Cham Issue Overshadows Albanian Speaker of Parliament visit to Greece

Ilir meta nikos kotsias albania greece
Albanian Speaker Ilir Meta with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotsias today in Athens

Albanian Speaker of Parliament Ilir Meta was in Athens today meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotsias in what has been a week charged up with diplomatic statements over the so called ‘Cham’ issue.

This week, Foreign Minister Kotsias send a harsh letter to EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn who a few days earlier had referred to the so called ‘Cham issue’ as an existing issue on the negotiating table between Greece and Albania. Kotsias called Commissioner Hahn’s words “irresponsible” and added that there has never been and never will be a Cham issue for Greece.

Greece maintains that the ‘Cham issue’ refering to a large group of former ethnic Albanian collaborators of Natzis rightly expelled from Greece after the 2nd World War, as a ‘non-existent’ issue for the Greek side, while Albania says that the Cham descendants now living in Albania deserve their property and land rights back in respect of human rights laws and that their forefathers were discriminated against by Greek authorities at the time.

After meeting with Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotsias, Speaker of Albanian Parliament and former Prime Minister Ilir Meta told Greek media that the ‘problems of the past should not hinder the future relations between Albania and Greece and through a constructive spirit there is nothing we cannot discuss as good neighbors’.

Meta added that regarding the Cham issue “we still have differing positions but there’s opportunity to move forward for a solution profitable for both countries”.

Earlier on this morning Albanian Speaker Meta told ANA News Agency that relations between Greece and Albania are “relations of strategic importance, of practical exchanges and of vital importance for both countries. I think it would be wise to stay away from speculative reports that deliberately attempt to create misperceptions”.

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