Friday, February 22, 2013

Germany warns Albania against nationalist rhetoric

2/22/2013 5:34:00 PM
TIRANA - Germany on Friday warned Albanian leaders to refrain from using inflammatory nationalist rhetoric, amid international concern over growing talk of a 'Greater Albania' straddling several borders. It is important that nationalist feelings and emotions be controlled and treated with a big responsiblity and a lot of attention, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during a visit to Tirana, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). 

 No changes of borders are allowed in the Balkans, he said, urging politicians to refrain from escalating nationalist rhetoric during the campaign for parliamentary polls due in June. Conflicts in the Balkans have to be resolved through cooperation, rather than by powerful rhetoric, German ARD Radio cited Westerwelle as saying. To see all the states of the region joining the European Union one day has to be a common goal, he added. Over the past few months, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisa and other officials have spoken about the creation of a 'Greater Albania', sparking concern among neighboring countries with Albanian minorities, said AFP.

 In December, the United States warned Tirana it was playing a "dangerous game," and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker Friday said that Albania has to stop resorting to nationalist rhetoric and focus on meeting the criteria needed to obtain the EU membership candidate status. AFP notes that during November celebrations marking 100 years of Albania's independence, Berisha irked his country's neighbors when he spoke of "Albanians from all Albanian lands," referring to ethnic Albanian populations in Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. Photo Tanjug video/D. Pavlovic

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