Albanian daily news
The President of the Republic Ilir Meta reacted to the declarations of the Greek Foreign Minister, who declared after his visit to Tirana that the Albanian Head of State had not authorized the referral of the question of the sea to the Court of The Hague and, according to him, the election of the new president of the Albanians will help solve this problem.
During an urgent press conference on the question of the sea between Albania and Greece, President Ilir Meta clarified that the former Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati, had submitted a request to open negotiations with Greece to limit their maritime zones, but according to the head of state, this request involved a host of problems.
In this regard, Meta said that after additional information from the then minister, Ditmir Bushati, authorized the latter to give full powers to the Albanian negotiating team to negotiate the agreement between Albania and Greece .
-Complete statement by the President of the Republic Ilir Meta, on the issue of the limitation of the maritime zones between Albania and Greece:
“On May 23, 2022, the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. Nikos Dendias paid an official visit to Albania, meeting the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister. I specify that the Greek side or our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has n demanded the realization of any meeting of Minister Dendias with the President of the Republic of Albania.
After concluding his visit to Tirana, Minister Dendias, in an interview with the Greek press, stated, among other things, that: “……it has been agreed with us to refer our case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague according to the rules of international law. This has yet to happen as the President has not given proper clearance to the Prime Minister. It looks like Albania will elect a new president in the next two or three months. So, all this will be feasible then.” This statement by Minister Dendias was also published on the official website of the Greek Foreign Ministry and was also made public here.
I specify that the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ditmir Bushati by request no. 2428 prot., of 13.02.2018, submitted to the President of the Republic the request to provide the negotiating group with the authorization of full powers to begin the process of negotiation with the Hellenic Republic for the restriction of their maritime zones.
The President of the Republic has identified a number of problems and shortcomings that should be corrected in the introduction of this request.
After the presentation of additional information by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic, by law no. 733, dated 19.03.2018, authorized the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania to, according to the criteria of this authorization, issue the Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Albania Negotiating Group for the negotiation of the “Project of Agreement between the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Greece for the delimitation of their maritime zones”, in order to specify the delimitation line of the State maritime border and the delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone between the two countries.
I would like to underline that the negotiating group of the Republic of Albania has been vested with full powers to negotiate only for the realization of a “draft agreement between the Republic of Albania and the Hellenic Republic for the delimitation of their maritime zones”, in order to clarify the delimitation line of the State maritime boundary and the delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone between the two countries.
Besides other tasks, according to the authorization of the President of the Republic, only the negotiating group is the public authority mandated to negotiate with the Greek party and only what is defined in the documents given in this authorization.
Between the two negotiating groups during the period April-June 2018, three rounds of negotiations took place (April 30, May 14-15 and June 22, 2018). The President of the Republic, after having been informed of the manner of conducting these negotiations, has observed and been informed of certain serious questions and concerns.
To discuss the progress of the negotiation process between the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister of Albania, on June 13, 2018, a meeting was held. At this meeting, it was agreed that the Prime Minister would personally lead the negotiations with the Greek state. For this, he would present a new request to the president so that he is provided with the necessary authorization to personally lead the negotiations (of the Prime Minister).
The President of the Republic, noting that the Prime Minister did not respect the commitments made, and made no move in this direction, by letter no. 327/9 prot. again called for the intervention of the Prime Minister of the country without delay, so that the continuation of the negotiations be conducted by the highest level of political decision-making, that is, by the Prime Minister himself, taking the lead of this process, in direct exercise of the political will, in the right recognized by the Constitution and the laws of the country. Again, there was no reaction from the Prime Minister in this regard. No request for authorization has been filed.
In the absence of reaction and of institutional will of the Prime Minister on this question, that is to say the provision of Authorization to negotiate, the President of the Republic, sticking to the previous conclusions again by the letter no. 327/11, of 20.11.2018, asked the Prime Minister to intervene. so that the continuation of the negotiations is led by the highest level of political decision, that is to say by the Prime Minister himself, taking the lead in this process. There was no reaction to this request from the President and the Prime Minister did not submit any request for Authorization.
The Prime Minister, who for the period February 2019 – January 2021 simultaneously held the post of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, did not transmit any request for equipment with authorization and no exhaustive information on the state of progress of this negotiation process, nor on the measures and the analysis that he (the Prime Minister) undertook on the official requests of the President. While the Prime Minister throughout this period who held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, by public statute, commented or gave his affirmative opinions regarding legal developments in the Greek state, on issues of expanding their territorial waters. These attitudes of the Prime Minister have been welcomed and cited by the highest Greek authorities.
Although this issue is of extremely high interest, the Prime Minister/Government not only with public opinion, but also with the President of the Republic, has not been transparent, and no request for information from the President was provided in an exhaustive and serious manner. response from the Prime Minister and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, for the Republic of Albania, the authorization of the President of the Republic No. 933, dated 19.03.2018, is in force and there is no official request for its modification, completion, addition or its chairmanship, although 3 members of the Albanian Negotiating Group were removed from core functions due to the exercise of which they were mandated to be part of the negotiating team. The President of the Republic does not know whether any act whatsoever between the two Governments or the Prime Ministers has been approved or agreed to terminate, suspend or withdraw from the negotiations.
Although Albania is officially engaged in a process of open negotiations with the Republic of Greece, the President has not been officially informed by the government of the act, the government has gone through the negotiation process under the law international, in the negotiations at the political level on this issue.
In such circumstances, it legally follows that the Prime Minister, or any other Government official was not consulted, did not request or did not receive any Authorization from the President of the Republic, in accordance with the clear obligation of the decision of the Constitutional Court n. 15/2010, to negotiate or discuss with the Republic of Greece on behalf of the Republic of Albania, regarding the issue of limitation of maritime areas, let alone to decide or agree whether this issue will go for an alternative to any by the courts international agreements, while the parties are still formally in negotiations.
Officials of the Republic of Albania must act with great caution and responsibility, because any agreement or political or diplomatic agreement given by the Albanian government / Prime Minister, even in principle, in meetings held outside the legal framework of the negotiations on this issue, or any public access through declarations/statutes, are strong recordings, which create consequences and which remain entirely under the individual responsibility of the people who expressed them, but which on the other hand risk be used in the future to the detriment of Albania’s negotiating position, to the detriment of its legitimate interests, in the negotiation process or in other processes that may be pursued for the final settlement of the question of the delimitation of maritime areas between our two countries.
The territorial sovereignty of the Republic of Albania belongs to the Albanian people, who exercise it on these issues through their representatives in the Assembly of the Republic of Albania, which the Government has clearly avoided in this process as well , To our knowledge. The President of the Republic considers that the Assembly of Albania must be informed, analyze and decide on the way forward that Albania should follow to solve this problem.
Only in this way will any solution enjoy the full support of all but also the confidence of public opinion and the Albanian people.
The Constitution, the international acts signed over the centuries, the decision of the Constitutional Court 15/2010, are acts in force, inviolable and which clearly define the territory and sovereignty of the Republic of Albania, the way of acting in matters of this nature and any executive state, legislative or judicial authority, shall act in accordance with the principles, values and obligations set forth therein.
The question of the delimitation of the maritime zones between the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Greece is an open question between the two countries, which, in the opinion of the President of the Republic, must be resolved once and for all, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Albania; the decision of the Constitutional Court no. 15/2010 and international law, in the protection of the state and national interests of Albania, in the full interests of the preservation and exercise of territorial sovereignty and national jurisdiction, and to guarantee the better security, economic and social benefits of the country.
Expressing his understanding of the high sensitivity of the Albanian people, for issues of this nature, the President of the Republic, reiterates once again that, not only until July 24, 2022, the end date of the presidential mandate, but also after this date and in the future will be ready to cooperate in a transparent and constructive manner, in compliance with the Constitution and the special decision of the Constitutional Court, with the Assembly of Albania and any other institution involved in this process.”