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“Politicians don’t look 100 years behind”, Avramopoulos Slams Berisha

December 2, 2012

Makis Pollatos, Proto Thema, 30.11.2012 (Translated from the Greek original by B.S.)

The exchange of diplomatic “compliments” between Athens and Tiranan continues after the sudden crisis in bilateral relations caused by the claim of the Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha, that Albanian territory extends to Preveza!

With a hard declaration, the Foreign Affairs Minister [of Greece], Dimitris Avramopoulso, commented on the way that mr Berisha tried to revoke the supposed slip of the tongue, which however uncovered the irredentist views of the Albanian regime.”Politicians do not think and speak looking 100 years behind, but they do so looking100 years forward”, declared mr Avramopoulos concerning the way that the Prime Minister of Albania chose to correct his provocative statement. The first declaration of Berisha on Wednesday was: “To Avlona, to its citizens, to Ismail Kemali Vlora and the other men of the nation who declared in this eternal city, on 28 November 1912, the independence of National Albania, the Albania of all Albanian territories, from Preveza to Presevo, from Skopje to Padgorica. Eternal respect for the father of the independence  of Albania, Ismail Kemal Vlora, the men who signed the act of declaration of independence, the citizens of Avlona and of all Albania!”.After the strong reaction of the Greek Government and the note of protest of the Ambassador of Greece in Tirana concerning the declarations of the Prime Minister of Albania that Preveza is…Albanian territory, Sali Berisha tried to refute his declarations.

“The declaration of the Prime Minister refers to the historical framework of 100 years ago and dors not express any territorial claims against our neighbours to the South, the North or the East”, underlined Erla Mehlili, spokesperson of the Prime Minister of Albania.

This declaration caused the reaction of the Greek government. The minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos cancelled his scheduled visit to Tirana for the celebrations for the 100 years of Albanian Independence, speaking of declarations that “do not contribute to the creation of a climate of friendship, trust and good neighbourhood between the two countries”. Furthermore mr Avramopoulos warned in a polite manner that the support of Athens to the demand of Tirana for the development of common initiatives in sectors of common interest, such as the political, economic and energy sectors, it not to be taken for granted.

On Thursday the Prime Minister of Albania himself returned to the issue saying: “There is a French expression that says: friend that shine through their absence”, commenting in this manner on the decision of mr Avramopoulos to cancel his visit to Tirana for the celebrations of the 100 years of independence of Albania.

Invited to comment of the issue of “Great Albania”, mr Berisha repeated that the unification of the Albanians must be achieved in the framework of the European Union.

“I think that this cause is just and all Albanians must work for it. We must work, wherever we are for this European future. This is my answer about Great Albania”, he mentioned.
See Also:
  • Aristoteleia Peloni, “Sali Berisha refuted after Hot Diplomatic Incident with Athens”, Ta Nea, 29.11.2012
  • “Irony from Berisha: “Friends shine by their absence”, Ta Nea 29.11.2012
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