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Foreign Minister Droutsas’s reply to a question in Parliament

Friday, 21 January 2011

Main points:

·       “Our relations with Albania are relations of good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation. Relations that have, of course, fluctuated and – I want to stress this – are determined to a great extent by the situation and respect for the Greek national minority in Albania.”

·       “The content of the Greek-Albanian agreement on the delimitation of the continental shelf and the other maritime zones of the two countries is based on international law and, of course, in particular on the Law of the Sea. And it is mutually beneficial.”

·       “Our country’s firm position is, of course, in favour of putting into force and implementing the agreement as soon as possible, and we are waiting for the government of our neighbouring country to find the right way to remove the obstacles that will us to achieve this common goal. For our part, we consider that the speedy settlement of this pending issue will contribute substantially to the further deepening of Greek-Albanian relations, and that it will strengthen – I stress this once again – Albania’s European course, as well.”

Complete transcript of the Minister’s reply (translation):

Mr. Droutsas: Thank you very much, Madame Speaker. Thank you very much, Mr. Apostolatos, for your question.

I want to start by stressing that our relations with Albania are relations of good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation. Relations that have, of course, fluctuated and – I want to stress this – are determined to a great extent by the situation and respect for the Greek national minority in Albania.

The cooperation between our two countries is aimed at consolidating stability and progress in the wider region of Southeast Europe, and this field of cooperation has broadened through our strategy of the Euroatlantic integration of all the countries of the Western Balkans. Allow me to remind you here of the Greek initiative familiar to you all: Agenda 2014.

The content of the Greek-Albanian agreement on the delimitation of the continental shelf and the other maritime zones of the two countries is based on international law and, of course, in particular on the Law of the Sea. And it is mutually beneficial. I think such agreements should be so, because we are talking here about the stability needed in the region. And not just because it consists in a settlement based on international law and the spirit of good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation that must govern the bilateral relations of all modern countries, but also because it provides the potential for further development of bilateral and other cooperation.

It is of vital importance within the framework of Albania’s European course, and – I want to stress this – the Albanian government has made a similar assessment on this.

Our country’s firm position is, of course, in favour of putting into force and implementing the agreement as soon as possible, and we are waiting for the government of our neighbouring country to find the right way to remove the obstacles that will us to achieve this common goal. For our part, we consider that the speedy settlement of this pending issue will contribute substantially to the further deepening of Greek-Albanian relations, and that it will strengthen – I stress this once again – Albania’s European course, as well.

Allow me to reply very briefly with regard to the second part of your question, regarding the recent consultation between the two countries on the level of Foreign Ministry Secretary Generals. Allow me to stress that the issue of the ratification of the agreement on delimitation of maritime zones was not on the agenda and was not discussed by the two Secretaries General. In fact, the two sides looked at a number of bilateral issues, including the prospects for strengthening bilateral contact, and further development of bilateral cooperation, with the aim of improving the public perceptions of the two peoples – and primarily the young – so that they correspond to the level of relations that exists between the two countries

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