NEWS

Prime Minister takes tough stance opposite Albania, Turkey

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday expressed concern about a violent wave of nationalism in Albania, following the murder of a member of the country’s ethnic Greek minority last month. «The peak in nationalist sentiment among extremist groups, which target the Greek minority, is a very serious matter,» Papandreou told reporters at a news conference in Thessaloniki. «Nationalism does not help the Balkans; it always causes big problems,» he said. The prime minister also adopted a hard stance opposite Ankara on the thorny issue of Cyprus, responding to a question by a reporter. «The Cyprus problem has always been and remains a problem of occupation,» Papandreou said, referring to some 40,000 Turkish troops stationed in the island’s occupied north. Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who took over the top spot at the ministry from Papandreou in last week’s reshuffle, appealed to Turkey a few days later to withdraw its troops on Cyprus.