This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By PLATOR NESTURI
The unexpected visit held by the Greek Foreign minister in Tirana brought back the topic of the talks with neighboring countries, concerning the demarcation of EEZ and other pending problems between the two countries. Kotzia’s visit was made several hours before he left for Vienna for a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart. Although the visit to Tirana lasted only a few hours, his meeting with Bushati remained hermetic as far as information surrounding it is concerned and statements in front of the media were avoided. The two ministers issued a joint press release, which states that there’s positive progress since the meeting held in Korça and that pending issues are expected to be successfully finalized in the near future.
Without getting into details as to what was discussed, the press release talks about the fact that the sides have agreed on successfully finalizing the Document of Strategic Partnership between the two countries, but by avoiding deadlines and the time when the work groups will meet.
The statement doesn’t even offer any explanation about the postponement of the visit of the Greek prime Minister, which, according to the media, it was scheduled to take place in the month of April. Everyone was expecting the meeting between PM Rama and PM Tsiprasto finalize and sign the Document for Strategic Partnership, as it was recently declared by the foreign ministers of both countries.
However, the caution that was shown for a meeting where everything was handled through a diplomatic language, does not divert the focus from the process of talks which has started with our southern neighbor. What’s more, the talks do not focus on a single issue, but they include a number of topics.
The rounds of talks between Kotzias and Bushatibecome particularly important due to the political debates within the country and these debates also include the issue of the demarcation of sea borders, for which the current opposition had made a deal with the Greek side, but which was quashed by the Constitutional Court. Accusations for sale of the territory have now changed direction and all of this pressure seems to have an impact on the discretion being shown concerning the talks. On top of this, there’s also the fact that behind criticism for lack of transparency, two weeks ago, President Meta authorized the negotiators of the work group to handle this process, saying that the process of the agreement is evolving in a mined ground. There have been accusations and skepticism not only in Albania, but also by the Greek opposition.
Nevertheless, although the reasons for this discretion can be somehow justified with goodwill, given that they are complex and sensitive, there are still several issues that require public transparency.
Where there’s a lack of explanation, the media can make allusions. It can allude the sides are still far from an agreement, but without determining the points in which they most disagree on. It can allude that Rama’s unexpected visit in Istanbul has caused a little discontent. It can allude that the two weeks since the president granted authorization, were not enough to draft the agreement text. All of these options remain possible, but there may also be other options which have not yet become public. Discretion applies on everything and under these circumstances, it’s difficult to predict what the product will be. Up until now, Bushati and Kotzias look like those ancient linemen, where one of them is situated on a hill in Albania and the other in Greece and they communicate with each other by waving flags. We, as media or public opinion, only see the flags being waved, but without understanding what they’re saying given that they are the only ones to know the language. Well, we just need to wait and see. At least, we should at least hope that they reach a good agreement and not be confused about the signs and the code.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy