Russia alarmed by Albania plans to unite with Kosovo

Prishtina, Kosovo | 26 Feb 2019 (Tirana Echo) – Russia has called comments made by Albanian PM Edi Rama that Kosovo is part of Albania as ‘absolutely inadmissible’, adding that Moscow expects the West to react.

During a press conference, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Moscow cannot remain silent when Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama says that “Kosovo is part of Albania” calling his comments as unacceptable.

According to Sputnik, PM Rama has said that unification of Kosovo with Albania is not a ‘plan B’ but ‘plan A’.

We thought we had not translated this statement well – which is why we checked it several times. The Albanian Prime Minister linked the implementation of this plan with the correction of the borders that are actively discussed at the end of the negotiation process and the achievement of the final agreement between Belgrade and Prishtina,” Zakharova said during her regular press briefing.

According to the Foreign Ministry statement, Russia considers such rhetoric absolutely inadmissible and considers the plans to be in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, complicating a deal between Belgrade and Prishtina.

“We expect the West to respond to such a statement and such geopolitical plans, as they undermine stability and decrease trust in the Balkan region, while it complicates the dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtina.” concluded Zakharova.

Moscow’s reaction comes as political discourse in the Balkans is dominated by a possible controversial deal between Belgrade and Prishtina which may include a land swap and culminate with Kosovo’s recognition by Serbia.

The US has said it would welcome a bilateral agreement between the two countries, including an exchange of territories, while during a recent visit in Belgrade, President Putin has hinted that Russia may be ready to work with everyone to find a deal on Kosovo, providing that a compromise is reached by everyone.

The intervention comes also at a time when Us Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Central & Eastern European countries to resist increasing Russian and Chinese interferences, while Albania is currently going through a growing political crisis which may spiral out of control, months ahead of a possible opening of membership talks with the European Union.

Several political analysts have linked the latest opposition protests in Albania to Russia’s meddling in the Balkans, with former FBI agent Mark Rossini pointing out last week that Russia may be behind the latest wave of opposition protests, accusing former PM Berisha of being Putin’s puppet in the Adriatic.

European Union leaders agreed last June to start membership talks with Albania and Macedonia within 2019 if both small Balkan nations show substantial progress in their crucial rule of law reforms under way.

The Balkans is seen by Washington and Brussels as an economically deprived area of Europe where western interests clash with increasing foreign influences from the east, notably from Russia, China and Turkey.

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