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PM Rama: “Albanian & Greece are in talks over potential border change” to expansion of territorial waters in Ionian Sea”

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama suggested that Greece and Albania are in talks over potential border change. Speaking during an interview with Albania’s Vizion Plus TV on Thursday, Rama appeared to suggest Athens and Tirana are in talks over potential border changes.

The comment was made in the context of negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo over a land-swap as a way of ending a long-running dispute between the two countries.

“What is it that we are discussing with Greece today? The border. What did Kosovo and Montenegro discuss and achieved? The border. Why is it that the border between Kosovo and Serbia should not be discussed? It will surely be discussed, you like it or not. A [border] demarcation process will take place in this case too,” he was quoted as saying by news website Exit.

Rama’s remarks prompted a respond from Athens, with foreign Ministry sources saying  that the land border between Greece and Albania is not among the issues discussed between the two countries.

“The two countries are not discussing their borders, as those have been determined by international agreements and no negotiation is taking place over them,” the sources told the state-run news agency ANA-MPA.

The same sources said Athens and Tirana signed a friendship agreement in 1996, in which they proclaim their respect for the inviolability of existing borders.

In a interview with news24FM on Friday morning, Alternate Foreign Minister, Giorgos Katrougalos [will be sworn in as FM on Feb 18], stressed that the talks with Albania refer only the expansion of the territorial waters in the Ionian Sea. These are “our immediate priorities” because “they are something that will make Greece bigger, but also because it will also make it easier for us to negotiate with Italy and Albania to determine our economic zones “, he said estimating that the issue will have come to the Palriament by summer.

Athens and Tirana re-opened negotiations to delineate maritime borders in the Ionian Sea in May 2018 and resolve other bilateral issues.

In October 2018, the then outgoing foreign minister Nikos Kotzias announced Greece was ready to extend its territorial waters in its western flank from 6 to 12 nautical miles.

The move concerns the sea region extending from the Diapontia Islands, a cluster of small islands in the Ionian Sea, to Antikythera, an island lying between the Peloponnese and Crete.

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