Revelations made by the Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati that Greece and Albania had exchanged non-papers on the issue of ‘Tsamouria’, lands located in a region of western Greece that Albanian argues belong to citizens of Albanian descent who had been expelled from the area after collaborating with nazi-occupying forces in the second world war, have caused an uproar. Athens indirectly acknowledged the existence of the exchange of non-papers, adding that the talks any talks ion the matter simply reinforced Greece’s stance that the matter was non existent. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that the only reference to the ‘Tsamouria’ matter in the exchange of non-papers was made in the context of completely ruling it out as a pending issue. The matter resurfaced after Bushati denied on Albanian TV channel ‘Report TV’, claims that the matter would be taken off the agenda of talks in Brussels, stressing he had received reassurances from a European Commission representative. The Albanian Minister went on to argue that Albania had the political will and the domestic support for the first time to take on the matter and bring it to the foreground. His statements open a new thorn in the relations between Athens and Tirana: the so-called ‘Tsamouria’ matter. In the same interview Bushati said the non-papers that included the issues of dispute between Greece and Albania had circulated among EU officials, besides being in the knowledge of the two interested parties. The EU is pushing for resolution of any pending matters between the two countries in its effort to speed up Albania’s accession procedures, thus placing more pressure on Greece. Commissioner Johannes Hahn had recently responded on the matter to New Democracy MEP Maria Spiraki expressing his pleasure that the two countries had opened a channel of communication on the ‘Tsamouria’ matter.
Revelations made by Albanian Minister on TV