Albanian-Macedonian Ties, Existential
Albanian Daily News
Published November 21, 2017
The President of the Republic, Ilir Meta is paying an official visit to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, at the invitation of his counterpart, Gjorge Ivanov. The two Presidents held a tete-a-tete meeting, followed by a meeting between the delegations. Meta praised close historical and cultural ties, and underlined that they are existential and defining.
"Albania advocates for respect of minorities, their identity and culture. The law regulating this matter was amended in line with European standards," Albanian President Ilir Meta told a news conference in Skopje alongside his host, President Gjorge Ivanov, when asked to comment on Albania's move to recognize a Bulgarian minority in the country. "Albania's government and Parliament have demonstrated utmost flexibility and tolerance on the matter, but it doesn't mean that we will encourage actions that are inadequate compared to the reality in Albania regarding minorities," noted President Meta. He pledged we would personally commit to supporting the Macedonian community in Albania.
"We are proud of the exceptional values of the Macedonian community in Albania. I've assured President Ivanov that during my tenure I will keep supporting this ethnic community in an attempt to strengthen its identity and position, because the community is of great value of our country," Meta noted. Answering a journalist question, both Ivanov and Meta confirmed they discussed the issue involving the mayor of Pustec, Edmond Themelko, who has been put in detention in Macedonia. Ivanov said he had informed the government about Themelko's deteriorating health. It's uncertain whether he could get through the trial. President Meta also expressed concern saying the matter involved an Albanian national after all.
"All nationals should respect the laws of the country that has granted them citizenship. In the case involving Themelko, he has dual nationality - Albanian and Macedonian. I have expressed my concerns in my meetings here. It involves a public figure, a mayor of a municipality and after all, a person who is suffering from bad health," stated Meta. Speaking at the news conference, Ivanov said that Macedonians in Albania and Albanians in Macedonia were the two links connecting the two countries the most.
"I've expressed my gratitude to Meta for his efforts to improve the status of Macedonians in Albania. Aside from some isolated cases, every time we should be looking at the big picture and to encourage positive examples that are improving the relations between the countries," the Macedonian President noted. "It's better to spend time working together, supporting each other than to judge each other over issues from the past," Meta said, stressing that Macedonia and Albania had set an example for cooperation to the region in this respect. He thanked Macedonia for recognizing Kosovo, acknowledging the decision hadn't been an easy one and called it 'important and necessary'.
Asked about coexistence, the Albanian President welcomed the progress made in regard to the use of language. Commenting on the law on use of languages, which has been recently approved by MPs, President Ivanov said he would voice his opinion once the bill was sent to his cabinet. "I carefully followed the MPs' debate about the law. Once the bill is forwarded to me, I will voice my opinion. It has to be in line with the Constitution and laws," he stressed.
Meta Seeks Transparency on Kumanovo Case
During the meeting with President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov, Albanian President Ilir Meta sought a transparent trial, based on international standards, on Kumanovo case. First Instance Court of Skopje sentenced to 746 years in jail the defendants in Kumanovo case a few weeks ago.
Asked by the media to comment on the Kumanovo shootout and verdicts handed down to the gunmen, Meta said he wasn't in a position to asses trials. "I hope that upcoming stages of this case would be transparent in compliance with European standards having in mind that Macedonia is striving to join NATO and the EU," declared President Meta.
Meta- Zaev Encourage Economic Cooperation
President Ilir Meta was received in a separate meeting by the Prime Minister of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. Mea congratulated the PM on the positive results of both electoral processes in Macedonia and hailed the concrete engagements of the new government to improve the climate and inter-ethnic relations, but also to create a positive relation with neighboring countries.
"Good inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia are very important, not only for the stability of Macedonia but also for the stability of the entire region," said Meta.
He underlined that ties between Albania and Macedonia are existential and decisive for the Euro-Atlantic future of both countries. "Together we can resist and successfully cope with all globalization challenges that our region faces," underlined the President.
Meta expressed his confidence for the opening of the EU accession talks of Albania and Macedonia during 2018, and assured PM Zaev on Albania's support for NATO's membership.
Meta and Zaev shared the same view on the indispensability to increase economic and trade cooperation, and to enhance energy and infrastructural ties, where the implementation of joint projects in the frame of Corridor 8 is very important. In this frame, President Meta underscored that extraordinary results can be achieved with non-extraordinary investments. The interlocutors expressed confidence that in the upcoming meeting between the two governments, in Pogradec, all these issues regarding comprehensive promotion and development between the two countries will be addressed.
Xhaferi-Meta: Bilateral Ties Continually Enhanced
"As Parliament Speaker I will provide my contribution in the enhancement and intensification of bilateral relations in all fields, especially the strengthening of parliamentary cooperation at all levels," said Speaker Talat Xhaferi at Monday's meeting with Albanian President Ilir Meta.
Xhaferi thanked Meta for Albania's continual support to Macedonia's NATO integration, highlighting the strong commitment by the new government to the country's reform processes. President Meta expressed satisfaction about the fact that an ethnic Albanian was Macedonian Speaker for the first time in the country's history, contributing to the enhancement of interethnic relations and coexistence. The President stressed the need for close cooperation in the Euro-integration field, because the Parliament has a key role on the European path. He also welcomed the upcoming joint government session that would focus on specific issues of mutual interest and emphasized the necessity of unblocking Macedonia's NATO and EU accession, reads the press release.