Saturday, September 24, 2011
TOM LANTOS URGES THE ALBANIAN PRESIDENT TO HOLD FREE CENSUS RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
US Congressman Tom Lantos: "Albania must respect the Census based on the full rights of the human rights values"
1996: PRO-GREEK LOBBY GIVES EVIDENCE AGAINST BERISHA AND DP IN WASHINGTONIsuf Hajrizi (ICK) reports from Washington, June 21 Several circles in the United States continue to launch attacks against President Sali Berisha and the DP since the May 26 polls.
In an evidence (the second of this kind within this week) provided to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, some of the biggest opponents to the policy of the Albanian President and government in America accuse the president of "flagrant violation of the electoral law" dubbing him "eater of the Albanian people's rights and freedoms" and "ruiner of democracy in Albania".
In the evidence initiated by the democrat Congressman from California, Tom Lantosh, testify Nicholas Gage, chairman of the Pan-epirus Federation in the U.S. for the defence of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania, Bianca Jagger, human rights activist and wife of the renowned rock-'d- roller Mick Jagger, Fred Abrahams, human rights adviser in the Human Right Watch/Helsinki and Gramoz Pashko, founder of the Democratic Alliance Party.
The evidence which, according to a participant, should have been called "Let's attack Berisha to death", was completely unilateral. The round table lacked witnesses to defend the DP and President Berisha. Not because someone of the president's suite would not be allowed to testify in his defence, but because there was no anyone to undertake it. Also, lacking were community members who would oppose the international organisations experts by providing adequate facts.
In this way, the witnesses freely threw stones at the Albanian President, not fearing anyone from the other side to oppose them.
"The continuation of the Sali Berisha regime will ruin any hope of the Albanian people to see a genuine democracy in their own state and will eventually cause the loss of many American lives striving to stop it", Gage threatened. Grieving for the Greek minority rights in Albania, Gage said that the Berisha government is carrying out "a kind of peaceful ethnic cleansing of the Greek people in Albania".
"For the sake of ethnic harmony in Albania, for the sake of stability in the Southern Balkans, for the sake of the loss of Americans' lives the conflict would cause there, but above all , for the sake of human dignity, I hope you will do everything possible to stop Albania's advance towards autocracy, so that democracy be rooted for the first time in the history of this country, and guarantee the full rights of the Greek minority", Gage urged the president of the Committee of Organising Commission, Lantosh.
Gage has been backed up by Congressmen Lantosh against the Abanian government. The congressman from California has himself criticized the policy of the Albanian government on the eve of the elections concerning the Greek minority in Albania. The main reason hiding behind Lantosh's motive on Albania is believed to be the very powerful Greek lobby in America which has included Lantosh and others in the Congress, as well as Gage's close ties with the most powerful people in the U.S. administration. A month ago, Gage was not allowed to enter Albania as a persona non grata.
Gage was accompanying Congressman Lantosh, who, after visiting Greece, crossed into Albania (while Gage was stopped at the border). When coming back to the Congress, Gage complained to the Secretary of State and his congress colleagues regarding the human rights of the Greek minority people in Albania, not at all mentioning the severe treatment of Albanians in Greece, where they not only are deprived of the minority rights but often have to change their name for the sake of staying in that state.
One of those who presented himself as "a victim of beating" was the DAP leader, Gramoz Pashko. He confessed "police brutality" and of being beaten during the electoral process.
Many activists of the Albanian-American community and American analysts of the Albanian policy hold that the reason for Albania's being attacked so much of late is the lack of a real Albanian lobby in the United States.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Albanian Foreign Minister Edmond Haxhinasto has asked the head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Muhammad Jibril, to recognize Kosovo as an independent state, when the government is formed in Tripoli.
|Lybians in Benghazi celebrate the fall of Tripoli | Photo by : Fonet|
Haxhinasto and Jibril met on Friday on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, the United States and 22 of the 27 EU member countries have recognised the former Serbian province. But Serbia, supported by Russia, has firmly rejected the move and some powerful countries, including China, have also not recognised it.
Five EU member states, Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece and Romania, are all firmly opposed to recognition.
In July, Albania recognized Libya’s main opposition group, the National Transitional Council, as the country’s legitimate government. It also backed the UN-mandated no-fly zone designed to protect Libyan civilians.
Ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had strong ties to Serbia dating back to the non-aligned movement and his studies in ex-Yugoslavia and had refused to recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
Albanian Riviera a victim of its successBy Birgit Ulrich
Albania was ranked as the world's top destination to be visited in 2011 by Lonely Planet and the Balkan country has been growing in popularity with tourists for several years.
One of the top attractions is what has become known as the Albanian Riviera, a 120-kilometre stretch of beaches and villages between the cities of Vlore and Sarande. However, the huge increase in tourist numbers has led to a boom in hotel construction along this stretch of coast.
"There's no sign of idyllic fishing villages and isolated sandy beaches. Hotels have been built directly on the shoreline wherever possible," complained backpacker Dirk, who together with his girlfriend picked Albania as their holiday location after reading Lonely Planet's glowing recommendation.........
more see: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10753868
OSCE blocks the registration of property in Himara Region
Important role according to information, has played the pressing of the Himara Community from USA
After the protests of NGOs of Himara Region, in the end, OSCE, is convinced that the registration process, without the legal act of the old of native generations based by the Albanian Constitution, can not continue.
Maybe not made public yet, but reliable sources for SManalysis, declare that the OSCE has authorized the company, "Lorenzo" to block the second phase of land registration, in Himara Region.
According to sources from the OSCE, the European Union, has requested that the registration process should take place in a calm climate, which has resulted in the ground as there was very complicated.
Himara NGOs of the Region, have sought through protests, properties and lands that should be returned Himara Community and not abducted by the Mafia, urging OSCE, the old record of original properties, to the native Himara, not documents 7501 property Law.
Important role according to information, has played the pressing of the Himara Community from USA, where they urged the State Department, to follow the registration process inside OSCE Mission, based under the agreement between USA and Albania for the properties of the US sitizens that live in Albania.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Vojvodina opens office in BrusselsSource: Tanjug
BRUSSELS -- Vojvodina Executive Council Chairman Bojan Pajtić said Thursday that Vojvodina's representatives had started operating in Brussels.
He added that this represented the realization of an agreement with the Serbian government on the foundation of the province's office at the EU headquarters.
“Vojvodina's representatives started operating in Brussels, and they will carry out their tasks at the building belonging to the Serbian mission to the EU, which by itself proves Vojvodina's commitment to Serbia,” Pajtić underlined.
Identifying development and jobs creation as the provincial government's priorities, he noted that in the recent years Vojvodina had attracted the foreign investments worth around EUR 6.3bn.
“Consequently, the main task of our representatives in Brussels will be to attract more foreign investments so as to secure the province's greater participation in the EU development funds,” the Vojvodina Executive Council chairman stressed.
As it was published on the Vojvodina government's website, Pajtić highlighted that a sum of around EUR 50bn of the Danube Strategy funds was dedicated to application, so Vojvodina's representatives in the EU should secure a greater presence, lobby for the EU funds and thus facilitate a faster development of the province, the Provincial Culture and Public Information Secretariat released.
On Wednesday, Pajtić presented the potentials of Vojvodina towns to members of the Committee of the Regions of the European Parliament as part of the manifestations “Serbia Days in Brussels”.
Former Transport Minister Fatmir Limaj handed himself in to District Court of Pristina at a detention hearing at on Thursday.
An international judge is soon to decide whether the EULEX arrest warrant for Limaj is to be executed.
Hans-Christian Klassing, the EULEX spokesperson confirmed to Balkan Insight Limaj was at the hearing.
"The judge will decide if he[Limaj] will be detained or not," he said adding that the hearing had ended. "We are waiting for the judges verdict. We have to wait, and see."
Local media reported that Limaj's move was a result of a compromise with the EULEX prosecution so that he does not get arrested.
His lawyer Tome Gashi has confirmed that Limaj was at the court.
EULEX’s prosecutor Maurizio Salustro, who is handling the case, was seen entering the District Court at 5pm while Limaj appeared about 30 minutes later.
Limaj's move came after Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that parliamentarians are not immune from prosecution if sought by the law.
The ruling, that came in effect on Thursday, allows that the former transport minister may be arrested. He was indicted for alleged war crimes committed at a KLA prison during the conflict in 1999.
EULEX, in March issued an arrest warrant for Limaj, who is currently a member of parliament for the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which is led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
Prosecutors from the EU law mission questioned Limaj in March but did not arrest him. Though immune from prosecution as a member of parliament, immunity does not prevent police from investigating allegations.
Limaj, who remains a popular figure in Kosovo, has already faced a war crimes trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY.
He was charged, along with Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala, with committing war crimes against Serbs and Albanians suspected of collaborating with Serbia during the Kosovo war.
In November 2005 the ICTY acquitted him and he returned home to a hero’s welcome, with street celebrations in the capital, Pristina.
Turkey-North Cyprus gas deal set to raise regional tensions
(Reuters) - Turkey signed a deal with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state on Wednesday that will pave the way for offshore gas exploration, in a move set to escalate regional tensions over Mediterranean energy reserves.
On Tuesday, the Greek Cypriot government, which has been at loggerheads with Turkey since its military invasion of north Cyprus in 1974, said drilling had begun in a southeastern offshore block, adjoining a gas field in Israeli waters reputed to be the world's largest find of the past decade.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described the offshore drilling by Cyprus and Turkey's estranged ally Israel as "madness" before signing the deal with the Turkish Cypriots to clear the path for Turkish exploration off northern Cyprus.
"We had previously brought to the international community's attention in a clear manner ... that if the Greek Cypriots started drilling, we would take a number of concrete steps together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," Erdogan was quoted as saying by state news agency Anatolian.
"To reflect this commitment, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus today in New York signed a continental shelf agreement."
Turkey is the only country to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state, while the Greek Cypriot government is internationally recognized and represents the island in the European Union.
Both Cyprus and Greece denounced the agreement as illegal.
"Turkey has committed yet another illegal act by signing an agreement with an illegal entity, such is the pseudo-state, which has been condemned by U.N. resolutions," government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said in a statement.
"Turkey is attempting to prevent the Republic of Cyprus from
exercising a self-evident right, one which is acknowledged by the international community, which asks that Turkey respect international legality. Unfortunately Turkey persists in acting illegally."
Turkey's neighbor and historic rival, Greece, reiterated its criticism of the pact.
"This move from Turkey is against international law and U.N. Security Council decisions. The so-called 'deal' is invalid and groundless," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Cyprus has been split since the 1974 invasion in the aftermath of a brief Greek-inspired coup in Nicosia, and Turkey maintains a military presence in the Turkish Cypriot state.
Turkey argues that the Greek Cypriot government should not have started gas explorations before reaching a settlement in reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriots, and that the mineral wealth belonged to both communities.
"The Greek Cypriot administration and Israel are engaging in oil exploration madness in the Mediterranean," Anatolian quoted Erdogan as telling Turkish reporters early on Wednesday.
"Actually, the Greek Cypriot administration's drilling activity is nothing but sabotage of the negotiation process between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots," he added.
Peace talks between the two sides were launched in 2008 but progress has been slow. The United Nations is tentatively eyeing a settlement before July 2012 when Cyprus is due to assume the European Union's rotating presidency.
The row over hydrocarbon reserves erupted as relations between Turkey and Israel broke down over Israel's refusal to apologize for killing Turkish activists aboard a ship carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza last year.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive in the region and it disputes the offshore territorial agreement struck last year by Cyprus and Israel.
Texas-based Noble Energy which is carrying out the drilling operations for Cyprus, has been conducting offshore drills in the eastern Mediterranean for Israel since 1998.
Turkey has said it would use its navy and air force to escort any gas exploration vessels it may dispatch in the Mediterranean if Cyprus pressed ahead with drilling.
Erdogan again referred to Turkey's military muscle on Wednesday: "Our assault boats and frigates are already in the region," Anatolian quoted him as saying.
Last week the Turkish leader said warships could be sent to the eastern Mediterranean any time and Israel could not do whatever it wants there.
The European Commission has called for Cyprus and Turkey to show restraint in the gas row and work toward a settlement on the island.
Cyprus has said it will block negotiations Turkey began in 2005 to join the European Union if Ankara continues to oppose its gas exploration. Turkey has said it will freeze relations with the EU Presidency if Cyprus is given the role next July before a settlement over the island is reached.
An ongoing road development project in southern Albania could threaten archaeological heritage sites, a member of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, ICMS, has warned.
|The theater of Butrint | Photo courtesy of the Butrint Foundation|
Giora Solar, an Israeli perseveration architect who led a joint fact-finding mission with UNESCO last year aimed at identifying the impact a road expansion would have on Albania’s Butrint Archeological Park, said ongoing road developments along the coast could have a detrimental affect on heritage sites.
“Butrint was the subject of our mission, but at the same time there could be other cultural or natural sites, affected by the coastal project, which are not under international monitoring, and therefore not mentioned - but potentially put at risk.” he said.
In 2007, Albania commenced a large-scale development project of its southern coastal areas, building new roads to connect coastal villages in the Southern Riviera. The aim was to make the villages more accessible and provide better transport links for tourists.
Last year, Solar’s joint fact-finding mission with UNESCO and ICOMOS, looked at the impact one road expansion had on the Butrint Park. The findings of the report showed that the ruin would not be damaged by the road expansion but the surrounding land could be affected.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Do not underestimate Greece!" Message from USA to Turkey!
Strong message to Ankara, one of the largest U.S. "think tanks" of the U.S., Stratfor.
In an analysis of the tension caused between Turkey and Israel and how Ankara is handling the issue, featuring discredited policy and warns not to underestimate Greece, in the event that finally led to the decision to engage in war businesses.
According to the analysis of Stratfor, Erdogan has won a lot at home but also in the Arab world who are obviously thrilled with the high tones used against Israel. On the other hand, loses much more credibility.
Why is what convinced me that it really intends to send ships to Gaza, especially after the episode with the Mavi Marmara. Put simply, Stratfor analysis maintains that Erdogan's attempt to emerge as leader of the Arab world have puzzled the great powers and this is a big problem.
But the most interesting part of the analysis that concerns us directly is that it has to do with the issue of mining in Cyprus.
The analysts Stratfor not chew their words:
• Turkey was wrong assessment on the issue, ignored U.S. warnings and now pays. Stratfor says amerikanotourks relations will have a very intensive direction:
• If Turkey continues its slippery path chosen, then nothing can be ruled out even a Greek-Turkish warfare.
• This may be a result of the persistence of Turkey to send a convoy of warships, research vessels in the EEZ of Cyprus.
• It is possible that Greece, despite the major economic problems to "meet" the challenge, perhaps as a way of seeing and not to avoid military conflict with Turkey. We suggest clearly that the outcome of such a conflict is not prescribed especially with the military balance that exists at this strong relation, between Israel-Greece
The accuracy of the estimates and the analysis always prove in practice.So none of all this is not a "gospel". But nobody can deny that such an analysis by this "think tank", was a strong message to Turkey. And it might explain the rush of Erdogan to assure that Obama "will not do anything in Cyprus."
AL ARABIYA NEWS
Bikinis and hijabs contrast on Albanian beach
Thursday, 22 September 2011
September has seen devout Muslims again flocking to Albania’s only “burqa beach” after the Ramadan holy month, where women bathe in full hijab − a short distance from the “other” Albania where girls romp in scanty bikinis.
The contrast is not to everyone’s liking but is a testament to Albania’s centuries-old tradition of religious tolerance, which even survived nearly half a century of a communist rule that tried to stamp out all religion.
About two-thirds of this Mediterranean state’s 3.2 million residents are Muslim. Much of the rest is Christian − both Orthodox and Catholic − and co-habitation among the different faiths is the norm in EU-hopeful Albania.
“To each their own,” said Selim, a Muslim who gave only his first name.
more see: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/09/22/168064.html
Greece: "we are ready for war"September 21 2011 at 7:12 PM
VII_PZ_DIV (Login VII_PZ_DIV)
DM Panos Beglitis assures President on battleworthiness of Greek Armed Forces
20 Sep 2011
National defence minister Panos Beglitis on Tuesday assured President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias of the battleworthiness of the Greek Armed Forces.
Beglitis added that the Greek people may be proud of their Armed Forces, adding that their sacrifices are not going to waste.
"Despite the economic crisis, we maintain a high level of operational preparedness and efficiency in the Armed Forces," Beglitis said.
Papoulias said he was pleased to hear that "because, as you say, the situation in the region is very sensitive".
Beglitis briefed the President on matters falling under the jurisdiction of the defence ministry, with the focus on developments in the wider region and on the diplomatic and defence policy being followed by the government to deal with problems.
"We cannot accept any discount in the sovereign rights of Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, and this message is clear to all," Beglitis told reporters after the meeting.
Greece, he added, is working with its partners for peace in the region and the resolution of the problems in the most peaceful way.
He reiterated that Greece wants good relations with Turkey, in the context of the rules of international law. "We don't want Turkey's isolation, but with its actions and attitude it is being led to self-isolation," Beglitis warned.
The defence minister further assured Papoulias that the Armed Forces are at a high operational level and fully prepared to deal with any provocation.
Albanians from southern Serbia stage protestSource: Tanjug
PREŠEVO -- Albanians from Bujanovac, Medveđa and Preševo staged a protest in Preševo on Wednesday.
The Albanians organized the protest in order to turn the Serbian government's attention to discrimination allegedly experienced by the Albanian national minority.
A protest walk of several thousand Albanians was organized prior to the protest rally taking place in front of the municipal assembly's building.
The protesters carried Albanian, U.S. and European flags, as well as numerous banners in Albanian language demanding from the Serbian state bodies to recognize their rights to native language, jobs, inclusion in institutions, etc.
The Albanians blew whistles and shouted slogans requesting for a stop of discrimination in different fields.
The event was organized by the political parties from Bujanovac, Preševo and Medveđa, based on the decision reached by officials of the three municipal assemblies in Preševo on September 3.
There was another protest rally in Bujanovac on September 13 dubbed “It's enough“ organized due to the issue of education in Albanian language.
No members of the Serbian Interior Ministry in uniform were noticed in Preševo on Wednesday except for a few traffic policemen.
The protesting Albanians called on the Serbian government to make it possible for the three municipalities' economy to develop further and to put an end to, as they said, discrimination against the Albanian community in terms of education, employment and freedom of movement.
The several thousand protesters underscored that problems in areas important for the life of Albanians in these three municipalities were not being resolved, which was why citizens had to insist that their position should be improved.
The protest was a peaceful one and no incidents occurred. Only representatives of Preševo youth addressed the protesters in Albanian, while local political leaders of Albanians backed their requests by attending the protest.
Preševo Mayor Ragmi Mustafa told Tanjug that the protest was staged because of general discrimination in the territory of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa.
Serbian MP Riza Halimi told Tanjug that Albanians in these three municipalities had been dissatisfied for some time now because serious daily problems of the population in the three municipalities were not being resolved.
Halimi warned about the increasing emigration not only among young Albanians whose university degrees were not recognised, but also among entire families who were leaving the area in search of jobs in Kosovo and EU member countries.
OFFICIALLY; GREEK MINORITY ABANDONS ALBANIAN CENSUS
During their meeting in Agioi Saranta, Albania, the Union Party of Human Rights (KEAD) and the General Board of the Greek minority organization “Omonoia” accused the Albanian government of resetting methods and practices employed during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha.
The judgment of the country’s Constitutional Court to exclude the ethnicity statement in the coming inventory is a human right violation for the Greek minority and is contrary to the European principles and ideals.
Mr. Vangelis Doules, MP and President of KEAD told ana-mpa.com that “this judgment of the Constitutional Court to repeal the Act which allowed Albanian citizens, and especially Northern Hepirotes, to get back their ethnicity after the authorities had deliberately changed them into the Albanian one under the dictatorship of Hoxha, brings us all back memories from the communist era”.
As far as the inventory is concerned, Mr. Doules said that the General Board of “Omonoia” decided to call all Northern Hepirotes to abstain from the procedure unless the Albanian authorities respond positively to their fixed demand for a European-like inventory. At the same time, they plan on getting prepared for next spring, in order to take part in the worldwide inventory of all Greek citizens from Albania.
Ahead of a tight vote in the UN on whether to recognize a Palestinian state, both sides are bidding for Albania's favour.
|UN Security Council | Photo by Rick Bajornas/UN Photo|
The deputy head of the Palestinian embassy in Tirana, Hani Hussein, told Balkan Insight that after contact with Albanian authorities, they remain confident that Tirana will support the Palestinian proposal.
“We have good confirmation that Albania’s position is gone be visible and is going to support Palestine in this issue,” Hussein said.
“Albania is looking for a two-state solution and for us to live together in peace,” Hussein added.
But Israel is also seeking support from Albania. In June Tirana received a visit by Avigdor Liberman, the first Israeli foreign minister to visit Albania in 17 years, as part of a diplomatic push by Israel to get as many countries as it can to oppose the Palestinian move.
Albanian authorities have no yet given any public indication of the way their vote will go at the UN.
During the course of the General Assembly held this week in New York, the Palestinians have said they will ask the Security Council take up the issue of Palestinian statehood, under its 1967 borders.
Israel's US ally has vowed to veto the bid, which then will go to the General Assembly. The Palestinians will need the support of more than 120 of the 193 members for the passage of a resolution in their favour there.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrived in Ankara on an urgent surprise visit Sunday night Sept. 18 as Turkish saber-rattling threatened three major US interests:
Sunday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the information gathered by the US radar system to be stationed in Turkey’s Malatya province as part of the NATO missile-shield would not be shared with Israel – thereby disrupting the entire system; Monday, US Noble Energy began drilling gas off Cyprus in defiance of Turkish threats; and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ headed to New York to promote UN acceptance of a Palestinian state – with Ankara’s encouragement.
Clapper went straight into talks with the Turkish General Staff, the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Foreign Ministry. No official statement was issued on the visit. Turkish sources indicated only that it concerned the planned deployment of the NATO radar system, the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “as well as other developments in the Middle East.”However, debkafile‘s intelligence sources report that Clapper was in Turkey for a last-ditch Obama administration bid to avert sea and air hostilities erupting between Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean where tensions have been building up over Turkish threats inter alia against offshore gas exploration by Israel and Cyprus.
Turkey angry as Cyprus begins oil and gas drillingSource: B92, BBC, euronews
LIMASSOL, ANKARA -- Cyprus is "risking escalating tensions with Turkey" as it begun exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the BBC reported.
Turkish PM Recep Erdogan said his country would "very soon" start drilling for gas off the Cyprus coast, and that the Turkish military would monitor the eastern Mediterranean with aircraft, frigates and torpedo boats.
"This exclusive economic zone is disputed and we have told them that it is not right for them to take such a step in this area," he said.
The offshore oil and gas rig belongs to Houston-based Noble Energy Inc., which the Cypriot government licensed to begin exploratory drilling some 185 kilometers south of the island coast.
An Israeli firm has an option to join the U.S. company, reports euronews, and adds that this "could exacerbate already heightened tensions".
The European Commission has urged both sides to exercise restraint over the issue and seek ways of resolving their long-standing dispute over northern Cyprus.
Ankara argues that until the ongoing talks to reunite the island succeed, no government has the right to negotiate over Cyprus's territorial waters, the BBC reported, but added that the Cypriot government is fully recognized by both the United Nations and the European Union.
WASHINGTON — US senators urged President Barack Obama on Monday to use his speech to the United Nations to restate strong US support for Israel amid tensions with Turkey and a Palestinian push for statehood.
"The world needs to hear unequivocally from you that Israel -- our friend, ally, and strategic partner -- is not alone in facing these threats," 14 lawmakers said in a letter released a Obama arrived in New York.
The senators accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "anti-Israeli rhetoric," the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, and the Palestinians' push to raise their status at the world body.
"We believe it is imperative for you to speak strongly, forthrightly and publicly about US concerns over these developments," they wrote to the president, who was to address the UN General Assembly.
"We need to make it clear that we will not tolerate continued threats to Israel by governments or individuals in the region or attempts to delegitimize Israel at the UN or other international forums. Violence and unilateralism against Israel will be met with the strongest US opposition," they said.
Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Bob Casey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Dick Blumenthal, Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, and Chris Coons, Republican Senators Jon Kyl, Susan Collins, Mark Kirk, Orrin Hatch, Marco Rubio, and Johnny Isakson, as well as Independent Senator Joe Lieberman signed the letter.
The lawmakers warned "political and physical attacks on Israel" raised "the possibility of a region-wide deterioration into violence" and that "Israel's real sense of growing isolation will make it much more difficult to move the Mideast in a positive direction."
Monday, September 19, 2011
OMONIA, is seeking postponement of the census in Albania
"Constitutional decision, dictated by the Anti Hellen cicles"
OMONIA organization seeks to defer the census of 6 months, indicating that this process is intended statistical contraction of the Greek minority in Albania.
In its statement, OMONIA says that "Unfortunately we conclude that the census process is not expected terms of a precise reflection of the beliefs of such sensitive issues as the demographics of ethnic Greek minority. Proceedings and advertising has nothing in common with European standards and is incompatible with the practice of international organizations ".
In connection with the decision of the Constitutional Court to reject the civil law, OMONIA says that is a decision dictated by antihelene circles. "The Council's General expresses indignation of OMONIA for Constitutional Court decision, a decision that as biased, as controversial and contrary to international and European conventions, decision dictated by nationalist circles and antihelene" the statement said.
The formation of a second ethnic Hungarian political party in Romania is testing unity among the minority's traditionally close-knit community.
News that a local court in Bucharest has approved the creation of the Popular Party of Hungarians in Transylvania, PPMT, has not been welcomed by many members of the 1.4 million-strong ethnic community in Romania.
“For sure it is a mistake to have a new Hungarian party in Romania. The move is most likely to further divide the Hungarians and the short term risk is to lose our political representation in the Romanian Parliament,” Kelemen Hunor, president of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians from Romania, UDMR, has said.
The UDMR is a junior member of current centre-right government, and holds 31 of the 471 seats in parliament. The Union was set up in 1990 and sees PPMT as a direct competitor for the votes of ethnic Hungarians in Romania.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for the end of next year.
Recent polls show that a significant percentage of ethnic Hungarians in Romania are disappointed with results of UDMR’s policy of joining government coalitions. They are not happy with the longstanding UDMR’s policy and its alleged failure to address issues such as more Hungarian-language, higher education and the return of property belonging to the mainly protestant Hungarian churches that was confiscated after the Second World War.
“UDMR and its leaders failed to fulfill the community’s main demands: increased autonomy and collective rights for Hungarians in Tranyslvania,” said Toro Tibor, the leader of the new Hungarian party. “We are sure we will able to grab votes from all Hungarians in order to increase our rights and also to maintain our identity”.
According to media reports, one of the behind the scene leaders of the new Hungarian party is European MP Laszlo Tokes. He is a long time supporter of greater autonomy for Romania's ethnic Hungarians and also champions close relations between the community and Budapest. His defiance of Romania's former communist authorities in 1989 helped spark the Romanian revolution that overthrew dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
About seven per cent of Romania's 21 million citizens are ethnic Hungarian. Some parts of the community, especially the 600,000 Szeklers, have long campaigned for an autonomous region in Transylvania, which became part of Romania after Austria-Hungary lost World War I.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Briefing of diplomatic correspondents by Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory DelavekourasAlbania.....
Another bilateral relations issue concerns Foreign Minster Lambrinidis’s visit, with the Italian Foreign Minister, to Tirana, where he supported Albania’s European perspective. Has Athens seen any progress in the deepening of democratic institutions by Albania and a change in the respect for the Greek national minority, and thus proceeded to this policy? Thank you very much.
MR. DELAVEKOURAS: Regarding your first question, Greece’s decision to deepen its relationship with Israel was a decision designed to remedy an unjustified void in our relations. Greek-Israeli relations have great potential, and we needed to capitalize on that. From the very outset, we made it clear that this is not directed against any third country. At the same time, we made it clear that this enhanced relationship of cooperation and trust with Israel can also contribute decisively to the efforts being made to resolve the Middle East issue, because Greece has certain characteristics that make it a catalyst in this effort. The fact that we have longstanding, traditional relations of friendship and trust with the Arab world, and in particular with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority. But Greece can also talk openly with Israel so that we can help in the search for consensus and the reopening of the peace process. This is the spirit with regard to the Middle East issue, and we hope in the coming time to be able to contribute decisively to the reopening of the negotiations, always within the framework of the well known principles that – as Greece has declared – remain firm.
With regard to Mr. Lambrinidis’s visit to Albania, I would like to note first that this was a Greek initiative. It was a proposal presented by Mr. Lambrinidis to the EU Council of Foreign Ministers in June. The two Foreign Minister – of Greece and Italy – conveyed a very strong message to the political leadership and to Albanian public opinion. It was a positive message: That Albania can move ahead on its European course. But at the same time it was a message that underscored the responsibilities everyone has for Albania’s taking the necessary steps: moving ahead with the reforms and implementing the twelve points presented by the Commission so that Albania’s European process can start moving again.
There was and is real concern, because the domestic political crisis in Albania was essentially undermining this effort. And that is why the message sent by the two Ministers was so important, as they represented the whole of the EU, which embraced this initiative. We hope this really contributes toward jumpstarting the process so that we can see progress, because this is very important not just for Albania itself, but also for Greece, Albania’s next-door neighbour. It is important that Albania move ahead with these reforms, precisely because they also contain important elements for the Greek minority – elements that interest us very much, as you can understand. The Albanian side is well aware that the barometer in Greek-Albanian relations is the situation of the minority and the defence of the minority’s rights, and we hope to see this in the coming time.
Prime Minister George Papandreou's scheduled visit to USA has been postponed, according to an announcement released on Saturday.
The Prime Minister press office announcement says:
"Given that next week will be extremely crucial for the implementation of the 21th July decisions in the eurozone and the intiatives that the country must undertake, the Prime Minister George Papandreou decided to postpone his scheduled visit to the USA".
(AFP) – Sep 16, 2011
WASHINGTON — A US resident from Albania faces terrorism charges for sending money to jihadists in Pakistan, then trying to join the group to kill US troops and embrace "martyrdom time," an indictment unsealed Friday said.
Agron Hasbajrami, a legal resident of Brooklyn, New York, was due in court there for arraignment later Friday, the Justice Department said, just two days before Americans mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The charges appear unrelated to US authorities' warning Thursday of a credible terrorism threat against either New York or Washington coinciding with the 9/11 anniversary.
According to the indictment, Hasbajrami, 27, sent $1,000 to an individual who represented a jihadist organization in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and in several communications with the contact expressed his plans to travel to Pakistan and join the group.
Hasbajrami told his contact that he wished to travel abroad to "marry with the girls in paradise," said the indictment, which also noted that a search of the suspect's home uncovered a note reading, "Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time."
"The vigilance of law enforcement has resulted in the capture of another alleged aspiring terrorist bent on traveling overseas for violent jihad," said Loretta Lynch, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Hasbajrami purchased plane tickets, and on September 6 traveled to New York's John F. Kennedy International airport, where he was arrested carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear.
If convicted he faces a maximum 15 years in prison.
TIRANA ON THE WAY TO VOTE FOR THE STATE OF PALESTINE
Albania - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Edmond Haxhinasto received the Ambassadors of Palestine, of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Libya’s Representative in Tirana
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Edmond Haxhinasto received the Ambassador of the State of Palestine, Mr. Issam Massalha, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Abdulazis Abdullah Al-Abdulkarim, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mrs. Amina Imam Gomma and the State Representative of Libya in Tirana, Mr. Al-Azzabi Zahaer. The focus of the meeting were the works of the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the UN, beginning on 20 September 2011 in New York.
Mr. Haxhinasto confirmed once again that Albania has made clear its position in support of sustainable solutions to the crisis in the Middle East, which implies the existence of two independent states living in peace and security. Albania said it is among the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine, and therefore requires finding the best route, in order to the process of peace in the Middle East to go forward.
Our country, said Mr. Haxhinasto will support any diplomatic action and political action that will serve efficiently and realistically achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.