Albania & Greece PMs meet in Athens, agree to resolve issues

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 15, 2020 13:13

Albania & Greece PMs meet in Athens, agree to resolve issues

TIRANA, Sep. 16 - Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis have agreed to work on resolving outstanding issues and enhance further cooperation between the two countries after meeting in Athens on Tuesday evening.

Initially, the two Prime Ministers were expected to discuss about Greece's plan to expand its maritime borders in the Ionian Sea - a matter which has sparked debate in Albania since Mitsotakis first announced it in August 26. However, the official announcement by the Greek Government did not mention any details of the subject.

Discussions also centered on the Greek minority in Albania, “which should be a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the two peoples, while the emphasis was on strengthening bilateral economic and trade relations," the announcement reads.

Talks of the maritime delimitation resurfaced after Mitsotakis announced that the Greek government would soon submit a plan to expand its maritime borders from 6 to 12 miles in the Ionian Sea.

In response to the Greek PM's announcement, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania later stated that the expansion of the maritime border of Greece has nothing to do with the Albanian-Greek maritime border.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania at the time said that "this is an issue that is regulated by international law and specifically by the Montego Bay Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982."

Rama is currently staying in Athens to attend the 24th Roundtable organized by the Economist and the Government of Greece, titled “Europe: Reinforcing cohesion in turbulent times” to discuss rising tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The roundtable will focus on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy and business, Brexit, migration flows, economic uncertainty and geopolitical tensions between Greece and Turkey.

Meanwhile, ahead of the roundtable discussion, Rama visited Turkey where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the latter’s summer residence in Marmaris.

Greece and Turkey have been embroiled in an increasingly tense and dangerous clash in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean over drilling rights for hydrocarbons and their maritime borders. Speaking at a trade fair earlier last week, Greece's Prime Minister Mitsotakis said Greece would buy 18 new fighter jets from France to replace the obsolete Mirage 2000 fleet of aircraft. Athens will also purchase four new naval helicopters and as many frigates.

According to experts, the new purchases would give Athens a significant advantage in air defense against Turkey, which is facing difficulties in purchasing new aircraft and modernizing its existing fleet.

Greece & Turkey to recommence NATO-brokered talks

Greek and Turkish military representatives will meet in Brussels as part of NATO's effforts to mediate talks for a "deconflicting mechanism that would prevent an incident between the two alliance members over maritime and energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean," according to Greek media Kathimerini.

ATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced earlier that Ankara and Athens had agreed “to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish deconfliction mechanisms to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents” in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to Kathimerini, the document that is under negotiation calls for the two sides to recommit to fundamental NATO principles, including the non-use of arms to resolve differences between the two members in a peaceful manner as well as calls for both sides to uphold the principles outlined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Law of the Sea.

Furthermore, the deconflicting mechanism also includes a 24-hour direct line of communication between the Greek and Turkish militaries via a safe NATO channel.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 15, 2020 13:13