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(e m b l e m)




Tirana, September 17, 1993

Distinguished Excellency,

May I first express my gratitude to You and high consideration of the mission You undertook to Albania in connection with the situation of the Greek minority. According to my judgement, the significance of Your mission was linked not only with the fact that the treatment of the minority issue is delicate in general, especially in the countries which are in a period of transition on the road to the consolidation of democracy, but also first of all, with the actual moment when Albanian-Greek bilateral relations have sunk to a new low for reasons which are well understood.

Since the beginning of its activity for the country's democratic transformation, the Albanian democratic government attached special importance to minority problems, that is recognition, guarantee and observance of the Rights of the minority members. its fundamental policy in this regard relied on the basic concept that the development and consolidation of the pluralistic democracy the rule of law and respect for human rights, constitute the best framework in the treatment of minority issues. The aim of our state is and remains respect for the freedoms and rights of the individual, the enhancement of the ethnical identity of minorities, including the Greek minority, which You also refer in Your objective report by saying that "since the fall of the communist regime in Albania, the Greek minority has regained a level of the freedom unknown for decades...".

In our activities as regards minorities, the prevailing feature is the full legal guarantee and ever better meeting of the rights of minority members, recognised in practice from the very start of the democratic process and this expressed in the activity to draw up and endorse a series of laws, as part and parcel of the implementation of the Charter of Human Rights. In this regard, we support and appraise Your recommendations on setting up a special Minority office in order to speed up the process of returning church property, to look after problems of the safety of the representatives.

As well as this, considering Your recommendation on educational rights as a just one, I deem it a pleasure to let You know that by decision of the Albanian government, this school year, the Greek minority has been provided with all conditions to attend higher schooling in its mother tongue. The Higher school in Greek language is now functioning in Gjirokaster.

It is understandable that there are also problems, which You point out and as You refer, will take some time to be solved completely because of the difficult economic situation. Disagreements concerning them, have to do with the failure on the part of the Greek minority members to understand our difficult situation which has a bearing on their fulfilment as well as with some interference from outside, which do not help the process of their fulfilment, instead they are source of provocation. I would like to assure You that in their policy towards minorities in the future, too, the Albanian authorities will rely on the most advanced international standards in order to make Albania a model in the treatment of Ethnic problems.

Please, Excellency, accept the assurances of my highest consideration.

(s i g n a t u r e)