Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Turkey Supports Albania’s NATO Bid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha arrive for a press conference after their meeting in Tirana on March 26, 2008. Erdogan is on a one-day visit to Albania.

26 March 2008 Tirana _ Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday his country’s support for Albania’s NATO membership bid at the alliance's summit in Bucharest next week.

Erdogan’s statement came during a joint press conference in Tirana with Albanian premier Sali Berisha. “I want to stress Turkey’s resolve for Albania’s integration into NATO,” Erdogan said. “In the coming Bucharest summit we will support Albania’s NATO bid, together with Macedonia and Croatia,” Erdogan added. In October 2007, NATO's Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution that endorses the possible issuing of invitations to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia to join the alliance at the Bucharest summit in April.

The resolution calls on these three candidates, known as the Adriatic Charter countries, to push through the necessary reforms, while urging NATO members to initiate discussions on the candidate countries' accession.Erdogan also backed the Tran-Adriatic gas pipeline project, which aims to link the gas grid in Turkey and Greece, through Albania with western European markets. “I will ask again to the institutions involved to back the Albanian portion of the pipeline,” said Erdogan.

A €1.5 billion investment transporting Caspian and Middle East natural gas via Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Italy and beyond, the pipeline is being developed by StatoilHydro and Swiss EGL Group. It is hoped the project will lower the European Union's dependency on Russian gas.The 520-kilometre pipeline will transport natural gas from Greece to Albania, and across the Adriatic Sea, to Italy's southern Puglia region and further into Western Europe.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Martin Sletzinger: Greater Albania can't be stopped

Sunday, 23 March 2008
Woodrow Wilson's Director of South Eastern European studies, Martin Sletzinger with a view on the latest Balkan socio/political events. "Macedonia can very well disappear as a country as a result of Kosovo's independence, while the whole Balkan region can enter a phase of major border shifts."

"I think, this is a process, which is very natural, now because of political reasons as well." The authorities in Tirana and the Albanians in Macedonia are not speaking anything of their plan, however I think it is unavoidable, they will attempt to bridge their land, in this case countries. It would be nice if this happens through the UN. And when this happens we can say our goodbye to Macedonia. For sure. However, this would only be the begining" says Martin Sletzinger in his interview for Voice of America.

This can explain the speech by Imer Aliu, Vice President in Macedonia's Government, a week ago. In his speech "We [Albanians] have same blood and same flag with our brothers in Kosovo". Perhaps Imer Aliu did not get the memo that their plans are not to be made public, at least not now. No need to mention the demands made by Taci to Gruevski.

Most of other US political analyst are unusually quiet, Mr. Sletzinger being the exception.
"I find it strange that no one is speaking about Macedonia. I have only heard of support for Kosovo's independence, but their analysis is focused towards Russia, and its behaviour."
On the question when would Albania merge with Kosovo, Sletzinger provides a deeper analysis. "When I started working in Congress, this was in the 1970's, Albanian lobby were giving us maps of Iliria, which included Kosovo, half of Macedonia, a good portion of Montenegro, and of course Albania.

I think the Albanians were very wise and, I think it's natural that they would want to live in one country, just like all Serbs want to live in one country. I don't know why we would allow a Greater Albania, which will neither be normal, nor more stable than Greater Serbia. Actually it would be very abnormal because it would be created from breaking up several countries. I think this is a process that is going on for years. It's not true that Kosovo became a country because of Milosevic's oppresion. This is nonsense. The problems between the Serbs and Albania go on for 100 years." says Sletzinger.

Sletzinger is an expert and has been analyzing the Balkans for over 30 years. He is convinced that Balkans' borders will change. "The Albianian will want to associate with Albania. This is in their psyche and the world will have to face up with this. The Balkan borders will change, perhaps not in 6 or 7 months, but in 6 or 7 years, for sure." concluded Sletzinger.

Eagleburger: Greece should be wary of 'Great Albania'

Monday, 24 March 2008
Eventual formation of a "Great Albania" and not the name of Macedonia, poses as a real threat to Greece, ex-U.S. State Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger said in the interview with the Greek paper Kathimerini. According to him, the real threat to Greece is creation of "Great Albania, which is bound to turn to Greece."
Eagleburger said he believed that Macedonia and Greece will settle the name issue after all, pointing out that Greece's insisting for its northern neighbor to change its name made no sense. The former U.S. State Secretary said that a compromise solution would be reached because of the necessity for Skopje to join NATO and mentioned in this sense the name "New Macedonia