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Albania, Greece resume talks on maritime border delimitation in Ionian Sea

Albania and Greece have restarted negotiations to delineate maritime borders in the Ionian Sea. Albania’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday the first round of talks was held in Tirana in a “constructive and cooperative climate.” A similar statement was issued also by the Greek Foreign Ministry.

“The first round of talks between Greece and Albania on delimiting maritime zones was held today, April 30, 2018, in Tirana. The meeting took place in a constructive and cooperative climate, the Greek ministry said.

Last February, Albanian President Ilir Meta refused a government request to authorize continued negotiations with Greece over the two countries’ Ionian Sea border,  demanding further information on what and how the government will negotiate.

“The request doesn’t clearly define the object of negotiations for which the authorisation is requested,” Meta said in a statement in February.

The talks are needed because Albania’s Constitutional Court nullified a 2009 agreement on the country’s respective territorial claims to the sea’s continental shelf and waters, which was signed by the conservative Democratic Party government ruling at the time.

The Socialists, then in opposition but governing Albania now, challenged the agreement in court, claiming it cost the country 225 sq. kilometers (86 sq. miles) of territorial waters.

Relations between Greece and post-communist Albania have remained uneasy, and the striking down of the Ionian Sea agreement was another area of tension.

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