Meta’s Speech in Montenegrin Parliament: Albanian Minority, a Solid Bridge of Friendship
Albanian Daily News
Published July 13, 2016

Address of the Speaker of Parliament of Albania, H.E.Mr Ilir Meta in Parliament of Montenegro. Below the full speech: 

Distinguished President of Parliament, Mr.
Pajovic,


Distinguished Secretary General of OSCE Mr.
Zannier


Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Excellences Ambassadors,


Dear friends.


It is my great personal pleasure to have the
opportunity and honour to hold this first address in Albanian in the
inauguration of the simultaneous interpretation system in the Albanian and
Montenegrin languages, which will be used during plenary sessions in
Montenegro. 


This is a visionary action and a significant
gesture to be welcomed, so, on behalf of the Albanian Parliament, I would like
to thank you, congratulate and wish you success in the realization of your
vision for a modern and integrated Montenegro in the Euro-Atlantic structures.


I would also like to thank the group of
Albanian parties of Montenegro, which in accordance with your Constitution,
based their request for using Albanian language in the Parliament of
Montenegro.


Albania praises the excellent relations
established with our neighbor Montenegro, which often are referred to as a
model of good neighborhood and progress of relations in our Balkans region. 



You really have a wonderful country, which I
greatly cherish.


Historic friendship and natural relations that
exist between our two peoples are an example to the entire region, and we
should be proud of this. 


Albania and Montenegro feel closer to each
other not only because of geography, but also thanks to the Albanian minority
here, which unites us even closer, as a solid bridge of friendship and
cooperation.


Albania highly appraises the extraordinary
democratic and social development of Montenegro in recent years.


Amongst all these developments I would like to
distinguish your progress in the Euro-Atlantic path, an agenda that Albania
strongly and generously supports.


Parliament of Albania, clearly
supporting this perspective, adopted on June 23rd, without
hesitation and in full consensus, the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty
protocol for Montenegro’s accession to NATO, as promised during the warm meeting
we had with Prime Minister Dukanovic in the previous month, in Tirana, in the
framework of NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 


We believe that Montenegro’s accession to NATO,
as well as the progress towards the finalisation without delay of Euro-Atlantic
integration processes for all countries of our region, are key for
strengthening the perspective of peace and stability throughout South-East
Europe. 


The progress of Montenegro is a substantial
contribution that all your neighbours should praise.


In this regard, the Albanian-Montenegrin
cooperation and friendship are extremely important for the stability of the
region.


We have therefore discussed with my
colleague Pajovic, both in Tirana and today here in Podgorica, that cooperation
between our two parliaments should enhance the quality of cooperation between
the two respective governments, particularly in the context of European
integration process of both countries. 


In this regard, Albania believes in a region
entirely integrated in the European Union and NATO, and in the removal of
unnecessary obstacles to the free movement of people, trade and goods.


In this context, we have supported regional
integration processes of all our neighbours, in particular the implementation
of the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo and the normalisation of their
relations, to the benefit of prosperity, economic and security development of
all our countries and peoples. 


Let me express here my gratitude for the
willingness of Montenegro to both preserve inter-ethnic harmony and recognise
political realities in the region, as it was the recognition of the State of
Kosovo, which we highly appreciate.  I
note with great pleasure that our cooperation has gone through an ever rising
curve.


I would also like to take this opportunity from
the podium of the Parliament of Montenegro to address a small group from
opposition parties absent during this session that Albania is determined to
work together for the future and stability of our region, including Serbia too.


In this regard, the relation between Albania
and Serbia are daily knowing an admirable progress. We are committed to take
the level of relation with Serbia in a near future at the same level as the
excellent relation with Montenegro are. This is the only way to guarantee a
stable and secure future for our people.


But, considering the potential of regional
projects where our two countries play a key role, I think that much more could
be done by both sides.


The Adriatic-Ionian Highway or the Blue
Corridor, as well as the extension of TAP Pipeline through the IAP branch
towards Montenegro and beyond to BIH and Croatia are two of these major
projects of regional interconnection of a strategic importance for both our
countries.


Along with the Adriatic Sea that we share with
other neighbouring countries, Albania and Montenegro have some unique natural
sources such are Lake of Shkodra, Buna and Cem river, the magic Alps, which
makes our engagement not only to preserve this common natural heritage crucial
but calls for joint effort to develop this sources for the benefit our people.


We appreciate the attention the Montenegrin
authorities pay to the rights of Albanians and encourage further progress in
this regard, as we continuously encourage the contributing and constructive
participation of Albanians in the institutional and political life of
Montenegro. 


We are proud for the great contribution that
Albanians have played for the independence of your country and the
strengthening of Montenegro as democratic, European and Euro Atlantic state.


The use of Albanian language in your parliament
is a clear sign of the importance you pay to the needs of this autochthonous
population.


I do believe that there’s a lot to do ahead of
us to improve the standards of Albanian minority for solid and democratic
coexistence. Time has come to speak to one another like good friends and act
with determination, with concrete action plan so we can follow up and prove our
people that we keep our promises.


Let me please add in this regard that
importance for the decentralization of local government within the
municipalities of Albanian majority. This will enable them to use financial
sources with concrete projects for their community and certainly give them a
better sense of ownership and accountability to their voters.


Another important issue is the property rights
and law on maritime benefits which should imply in the same way in Ulcinj
municipality as it has on other ones along your beautiful coast.


As far the use of language and of national
symbols, I believe that signs along villages and roads with Albanian majority
could be more obvious in Albanian language whereas our flag can be present at
local government building and schools along with the National flag of Montenegro.


Considering that Albanian are a specific
national minority due to their identity their cultural heritage needs to be
preserved and valued as national richness for the Montenegro state and unique
autochthones element.


The contribution of Albanians within the most
important moments of your history are well-known. The determination of the
state building of independent state of Montenegro as well as their contribution
in the euro Atlantic aspiration of your country are true testimony of their
constructive role in building a democratic country where can raise our
children.


I know that there have been some disputes over
the status of TUZI commune as centre of Malisia region, but after talking to
several actors today I believe that Tuzi can be municipality on its own but
should also keep functional links with Podgorica in order to assure it social
and economic development for its constituency.


At the same time I would like to assure you
that we are sensitive and take care for Montenegro minority rights in Albania.
We are adopting our legal frame work in Albania regarding their presentation
with the EU legal frame work on minority rights.


I did promise the Speaker Pajovic that I would
see in my office a group of Montenegro minority representatives to share their
concerns and will guarantee that Albania will take all necessary steps to
guarantee their legitimate rights and make them feel proud of the national and
cultural identity.


Distinguished Members of Parliament,


The entire European continent is going through tough
economic, social and political challenges.


We, as politicians and legislators have a
special responsibility in our respective countries to preserve and strengthen
stability and security for our peoples.


We should not forget that in our region of the
Balkans, all nations are somewhere in majority and somewhere in minority.  


Therefore, I think that our future strength
lies in the development of democratic institutions, in the removal of barriers
and avoidance of prejudices in the region and beyond, which bring about
conflicts, isolation and backwardness.  


In this global world, competition is not any
more among countries, but among regions and our small countries must be
conscious of this reality.  Only by
collaborating with each other we can face the difficult times yet ahead of us.


I assure you that a strong, democratic,
European and Euro Atlantic Montenegro is also in the Albanian national
interest.


Honorable Members of Parliament,


Allow me to convey heartfelt congratulations to
you all, a day before your National Day on July 13th
and wish you much deserved success in consolidating your state in the road map
of European integration.  


Thank You!





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