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Balkan Developments

Turkey and Greece to resume political dialogue

"Greece and Turkey have a real chance to reduce tension stemming from their disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said during his visit to Turkey’s capital Ankara this week, BTA reported. Germany has acted as a mediator between Turkey and Greece to help them resume talks that were suspended in 2016 over the dispute on the oil and gas drilling rights in the region. Important meetings between the two Balkan countries are expected to take place in the coming days. The purpose of these meetings is to reduce the risk of an armed conflict in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. According to Greece, the delimitation of maritime boundaries is the only problem between the two countries. However, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made it clear that the issue related to Greece’s claims about its airspace extending up to 10 nautical miles will be addressed during the meetings as well.

Greek students protest against police presence in universities

Hundreds of Greek students demonstrated in Athens against a bill requiring for the first time in Greece the presence of police officers in universities. The protests took place despite the anti-epidemic measures introduced in this country to contain the spread of Covid-19. “Students are not criminals”, read a poster help up by the demonstrators. A demonstration took place in the town of Thessaloniki as well, where the police used tear gas to disperse protesters. “Universities are crucial public structures which are subject to threats against security”, said Greece’s Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chryssochoidis.

Serbia helps North Macedonia with vaccines

North Macedonia is to receive 8,000 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from Serbia, this country’s Premier Zoran Zaev told the media, North Macedonia’s Nezavisen daily newspaper announced. Initially, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic intended to donate the vaccines to North Macedonia, but Zaev said that his country would pay them at a regular price. “I am grateful and I would like to express my gratitude to Serbia on behalf of the entire Macedonian people. This is a great act of friendship”, Premier Zaev said.

EU to grant EUR 70 million to Western Balkans for vaccines

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides has announced that the European Union will provide a EUR 70 million grant to the Western Balkans to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, BTA reported.Assistance will be provided through the mechanism for distribution of vaccines. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also called on the EU to support its Western Balkan partners in supplying Covid-19vaccines, Serbia’s state news agency Tanjug reported.

Hundreds of nutria migrate to Edirne after recent floods in Bulgaria

Hundreds of nutria were spotted in the Turkish district of Edirne in the recent days, displaced by last week’s floods in Bulgaria where Tundzha River overflew its banks, the Turkish private NTV announced, quoted by BTA. The animals are bred in Bulgaria for fur. However, they originate from South America. They inhabit the wetlands on the banks of Tundzha and Maritsa rivers. The male species weight around 8 kilograms and the females weigh up to 5 kilograms. Each year when rivers overflow their banks, hundreds of nutria migrate to Edirne where they enjoy the attention of photographers and ordinary citizens.

Written by: Miglena Ivanova

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: EPA/BGNES and trthaber.com

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