Greece “Unhappy” After Annulment of Border Deal

Greek Alternative Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said Athens was displeased with the annulment of a territorial agreement which delineates the continental shelf between Albania and Greece in the Ionian Sea.

The agreement was annulled on Wednesday by Albania’s constitutional court, which argued that it had serious legal flaws.

“It is of course a negative development that we are not happy about,” said Droutsas. “But I want to stress that this is a matter of the domestic judicial process in Albania, which we cannot but respect,” he added.

The legality of the agreement was questioned by the Albanian opposition Socialist Party, which claimed that the government was handing Albanian territory to its neighbour for unclear political benefits.

The court heard arguments for and against the agreement from opposition lawyers and representatives of some of the highest institutions in the country, including the President’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Navy and others.

The agreement, signed by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis in late April 2009 in Tirana, created a stir of controversy in the local media. The Albanian government was accused of giving 225 square kilometers of its territorial waters to its southern neighbour.

The media accused Berisha and the Ministry of Defense of not delineating the division of the continental shelf according to the equidistance principle of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on which the agreement was based, a charge which the Ministry of Defense has flatly denied.

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