The President of the Greek Republic–Karolos Papoulias–ended his two-day visit in Tirana and Gjirokastër assuring that Greece will support Albania’s plan to enter the European Union and saying that he will personally continue to fight so that there is “no cloud, no shadow over Greek-Albanian relations.”
At the ceremony during which Mr. Papoulias was declared an honorary citizen of Gjirokastër he spoke of the support Athens will show to Albania in her journey towards the EU, the role of the Greek minority in the country and the Greek soldiers who died fighting for peace in the Greek-Italian war.
“Greece will support Albania’s journey to Europe. We did in the past and will continue to do so in the future, for the good of the Albanian people, for the good of all of us” he said while referring to the Greeks of Albania congratulating them because as he said “they pioneered in all social races of the country, and they spiritually grafted Albania and continue to do so.”
Mayor of Gjirokastër–Flamur Bime–spoke warmly of Mr. Papoulias. He even raised the Greek flag along with the Albanian on the famous Castle, something that locals said hadn’t happened since 1940. He also said that the Greek President “is a precious and well-tested friend who broke Albania’s isolation and continues to assist in forging a friendship between the two countries.”
Mr. Papoulias made a special reference to the fallen Greek soldiers in his speech in Gjirokastër. Among other things, he said that he was moved when he saw the crosses of the dead Greek soldiers, who died trying to overcome hatred and war so that peace could prevail.” Finally he said: “we are lucky to have survived and we have to fight for peace.”