CEOL
Albania urges Greece to stop border shootings

TIRANA, Apr 6, 2000 -- (Reuters) Albania, concerned by recent border incidents involving Greece in the Ionian Sea, urged its southern neighbor on Wednesday to avoid opening fire on boats.

The call came after Greek coastguards were reported on Monday to have fired at a speedboat ferrying illegal immigrants from Albania across the narrow strait to the Greek holiday island of Corfu.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares that the violations of the border between our two countries should be solved without using extreme measures," the ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman Sokol Gjoka told Reuters a woman wounded in the incident was being treated in a Greek hospital, but nothing was known about the fate of the four other Albanians on the boat.

In a separate incident five days ago, what was described as a Greek military vessel opened fire at random towards the Albanian coast. Greece has denied any involvement by a military vessel.

The sporadic incidents have put some strain on otherwise good relations between the two Balkan neighbors.

In the last decade more than half a million Albanians fled the impoverished country in search of a better life in Greece.



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