Russia warns Albania, Kosovo against creating “Greater Albania”

TTimes
By TTimes October 12, 2020 18:40

Russia warns Albania, Kosovo against creating “Greater Albania”

TIRANA, Albania - Russia has entered the most recent debate, following the spat of words between Albania and Serbia on the subject of “Greater Albania.” 

Following a recent joint Albania-Kosovo Cabinets’ meeting, Belgrade came out warning against the creation of Greater Albania, an old term thrown in the debate often but which experts have deconstructed as a myth that serves only political usage.

Albania and Kosovo, both with a dominating ethnic Albanian population, have formally made clear they do not intend to unite in one country, but in the bigger European Union family.

In the joint meeting, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said they would put the Durres port at the disposal of Kosovo so that they cut short expenses and other bureaucracy for the trade exchange. That is what EU member countries have agreed and applied though the bloc. The EU urges the Western Balkan countries to integrate among themselves especially economically, an objective also of the Berlin Process heralded first by Germany.

“There is an ambiguous impression, which says that despite the dubious and risky nature of their ‘approach,’ the governments of Tirana and Pristina continue to promote the policy of Greater Albania, no matter how much they try to embellish their own plans,” a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that “such actions pose a real threat to peace and stability in the Balkans.”

“We would like to remind you that Kosovo [and this is confirmed by UNSCR 1244] is part of the Republic of Serbia and the arbitrary invocation of the principle of territorial integrity in relation to a sovereign state can only be assessed as brutal interference in his internal affairs,” the statement said.

The declaration echoes the concern of Serbian politicians that denounced the joint governmental meeting, as allegedly a concrete plan to establish ‘Greater Albania’, declarations that were met with public scorn from Albanian PM, Edi Rama.

Russia has stepped up diplomatic and political statements, trying to keep its influence in the Western Balkans, mostly in Montenegro and Serbia. It vocally opposed the NATO accession of Montenegro and North Macedonia.

PM Rama visited Moscow this year in the context of Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship but was received by Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov.

TTimes
By TTimes October 12, 2020 18:40