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Himara triggers fresh debates in the relations between Albania and Greece

By   /   01/11/2016  /   Comments Off on Himara triggers fresh debates in the relations between Albania and Greece

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The Albanian PM says that Albanians have given a great contribution for Athens’  extraordinary history. He talks about Himara: “If Himara experienced a healthy cohabitation with people from the Greek archipelagos and Greek language as the “lingua franca” of the Orient, this doesn’t mean that it is a Greek region”

Tirana, 1 November 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama has published this engraving of Athens of the year 1670, that IBNA brings you in this report, by commenting that this city, the same as Acropolis, owes a great deal to Albanians. “Athens, the city in which,” wrote the Greek prince Eugene Rizo-Rangabe in 1925, “…the ethnic population is up to this day mainly Albanian”), reminds us among others that if the ancient Acropolis is still in its feet thanks to the glory of humanity and civilization, this is owed to a great extent to the courage and vision of the Albanian primate in Athens, Gjergj Dushmani, who in 1686, negotiated with the Venetian fleet of Francesco Morosini, in order for the city not to be bombarded from the harbor of Falera, although a Turkish garrison was situated there”, Mr Rama’s declaration says.

The Prime Minister further quotes several other historians, who have collected evidence, that show that up until recently, Athens has been a predominantly Albanian speaking city. However, Mr. Rama says that even this doesn’t make Athens an Albanian city.

“Such history of a city, which according to historians and authentic evidence, was in the past a predominantly Albanian speaking city, doesn’t make it an Albanian city, although Athens has a debt toward Albanians about its extraordinary history”.

This is where Mr. Rama talks about the latest developments in Himara, where the news that the demolition of several houses that Greek diplomacy claims that they belong to the Greek minority, has sparked strong debates and criticism by the Greek government.

“If Himara experienced a healthy cohabitation with people from the Greek archipelagos and Greek language as the “lingua franca” of the Orient, this doesn’t mean that it is a Greek region; what’s more, all international acts and history itself recognize its population as Albanian”, says Mr. Rama in his stance.

The first one to react against the demolition of the houses was PBDNJ of the former deputy speaker of Parliament, Vangjel Dule, who criticized this decision and demanded its annulment.

Thus, Rama’s declaration seems to be a reply for Dule, when the latter said that the houses that the government has planned on demolishing are ethnic homes and inherited generation after generation. “These houses belong to the residents of Himara and they have been inherited by their ancestors or built after years of hard work on their land”, Mr. Dule said. He also talked about “an absurd vandalism, which aims at evicting ethnic residents of Himara and favor companies and third parties”.

Dule called on “the international community to exert maximum pressure, because human rights are being violated by economic and nationalist circles, which in most cases are supported by the state”.

Mr. Rama’s reaction comes after the Greek Foreign Ministry issued a strong reaction through the Greek embassy to Albania on the decision of the local government to demolish the homes of 19 families in the center of Himara. This reaction stated that these properties belonged to the Greek minority.

In their statements, the Foreign Ministry and the embassy remind Mr. Rama that the protection of the rights and properties of the minority is one of the five conditions for the launch of EU accession talks, implying that the violation of this condition could block Albania’s EU integration.

Meanwhile, residents of Himara held a protest on Monday against the demolition of 19 homes. /balkaneu.com/

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