Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsDiplomacyAlbanian PM Comments on Detention of Ethnic Greek Mayor in Albania

Albanian PM Comments on Detention of Ethnic Greek Mayor in Albania

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama conducted an interview with the Greek media. Credit: Finnish Government / CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama commented on the arrest of the ethnic Greek mayor of Himare, Fredi Beleri, in Albania.

Rama appeared on the Greek state broadcaster ERT. During the interview, he spoke at length about several issues including bilateral relations between Greece and Albania.

Greece and Albania enjoy strong cultural and historical ties. Both countries are members of several of the same international bodies, including NATO and the Council of Europe. However, diplomatic relations are sometimes negatively impacted by various issues, such as the arrest of Beleri, which the Greek government argues was politically motivated.

Albanian prime minister speaks in an interview with Greek broadcaster

“The Greek minority in Albania is a treasure to our culture of coexistence and an irreplaceable bridge to nurture and strengthen the friendship between the two peoples, between the two states and definitely between the two governments,” said Rama during a televised interview with ERT.

Commenting on the arrest of Beleri, the Albanian prime minister said “This man is a citizen of the Republic of Albania, who must be equal before the law like every citizen of the Republic of Albania, and at the same time must answer to the law like every citizen of the Republic of Albania. There cannot be two justices, one justice for Albanian citizens of Albanian nationality and another for Albanian citizens of Greek nationality.”

“Greece considers to have the ball in its court, implying that if things don’t go its way, it will take revenge on Albania by making Albania’s accession to the EU difficult, Rama continued. “This is not a very European and rather dated attitude in my opinion.”

Nevertheless, Rama was keen to stress his friendship with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and said that Greece and Albania share “important strategic interests which require a friendly and strategic relationship.”

Greek-Albanian bilateral relations

The arrest of Fredi Beleri has created a strain in the bilateral relations between Greece and Albania. Beleri, an expatriate of Greek origin, had been vying for the position of mayor representing a Greek minority party that aligned itself with an opposition coalition.

However, in mid-May, he was taken into custody under suspicion of engaging in vote-buying activities. The law enforcement authorities have indicated their intention to formally charge him with active corruption during the elections, an allegation that Beleri vehemently denies.

Since his apprehension, Beleri has remained in detention. Despite emerging victorious in the elections, he has been barred from assuming the role of mayor in Himare, a town situated in the southern part of the country and inhabited by a community of Greek minorities.

Referring to Beleri’s arrest, the Greek prime minister commented back in May: “Albania needs to understand that Greece and the EU will not accept any compromises on the rule of law and the protection of the rights of the ethnic Greek minority.”

Conversely, Tirana levels accusations against Athens, alleging interference in Albania’s judicial system with an aim to influence an ongoing investigation.

For now, the issue remains a point of contention between the two neighboring countries.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts