Greece’s foreign ministry on Sunday issued an announcement that criticized references made by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Dimir Bushati regarding a “Cham issue” that Greece considers firmly closed.
“Albania needs to realize that its European course depends on the faithful implementation of the European Union’s five principles, among which is respect for justice and rule of law. This presupposes that it will respect court rulings, especially when they concern war crimes, and, instead of raising non-existent issues, implement the prerequisites and its commitments with regard to protection of the rights of the indigenous Greek National Minority,” the announcement said.
It also urged “seriousness” and “respect for the accurate facts of history” and “a vision for relations based on building…a future that ensures substantial progress in bilateral relations and contributes to security and stability in the wider region.”
Rama and Bushati have both referred to the existence of a “Cham issue” in statements made in recent days, ahead of a visit by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to Tirana, despite warnings from the Greek foreign ministry that the issue “does not exist” for Athens.
Foreign ministry sources, talking a few weeks earlier, had noted that the Chams, who had collaborated with Axis forces during the German occupation of Greece, had then departed from Epirus on their own initiative, permanently and as a group, following the retreat of enemy forces.