Albanian President Grants Authorization for Sea Border Deal with Greece

Albanian President Ilir Meta and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati
Albanian President Ilir Meta and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati

Tirana, March 20 (Tirana Echo) – Albanian President Ilir Meta has authorized Foreign minister Ditmir Bushati to start official talks with Greece on a sea delimitation agreement between the two neighboring Mediterranean countries.

Following a request by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the President of the republic has today authorized Minister Ditmir Bushati to grant omnipotence to the negotiating team of the Republic of Albania for negotiating the project-agreement between Republic of Albania and Hellenic Republic for the delimitation of their border maritime areas” – said a statement in the President’s website.

According to the statement, Meta has asked Bushati and the negotiating team to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities and protect the territorial integrity of Albania, throwing away any institutional liability in what has been a highly controversial and sensitive matter since 2009 for both countries.

Earlier in the week, Meta told Greek newspaper ‘To Vima’ that Albania and Greece are reciprocally interested in having an agreement by which they can delimit their respective maritime zones, taking into account internal constitutional ‘red lines’.

It is of vital importance that both parties enter this process of negotiations with one clear mission, to reach an agreement that is legally impeccable, practically implementable, and finally irrevocable. The 2010 decision of the Constitutional Court, by which the 2009 delimitation agreement between Albania and Greece was declared null and void, not only argues why the old agreement is constitutionally unacceptable, but also designs a roadmap for a future negotiated agreement. It is a very comprehensive roadmap which clearly defines the institutions, steps, procedures and methodology that can be employed if and when a new agreement is negotiated. Neither me, as the President of the Republic, nor any other institution can act other but in these lines”, said Meta.

Albania and Greece agreed in 2009 to sign an agreement over their maritime delimitation which was later brought down by Albania’s constitutional court following a request by then opposition Socialist party. Since then, Greece has been pushing for a new deal to be ratified, alongside several other unresolved issues between the two countries.

Meta’s decision unblocks a political stalemate after two previous refusals to grant authorization last month, and paves the way for Albanian and Greek governments to finalize a long awaited deal of solving several bilateral open issues which are expected to be signed in paper by prime ministers Edi Rama and Alexis Tsipras later this spring.
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