Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s response on the open disputes between Greece and Albania, during his press conference at the Brussels NATO Summit, could be cause for deep concern.
Replying to a question on the progress of talks with Albania he said: “The two remaining issues, apart from the Exclusive Economic Zone, are the issue of the state of war and the borders that we are very close to finding a solution. Issues which, although we have advanced to an exceptionally significant point, we cannot say have been completed.”
His statements that his government is under no particular pressure to resolve the open issues with Albania- the state of war and borders- while in the same breath saying he is seeking a solution to the matters as soon as possible are at least confusing and paradoxical.
Unless his statements can be attributed to a slip of the tongue, a misfortunate choice of words or a verbal blunder (probably unlikely), the Greek PM had inadvertently revealed that Athens is in talks with Tirana on a possible change of borders.
In light of the recent statements made by European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Khan that Athens and Tirana are discussing border changes, the positions expressed by the Greek PM become more alarming.
Is Greece in secret talks with Albania to settle border disputes by changing the borders? The rapid pace at which Mr Tsipras’s administration managed to “solve” the longstanding name dispute issue with FYROM, by effectively caving in and offering the name “Macedonia” to Skopje that opened the door for the small nation to start accession talks with NATO, along with the confidence – bordering on arrogance and hubris- expressed by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias that he would solve the issues with Albania before he left for his summer holidays, do not bode well for the outcome of talks.