Greek army will take borders under control, polemics in Albania

Greek army will take borders under control, polemics in Albania

Tirana, December 27, 2013/Balkan Independent News Agency

The latest reports on the media say that starting from January 1, 2014, Greek Armed Forces will monitor its land borders with Albania in order to defend public order threatened by groups of traffickers, smugglers, etc. (the photo shows images from the customs of Kakavija).

This approach of the army on the border follows the latest events in Prespa, where a Greek police officer and two Albanian citizens lost their life. On the other hand, many cases of trafficking of weapons and narcotic substances have been recently encountered on the border between the two countries.

The area of the border between Albania and Greece is situated between the forests and high mountains and it’s exploited by traffickers of weapons and narcotic substances to cross into Greece and vice versa. Experts say that it’s impossible for this area to be protected by police forces of both countries.

Military forces will initially dislocate in the area of Prespa, where two observation posts will be set up. Then, similar points will be set up in the 600 km long border line  between Albania and Greece.

Media report that the role of the army will be restricted. Information that will be gathered from border crossing points will be sent to police patrols that operate on field.

Part of the monitoring carried out by the army will also be the protection of forests. Soldiers will monitor the destruction of forests from those who cut trees by illegally appropriating unlawful wood material. The army is also expected to prevent unlawful hunting in natural reserves of Prespa and Mount of Gramoz.

Training on the Greek-Albanian border?

Greek media has recently reported that Greek military forces have been located on the border since the middle of September of this year, where training has taken place with the scope of “neutralizing UÇK e UÇÇ” (Army for the Liberation of Çameri). According to Greek media, the exercise took place in the village of Dipomatia, near Kostur and Mount Gramoz.

Greek media report that this exercise has been ordered by the General Chief of Staff of the Greek Army, Mihalis Kostarakos and follows suspicions that Albanian fugitives from the prison of Trikala are linked to UÇK and the events occurred in Permet with the Orthodox Church.

According to Greek media, which cite officials from the Greek secret services, UÇÇ is directly controlled by UÇK, based in the south of Albania and UÇÇ has nearly 5 thousand armed members ready for guerrila war in Greece. After Skopje, the main objective of UÇK will be the activization of UÇÇ in Epirius, say Greek media.

PJIU strongly reacts: Army on the border in circumstances of a state of war

Reports that Greek army is being engaged in the border with Albania has caused growing concerns for the Party for Justice, Integration and Unity (PJIU), a party which defends the rights of the Tcham population.

Shpetim Idrizi, chairman of this party says that the engagement of the Greek army on the border with Albania is a threat for stability in the region. According to him, the use of the army for motives of public order is something out of the ordinary for a NATO country.

“Albania doesn’t impose a threat which would justify such action of the Greek army”, says Mr. Idrizi.

“This is a very negative and unacceptable development, while the war law between the two countries is still in force. The mobilization of Greek army would increase the number of fatalities on the border between the two countries, at the detriment of Albanian citizens, a number which was still high even prior to this act”, says Mr. Idrizi.

“We know that in the framework of preserving the war law still in vigor, Greece has placed, in spite of all NATO’s warnings in the recent years, army forces on the border with Albania and an act such as this one brings back an old threat at the detriment of our country. In these circumstances, we demand from our minister of defense, Mimi Kodheli and interior minister, Saimir Tahiri to demand explanations from the Greek counterparts for this act which could artificially mount tensions between the two countries”, suggests Mr. Idrizi.

Refugees from Greece into Albania

Experts from PJIU say that in NATO member countries, the army cannot be used for missions that defend public order, except for extraordinary cases. They assess that such situation on the border which could justify such decision, doesn’t exist.

Albannia has recently faced a large number of clandestines entering the Albanian territory from Greece. They come from African countries and mainly from countries where unrest continues such as Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, etc.

Shpetim Idrizi from PJIU stresses that “Albania has not placed its army on the border, although almost the entire contingent of illegal emigrants that enter our country in order to reach the west, comes from Greece”. /ibna/