Athens seeks answers from Tirana over decision to declare 52 Greek citizens as personae non gratae

Friday, 09 November 2018 21:46

Greece's foreign ministry on Friday requested "valid clarifications" over Albanian authorities' decision to declare 52 Greek citizens as "personae non gratae", as fallout from the shootout death of an ethnic Greek man continued this week with his burial on Thursday in the southern Albania village where he died.

A funeral for 35-year-old Konstantinos Katsifas in the village of Bularat / Vouliarates was attended by hundreds of people, including local members of the ethnic Greek community in the neighboring country as well as mourners from Greece. Authorities in the neighboring country had kept the body for 11 days prior to returning it to the victim's family.

Athens also called Tirana to avoid statements and actions that further harm the climate of bilateral relations.

The statement comes as Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama himself has taken to his Twitter account to comment on the Katsifas incident, Tweets deemed as inflammatory by a segment of Greek society and political parties.

In defending is action to declare the 52 Greek citizens as persona non grata, the Albanian foreign ministry referred to "organized actions" against the country and statements against its constitutional order, national security and public peace.

Katsifas was fatally injured in an exchange of gunfire with members of an Albanian swat unit sent to arrest him, with conflicting reports on who fired first and the reason behind the clash.

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