Monday, April 27, 2009
Berisha swaps Cham rights for EU support
27 April 2009 -- In a hasty move that will certainly stir emotions among the Albanian minority in Greece's northern province Chameria, Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, described the relation with Greece as "excellent" on Monday, after a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Kostas Karamanlis, in Tirana.
According to Balkan Insight, The two leaders met to sign an agreement which delineates the continental shelf border in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Albania.
"Athens will back Albania’s EU integration perspective," said Karamanlis in a joint press conference with Berisha.
Karamanlis’ visit follows last week's sentencing of an ethnically Greek mayor in Albania'a Southern town of Himara, to a six month prison sentence for destroying road signs because they were not posted in Greek language.
"I assured PM Karamanlis that the Albanian government will do its utmost to back the Greek minority that exists in the country," said Berisha.
Albania recently became a member of NATO, and is expected to file for EU candidacy status on Tuesday, a move to which Greek support would be critical in overcoming skepticism some EU capitals hold against further expansion.
Bersiha, however made no mention of the continued ethnic discrimination carried out against Albanians in Chmeria.
Chameria is the area of Epirus which includes the cities of Igoumenitsa, Parga, Paramithia, Filiata and Margariti, that is the Greek province of Thesprotia. This beautiful region, has a rich Albanian heritage and it was only in 1912 that it was annexed unfairly and unjustifiably from Greece. This was the aftermath of the decision of the great powers to give Çameria to Greece, just as the great powers had made similar decisions to give Kosova and other Albanian territories to Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro.
The Greek government has been very hostile toward Çams and the main reason is the fact that Çams have a very strong Albanian identity. Another reason of the Greek hostilities is the fact that Greeks inherited a very hostile policy towards us. During the period of time, from 1854 till 1877 the Albanians of Çameria resisted successfully the attacks from Greek "Andartes". During the WWI and WWII the greek troops attacked Çameria again. The (provisional) government of Vlora (Albania) responded by sending Albanian military troops to assist the Albanian population of Çameria , but the decision of the Ambassadors Conference assigned Çameria to Greece. As a result of this decision by the great powers, Greeks forces led by the hateful figure of N. Zervas launched attackers that ended up with many innocent Albanian locals killed.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 1:37 PM