FM sends stern message to Albania over mayor-elect’s continued detention

FM sends stern message to Albania over mayor-elect’s continued detention

Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis sent a stern message to neighboring Albania on Tuesday, saying that it was “shooting itself in the foot” with the continued detention of the elected mayor of the ethnic Greek city of Himare, Fredi Beleri, saying that it is “unlawful” to keep him in custody pending trial for allegedly tampering with the May vote.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Gerapetritis warned that the Albanian authorities’ failure to take the necessary measures for Beleri’s release or to allow him to take his oath, thereby increasing the risk of him being removed from office, will cause a serious deterioration in Albania’s bilateral relations with Greece.

Gerapetritis noted that the Greek government has taken steps from the start of the affair, including contacting officials associated with Albania’s European Union accession procedure to say that talks cannot progress under the current circumstances.

The minister reported two “difficult telephone conversations” with his Albanian counterpart on this issue with no result, and for this reason sent a particularly stern letter to his EU counterparts and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell last week outlining the Greek positions and the obstacles to Albania’s continued progress to joining the EU. [AMNA]

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