Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today with the political and state leadership of Albania, in the context of his working visit to Tirana.
During the meeting, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his counterpart, Edi Rama, exchanged views on all aspects of bilateral relations, while they considered ways to further strengthen them. Following are the statements of Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Rama at the beginning of their meeting:
Edi Rama: Well, thank you Prime Minister for visiting. I wish it’s not the substitute of the true bilateral (meeting) and I hope that you will find time to go together to visit the dear Greek minority. We are very fond of them and we have worked a lot to maintain what has been traditionally brotherhood between Albanian nations and Greek nations. I have sent you a video directly from the meeting when I went there and I said to them, what should we do for you? They said this, this or that or just bring Kyriakos Mitsotakis here. So if you come, you save a lot of money from our budget.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Well, I guess it’s going to be both. It will probably have to be both.
Edi Rama: And I’m sorry for something I heard about me saying some strange things about Greece somehow achieving -which can go back to Troy maybe- but it’s not about nowadays, it was never meant to be about contemporary Greece. You know I’m a socialist, but it’s not hidden that for me you are the best Greek Prime Minister. We are not in the same political club. Alexis (Tsipras) is a very good friend, but what can I say? It is what it is. And you are not in campaign time, so it’s not an interference.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis: I’m not. But thank you, Prime Minister. Thank you. It’s great to be in Tirana and it’s great, as I also said at the meeting, it’s great to have the EU – Western Balkans Summit here in Tirana. It is important for our European friends to come and see the progress that has been achieved in Albania. We’ve been strong supporters of the European perspective, not just of Albania, but of all Western Balkan countries, and we’ll continue to do so.
And of course, it’s great to be able to continue the visit and have this mini sort of bilateral visit. There’s a very strong relationship between our two countries. There’s much more we can do, not just about issues regarding the minority. I think we’re close to resolving the issue of the delimitation of our maritime zones. There’s good understanding between our teams and lots more to do also on the economic front. And of course, I’m sad I won’t be able to visit the (Greek) minority tomorrow because of weather concerns by our pilots, but maybe this will give us the opportunity to go together very soon.
During the meeting of the two delegations, the Prime Minister pointed out that the drafting of an agreement for the recourse of the delimitation of maritime zones to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, as it is being discussed between the two sides, would constitute a further upgrade of Greek-Albanian relations.
He also stressed that recourse to The Hague would be proof of the importance of upholding International Law in resolving such disputes.
The Prime Minister also raised the issues concerning the Greek National Minority in Albania.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterated Greece’s steady and strong support to the European perspective of Albania and Western Balkans in general, in compliance with the prerequisites set by the EU. He pointed out that this is a region with major geopolitical importance for Europe, which can play an even more important role on fronts of strategic importance, such as energy security.
In this context, the Prime Minister congratulated his counterpart on the organization of the EU – Western Balkans Summit that he participated in during the morning.
Earlier, the Prime Minister met the President of the Republic of Albania Bajram Begaj, whom he congratulated on the assumption of his duties and the Parliamentary Speaker of Albania Lindita Nikolla.
In their talks, they stressed the close and longstanding ties that bind the two countries and their peoples, and the possibility of closer cooperation on many issues.
The Prime Minister also had the opportunity to express his satisfaction about the beginning of the accession negotiations between Albania and the European Union that was marked by last July’s Intergovernmental Conference, and the positive role that our country has played in the promotion of the integration course of Albania.