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Greek American Organizations’ Policy Statement on Albania
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
May 20, 2005—No.49 (202) 785-8430

Greek American Organizations’ Policy Statement on Albania

WASHINGTON, DC—American Hellenic Institute president Gene Rossides announced today that the major Greek American membership organizations endorsed the policy statement on Albania prepared by the American Hellenic Institute. These are: the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, the Evrytanian Association of America and the American Hellenic Institute. The endorsed statement, which is part of the 2005 Greek American Policy Statements, follows:

Albania

Although some improvements have been made lately in the conditions and treatment of the Greek minority, continuing acts of discrimination and persecution tolerated by the government of Albania against the nation's ethnic Greek minority constitute subtle ethnic cleansing aimed at making ethnic Greeks feel isolated, powerless and vulnerable so that they will abandon their homes and move south to Greece.

The personal safety of ethnic Greeks in Albania is also at risk by reason of direct intimidation by security forces and the burning of schools, churches and businesses by lawless bands that the police allow to operate with impunity. Nowhere are ethnic Greeks given a fair deal or even a fair count. Although Albania successfully sought a census to measure the Albanian minority in neighboring FYROM, its government resists the demand of the European Union to measure its minorities, so it can continue to claim that the Greek minority is small when it constitutes at least 10 percent of the country's 3.5 million population.

We call on the U.S. government, in its own interest and the interest of maintaining peace and stability in the southern Balkans, to undertake an intense diplomatic dialogue with the government of Albania to ensure that the rule of law is observed and minority and basic human rights are protected. The U.S must make clear that Albania must treat its minorities fairly and humanely the way it wants Albanian minorities in neighboring countries to be treated.

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at