gave in Avlona of Albania, earlier today, mr Berisha expressed “his deepest gratitude for this brotherly welcome” and underlined: “I will read here, these few words that I wrote on this parchment: To Avlona, to its citizens, to Ismail Qemali Vlora and to the other men of the nation, who declared in this eternal city, on 28 Navember 1912, the independence of National Albania, of Albania of all Albanian territories from Preveza to Presevo, from Skopje to Podgorodica. Eternal respect for the father of independence of Albania, Ismail Qemal Vlora, to the men who signed the act of independence, to the citizens of Avlona and of all Albania! Long live the 100th anniversary!”.

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