Greece expresses solidarity after Albania quake

Greece expresses solidarity after Albania quake

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias expressed Greece’s solidarity with the Albanian people and its government on Tuesday after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake in the early hours, leaving at least 21 dead and more than 600 injured. 

Visiting the city of Durres, which was near the epicenter of the magnitude 6.4 quake, Dendias said that he had traveled there along with two EMAK rescue teams at the request of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 

“We have been through this, we know about it, we will do everything we can to help,” he said after a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Mitsotakis also expressed his solidarity with the Albanian people in a phone conversation with Rama. 

According to the head of Greece’s Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization, Professor Efthymios Lekkas, who also traveled to Albania, Greece is not at risk from the quake. 

“This is the most active seismic zone in Albania, but it does not affect Greece’s territory because it is interrupted by the Koritsa fault,” he said. 

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Dendias visited North Macedonia, where he noted that relations have “dramatically improved” since a deal to change the neighboring country’s name to end a decades-old dispute between the two countries. 

Dendias, who met with the country’s President Stevo Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, expressed Greece’s support for North Macedonia’s aspiration to join the European Union, which was rebuffed last month. 

“I share the frustration in North Macedonia, that a positive decision was not taken in October,” he said, adding however that Skopje must not dwell on last month’s decision. 

He also said that Athens is working to shape the conditions within the EU that will allow for the next step, and noted that, through a Greek initiative, Dimitrov and acting Albanian foreign minister Gent Cakaj have been invited to a working breakfast on December 9 on the sidelines of a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

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