Kotzias: Certain circles undermine the dialogue with Albania

Kotzias: Certain circles undermine the dialogue with Albania

Athens, June 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

A banner with unfounded accusations for a nonexistent issue, which was raised, as can be seen in the one and only photo on the internet, by Albanians (;) who however wore jerseys of the National team of Switzerland in the game Albania-Switzerland for Euro 2016, was the cause for condemnation on the part of the Greek Foreign Ministry of this action.

In particular, the photo that circulates the internet and was republished by numerous domestic media, seems to be a banners in front of fans, who apparently due to their distinctive clothes belong to the Swiss team, accuses Greece for the genocide (;) of the Cham.

This fact was not left unanswered by the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on greek television.

Mr. Kotzias commented on the matter: “We are in dialogue with Albania, there are efforts to build a good atmosphere, and some are trying to undermine this dialogue”.

He also expressed his puzzlement as to how this banners entered in the stadium, despite the security measures, stressing however that UEFA got it down immediately and did not allow to appear on television.

In this context, he pointed out the direct actions of the Foreign Ministry and made it clear that “we used all the potential weapons of diplomacy”.

Specifically, he said the Greek ambassador in Bern took direct actions to prevent such a thing of happening again and “we made representations to the French Republic, the Government of Albania, asking it to condemn, as it did during my visit, these chauvinism cycles of the Chams. He also said that the Ambassadors of Albania and France have been recalled to the Greek Foreign Ministry.

“These Chams who also speak of a Tsamouria, that is that supposedly the border must change, are isolated in Albania itself”, Mr Kotzias pointed out.

The Greek FM recalled that during his recent trip to Tirana, the Albanian Foreign Minister reiterated four times that “Albania is true to the Helsinki agreements and recognizes the border recorded in this agreement and that the demands on Tsamouria are illegal”.

He went on to make a brief historical review, stressing that it is essential for one not to equate the Albanians with Tsamiko, but not even the Cham Albanians.

“The leaders of Chams in Greece collaborated with the German occupation forces, founded the Komitata in Epirus prefectures, which sought to replace the Greek State. They were collaborators and war criminals, and so they left by themselves, because the courts would have condemned them to death”, he said, and added that “there are 200,000 Cham Albanians who have always lived in Albania have never entered Greece, they had not entered during the Second World War and some want to tell them that the convictions and the withdrawal of criminals of war from the Greek Epirus concerns them as well”.

At this point, Mr Kotzias also noted that the influence of Turkey in Albania has declined for some time now, especially because, as he said, the religious leaders of Albanian Muslims are in stark contrast with the Turkish leadership, which wants to control them.