Alt. FM Katrougalos calls for caution in Greek-Albanian relations

Supporting the rights of the Greek minority in Albania is a priority for Greece’s foreign policy, Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos told “Sto Kokkino” radio station on Friday, adding that bilateral relations with Albania must also be protected.

Katrougalos said that voices supporting irredentism must be isolated and that both countries’ leaders should practise self-restraint in their statements. He was asked to comment particularly on statements made by Albania’s prime minister in relation to the funeral of Greek national Konstantinos Katsifas at Bularat in Albania. The Greek Foreign Ministry had said it was notified he had been killed after allegedly opening fire on Albanian police with a kalashnikov rifle, and it had called for clarifications from its neighboring country.

The statements “and their tone do not really help in keeping tempers down and in isolating nationalistic voices on either side,” Katrougalos noted. “We mustn’t make statements to cater temporarily to our own national audiences. We must protect our mutual interests as countries, our bilateral relations, and I hope the Albanian side understands this,” he added.