Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama sets the issue of the Tsams again while making clear that his country does not have territorial claims towards Greece.
“Territorial issue between Albania and Greece cannot stand” he states in the newspaper TA NEA.
However, as far as the “Tsam issue” is concerned, the Albanian Prime Minister notes that “for us here in Albania we are only concerned with the basic rights of our Albanian compatriots who once lived in that country and nothing more”.
“I honestly do not believe any decent person will disagree with the position that these people have the right to travel and visit Greece or that they and their children must have the opportunity to claim property rights through the judicial route as every European citizen normally can”, adds Mr Rama.
“Can you imagine today in the 21st century Europe that elderly men and women in Albania are forbidden to enter the borders of neighboring Greece because they are from some part of your country?” questions Edi Rama.
On the other hand, the Albanian Prime Minister didn’t mention anything regarding the Greek minority of Albania and the incidents against their property that took place in Himara two months ago.
For the history, the Tsams is an Albanian minority that used to live on the Greek part side of Epirus. During the occupation of Greece by the Nazis, they collaborated with them and were responsible for atrocities and an attempted ethnic cleansing of the Greeks in the areas near the Albanian borders. When the Nazi forces left Greece, they followed them inside Albania as they knew that their collaboration with the enemy wouldn’t remain unpunished. The forces of the EDES resistance group pursuit them. Later on, the greater majority of the Tsams were put on trial in absentia where they were found guilty. They were stripped of their Greek citizenship and their property was given to their victims as compensation.
According to him, the two governments are “close to reaching an agreement on maritime borders that will be fair for both Albania and Greece”.
As for FYROM, the Albanian Prime Minister states that “a stable, democratic and prosperous ‘Macedonia’ -as they are called according to an agreement- is important for the future of its peoples, the region, the EU and NATO, and for Greece as well”.