Tirana, 5 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Greece pledged today to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of illegal Albanian immigrants and let them work in Greece.
In a protocol signed in Tirana by visiting Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo, the two countries agreed that Greece would issue temporary work permits to Albanians, who are now often summarily expelled from Greece.
If the agreement is approved by the Greek parliament, it will allow illegal Albanian immigrants to register with the Greek authorities and receive four-month work permits. These can later be extended up to five years.
In return, Albania promised to try to hold back immigrants by better patrolling the border with Greece. Greece has complained about the number of crimes committed by Albanian nationals entering the country illegally.