EXCLUSIVE/ Relations with Greece and Turkey, positioning of the Albanian PM

EXCLUSIVE/ Relations with Greece and Turkey, positioning of the Albanian PM

Tirana, December 30, 2013/ Balkan Independent News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Speaking to Independent Balkan News Agency (photo), prime minister of Albania, Edi Rama says that the issue of the sea border with Greece will not affect the process of integration in the European Union. Initiator of the quashing of the sea pact with Greece, on Monday, Mr. Rama warned that authorities of Tirana demand from Athens “to respect our right to examine several other issues, which require solution”, implying what was asked to Mr. Venizelos on October 14, such as the abolition of the war law and the issue of the properties of Tcham community.

As far as relations with Turkey are concerned, in response to the questions of balkaneu.com, Mr. Rama explains the reasons why this country must be a strategic partner to Albania.

Sea border with Greece

Greece will take over EU presidency for the next 6 months. It’s plan is to finalize the suspended issue of the sea border with Albania within 2014. When Edi Rama was in opposition, he objected the agreement reached between the Greek government and that of former premier Sali Berisha. This agreement was later quashed by Constitutional Court.

In relation to this argument, Mr. Rama was asked by IBNA: “Do you think that the same thing that Holland did in the EU December summit, may be repeated by Greece in June 2014 if it’s not satisfied with the division of the sea border?

“I don’t think that an issue of the agenda of bilateral relations can turn into an issue of the European Union with a particular country. Nevertheless, we’re open to treat every issue of the agenda of bilateral relations, respecting the right of the other party to examine the issue in question. We require for our right to examine several other issues, which require solution, to be respected. They are issues which in the spirit of contemporary times that the region is living in, deserve to be solved in order to put them behind us in the joint path toward the future”, said Mr. Rama in response to IBNA’s question

Why is Turkey a strategic partner

During the electoral campaign and after he was confirmed as head of the new majority, Mr. Rama held consecutive meetings with Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayip Erdogan.

These moves followed the decision of the government to announce Turkey as a strategic partner. Up until yesterday, neighboring countries such as Greece and Italy were considered as such.

As far as this partnership is concerned, Mr. Rama was asked by IBNA on Monday as to “What are the benefits that the government is expecting from this partnership, speaking in concrete terms”:

“As far as Turkey is concerned, the time when Turkey was not considered as a strategic partner has not been normal. It’s natural to consider Turkey as a strategic partner, in the context of an undeniable influence that Turkey, like Italy and Greece have on our region. If by your question you imply direct monetary benefits, I would say that strategic partnerships are not mere bargaining, but much more than this. Without any doubt, Albanian’s benefits in the framework of the strategic partnership with Turkey, Italy or Greece, are big, like with any other country of the region”, said Mr. Rama.

Turkey involved in accusations and counter accusations

Recently, Turkey has been involved in intensive developments. The sons of two ministers were arrested on charges of corruption. Prime minister Erdogan accused prosecution and courts of collaborating with criminal groups on an unprecedented political and financial scandal which puts his government in danger. Mr. Erdogan has accused the justice system of working with criminal organizations to attack innocent people. These developments were followed by the resignation of three ministers of the government cabinet. They called on Mr. Erdogan to resign as prime minister. /ibna/