STATE DEPARTMENT REGULAR BRIEFING
BRIEFER: ROBERT WOOD, DEPUTY DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING ROOM, STATE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.
10:40 A.M. EST, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2008
QUESTION: Albania. Mr. Wood, I raised a question yesterday concerning the personal role of DOS, if any, related to Sali Berisha’s recent comments about his, quote, unquote, “willingness” to resolve issues involving property claims via, quote, unquote, “a legal approach.” I am puzzled to learn that my question was referred to the Holocaust Office. That’s irrelevant to what I asked, and I’m wondering why.
MR. WOOD: We did our best to answer your question, Mr. Lambros. I don’t have anything further for you.
QUESTION: In order to clarify the position, may I repeat – again ask the question?
According to Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Albania and Greece involved in negotiation at the legal level concerning World War II issues on properties of Albanian Nazi collaborators who escaped Greece. And it was said that Department of State plays a role, and I would like to know what exactly you are doing in this process. This question has nothing to do anything with American citizen claims.
MR. WOOD: Mr. Lambros, I think we addressed the question. I’ll take a look to see if there’s any further thing that we can say about it.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Albania-FYROM. Mr. Wood, according to an interview, Assistant Secretary Matt Bryza made some absolute statements about minorities in the Balkans. When asked about the status and rights of the Greeks in Albania and FYROM, he dismissed the question as irrelevant, quote, “He had nothing to say about them,” unquote, or, quote, “even to hear the term ‘minority,’” unquote. Since that reflects your policy, Mr. Wood, I am wondering is there any particular reason why the Department of State seems allergic to hearing about the rights of the Greeks minority in the Balkans by (inaudible) to extra length to determine even imaginary minorities in Greece?
MR. WOOD: Well, I disagree with the premise of your statement, Mr. Lambros. Again, I have not seen what Matt has said, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on it. Our policy with regard to Macedonia is well known, very clear. We have said that many times from the podium.
QUESTION: What about the property and human rights of the Greeks in Albania and FYROM? They have been violated totally by both governments, and I am wondering what do you do as Department of State from the human rights point of view.
MR. WOOD: Look, our position on human rights for minorities around the world is fairly clear, sir. I don’t think I need to say more on that.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. WOOD: You’re welcome.
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