Sunday, February 24, 2013

Germany warns Albania against nationalist rhetoric

TIRANA — Germany has warned Albanian leaders to refrain from using inflammatory nationalist rhetoric amid international concern over growing talk of the Greater Albania.
It is important that nationalist feelings and emotions be controlled and treated with a big responsibility and a lot of attention,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during a visit to Tirana on Friday, AFP has reported.
“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 Berisha and other officials have spoken about the creation of the Greater Albania, sparking concern among neighboring countries with Albanian minorities, said AFP.
The U.S. recently warned Tirana it was playing a “dangerous game,” and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker on Friday said that Albania had to stop resorting to nationalist rhetoric and focus on meeting the criteria needed to obtain the EU membership candidate status.
AFP reports 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.

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