Statement of the President of the Republic Meta: On the issue of delimitation of maritime zones between Albania and Greece
Statement of the President of the Republic H.E. Ilir Meta
On the issue of delimitation of maritime zones between Albania and Greece
On May 23, 2022, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nikos Dendias paid an official visit to Albania, meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister.
I clarify that the Greek party or our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not requested 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 given to the Greek press, among other things, stated that: “…… it was agreed by us to refer our case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, according to the rules of international law. This has not happened yet because the President has not given the relevant authorization to the Prime Minister. It seems that Albania will elect a new President within the next two-three months. So, all this will be feasible then.”
This statement of Minister Dendias was also published on the official website of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was made public here as well.
I clarify that the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ditmir Bushati through request no. 2428 prot., dated 13.02.2018, submitted to the President of the Republic the request for equipping the negotiating group with authorization for full power to start the negotiation process with the Hellenic Republic for the Delimitation of their Maritime Zones.
The President of the Republic noted a number of problems and shortcomings that needed to be corrected in submitting this request.
After the presentation of additional information by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic, through Act 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 Negotiating Group of the Republic of Albania for the negotiation of the “Draft 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 Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries.
I wish to emphasize that the negotiating group of the Republic of Albania has been provided with full authority to negotiate only for the achievement of a “Draft Agreement between the Republic of Albania and the Hellenic Republic for the delimitation of their maritime zones”, in order to specify The State Maritime Border Delimitation Line and the delimitation of the Continental Shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries.
In addition to 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 on what is defined in the objectives 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 being informed on the manner of the conduction of these negotiations, has ascertained and has been informed on some serious issues and concerns.
On June 13, 2018, a meeting was held in order to discuss the progress of the negotiation process between the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister of Albania.
At that 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 in order to be provided with the necessary Authorization so he could personally (the Prime Minister) lead the negotiations.
The President of the Republic, noting that the Prime Minister was not adhering to the commitments undertaken, and did not take any step in this direction, with letter no. 327/9 prot., dated 21.09.2018, inter alia, required once more the intervention of the Prime Minister without delay, in order that the continuation of the negotiations be led by the highest political decision-making level, i.e. by the Prime Minister himself, taking the lead of this process, in direct exercise of political will, in the right recognized by the Constitution and the laws of country.
Again, there was no reaction from the Prime Minister in this regard. No authorization request was submitted.
In the absence of reaction and institutional will of the Prime Minister on this issue, i.e. the acquisition of Authorization to negotiate, the President of the Republic, standing by the previous findings, again with letter no. 327/11, dated 20.11.2018, asked the Prime Minister to intervene in order for the continuation of the negotiations to be led by the highest political decision-making level, i.e. by the Prime Minister himself, taking the lead in this process. Again, there was no reaction to this request made by 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 position of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, has not forwarded any request for equipment with authorization and has not given any exhaustive information on the progress of this negotiation process, or on the measures and analysis he (The Prime Minister) has undertaken on the official requests of the President.
While the Prime Minister throughout this period, who also held the office of the Foreign Minister, through public statements, has commented or given his affirmative opinions regarding legal developments in the Greek state, on issues of expansion of their territorial waters.
These attitudes of the Prime Minister have been praised and quoted by the highest Greek authorities.
Although this issue is of extremely high interest, the Prime Minister/Government not only with the public opinion, but also with the President of the Republic, has not been transparent, and no request by the President for information has been answered with a thorough and serious response by the Prime Minister and 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 change, completion, addition or chairmanship, although 3 members of the Albanian Negotiating Group have been removed from basic functions due to the exercise of which they were mandated to be part of the negotiating team.
The President of the Republic is not aware of whether any act between the two Governments or the Prime Ministers has been approved or agreed to be terminated, suspended or withdrawn from the negotiations.
Although Albania is officially in the process of open negotiations with the Republic of Greece, the President has not been officially informed by the Government on what act, the Government has gone from the negotiation process under international law in negotiations at the political level on this issue.
In such circumstances, it legally results that the Prime Minister, or any other official of the Government has not been consulted, has not requested or has not been provided with any Authorization by the President of the Republic, according to the clear obligation of the decision of the Constitutional Court no. 15/2010, to negotiate or discuss with the Republic of Greece on behalf of the Republic of Albania, regarding the issue of delimitation of maritime zones, let alone to decide or agree whether this issue will go for an alternative to any of the International Courts, while the parties are still formally in negotiations.
The officials of the Republic of Albania must act with great prudence and responsibility, as any political or diplomatic agreement or understanding given by the Albanian Government/Prime Minister, even in principle, in meetings held outside the legal negotiating context of this issue, or any public access through declarations/statements, are strong records, which create consequences and which remain entirely under the individual responsibility of the persons who have expressed them, but which on the other hand risk being 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 issue of delimitation of maritime zones between our two countries.
The territorial sovereignty of the Republic of Albania belongs to the Albanian people, who exercise it on these issues through its representatives in the Assembly of the Republic of Albania, which, to our knowledge, the Government has clearly avoided in this process as well.
The President of the Republic considers that the Assembly of Albania should be informed, it must analyze and decide on the course of action that Albania will have to follow to resolve this issue.
Only in this way, any kind of solution will enjoy the full support of all, but also the trust of the public opinion and the Albanian people.
The Constitution, international acts signed over the centuries, the decision of the Constitutional Court 15/2010, are acts in force, inviolable and that clearly define the territory and sovereignty of the Republic of Albania, the manner of action in matters of this nature and any state executive, legislative, or judicial authority, must act in accordance with the principles, values and obligations set forth therein.
The issue of delimitation of maritime zones between the Republic of Albania and the Hellenic Republic is an open issue between the two countries, which in the opinion of the President of the Republic of Albania, 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 protection of the state and national interests of Albania, in the full interest of the preservation and exercise of territorial sovereignty and national jurisdiction, guaranteeing the best security, economic and social benefit of the country.
Expressing the understanding for 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 date when the Presidential mandate terminates, but also after this date and in the future, he will be open to cooperate in a transparent and constructive manner, in respect of the Constitution and the special decision of the Constitutional Court, with the Assembly of Albania and any other institution involved in this process. 30 May 2022
Ilir Meta President.al/en
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