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Comm. 35/94

Tirana, November 9, 1994

Dear Mr. Max van der Stoel

Thank you for your letter dated November 2, 1994, and the efforts you have been making to reveal the truth on the situation and treatment of the Greek minority in Albania. For a more complete and closer to reality final report on your visits to Albania and Greece regarding minority issues, I would like to make some suggestions which we consider to be very significant in your report as concerns the reflection of truth.

1. We would like the report of your mission to mirror the changes of the Greek minority situation in Albania after the establishment of the democratic regime, which you expressed in your letter dated September 10, 1993, sent to minister Serreqi, page 5 last paragraph: "since the communist regime collapsed in albania, the Greek minority has regained a measure of freedom unknown for decades". We consider it would be necessary to refer to the rights that this minority really enjoys today in the following fields:

2. It would be relevant to quote in the report your recommendations which have been realized up to now by the Albanian government such as the opening of the Minorities office at the Government, the legal and practical improvements that have been made in the minority education system and so on.

3. The existence of ultra nationalist Greek minority individuals who stir up speculations on the situation of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania could also be mentioned in the report.

4. The Albanian request on the rights of the Albanian minority in Greece takes into consideration those who could remain in Chameri after the expulsion of thousands of albanians following World War II, as well as the Albanians living in other regions of Greece and the well-known Arvanites. Greece denies their presence and prohibits affirmation of their national identity in spite of the evidence provided by foreign observers, such as the Report of the Federal Union of European Nationalities - FUEN (May 25, 1994), the Report issued by the British Helsinki Human Rights Group - Oxford (May 1994), the Letter (October 1994) by the United States Department of State to the Coalition of the Albanian-American Religious, Educational, Cultural and Social Societies, etc.

May I also specify that, concerning the right of the members of a national minority to learn their mother tongue, Article 44 of the Albanian

"to learn or to be taught in their mother tongue ..." (and not "to learn and to be taught as quoted in your letter, page 2, paragraph 3,

Hoping that our comments will help further complement the Report on your missions in Albania and Greece, I remain

Yours sincerely,