Kosovo’s new president Hashim Thaçi has landed in Tirana, in its first official presidential visit to Albania’s capital, seeking support for his ruling coalition government at home, faced with numerous protests from opposition on the border demarcation hot issue with Montenegro.
President Thaçi met with Albanian President Bujar Nishani, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Speaker of Parliament Ilir Meta with whom he reconfirmed the close ties of cooperation between Kosovo and Albania.
“I am very grateful and I recognize and value your contribution. I have full faith that Albania will be the extended voice of Kosovo. We are on the right path and we will complement each-other in our Euro-Atlantic agenda. Kosovo is focused on obtaining the liberalization of visas with the Schengen zone an on the creation of its armed forces”, said Thaçi speaking at a press conference in Tirana today.
Thaçi, a former KLA commander, former Prime Minister and strong political personality in Kosovo from its inception as a young Balkan state, said that Kosovo has excellent relations with Macedonia and with Montenegro, muting concerns over the deal on a border dispute with Montenegro which has sparked violent protests throughout Kosovo.
The opposition says the agreement hands over some 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of territory to Montenegro, a claim the government denies.
“Kosovo is losing 8,200 hectares … it is losing water sources and lakes,” said Donika Kadaj Bujupi, a lawmaker from the biggest opposition party, Vetevendosje, and someone who has herself released tear gas inside parliament. “We will defend the land with our blood,” Elezaj said.
Vetevendosje or the Self Determination Movement of Kosovo has said it will do everything it can, both inside and outside parliament, to stop the assembly approving the border deal. The government also faces objections from a number of its own lawmakers who have said they will not back the deal.
Kosovo broke from Serbia in 1999 during 11 weeks of NATO bombing to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces trying to crush a two-year insurgency.
After almost a decade as a ward of the United Nations, the majority-Albanian territory declared independence in 2008. It has been recognized by more than 100 countries, including the major Western powers, but not Serbia and its big-power ally Russia or several EU members such as Spain.
The country has signed an Association Stabilization Agreement with the EU which entered into force on 1st April 2016 and hopes to obtain visa-free regime with the Schengen area. This, believe Kosovo’s leaders will open the way for further EU integration and more recognitions worldwide, which Kosovo badly need before it can become a full member of the UN.
Hashim Thaçi, former Kosovo’s Liberation Army Commander and present President of the new state, seems to be the West’s favorite in achieving these goals.
Copyright 2016 TiranaEcho.Com