Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Tirana, 22 August (AKI) - Albanians living in the Balkan region should unite and be integrated into a "natural Albania" by 2013, a senior Albanian official said on Tuesday. Neighbouring Macedonia, with a 25 percent Albanian population, is likely to be partitioned first, if its authorities fail to honour the five-year-old Ohrid peace agreement - which gave Albanians more autonomy and increased their political representation - Koco Danaj, political adviser to Albania's prime minister, Sali Berisha, told Pristina-based Albanian language daily Epoka e Re.

“In politics it’s easier to face the painful truth, than the painful lies,” said Danaj. “Therefore, I emphasise again that disrespect of the Ohrid agreement would mean partitioning of Macedonia,” he added.

Danaj said the greatest threat to the Ohrid agreement - which in 2001 ended ethnic Albanian rebellion in Macedonia - to power of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE, the Macedonian political party that won the 5 July general election.

VMRO-DPMNE leader, Nikola Gruevski is expected this week to form a coalition government with the Democratic Party of Albanians, triggering protests from the biggest ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, which also wants to participate in the government.

With Serbia’s southern Kosovo province seeming to be moving towards independence, Danaj said that ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and Montenegro should also have the right to choose with whom to live. Instead of having Albanians participate in those countries' governments, it would be more natural that they had one government in the Albanian capital, Tirana, Danaj said.

After Montenegro, with population of 620,000, voted for independence and separation from Serbia at a referendum on 21 May, 500,000 ethnic Albanians in Macedonia should have the same right, Danaj said. Neither Serbia, nor Macedonia and Montenegro were "natural creations," Danaj pointed out.

Giving apparent credence to the fears of Serb and other Slav politicians in the Balkan countries that the creation of a Greater Albania is the main threat to the region, Danaj said all Albanians will be united “in natural Albania” by 2013.

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