Protest sent to Albania over display of expansionist map
Ivica Dacic says Serbia has sent a protest note to Albania because a map showing "Greater Albania" appeared on the residence of the country's prime minister.Source: Danas, Tanjug
However, the foreign minister added, Serbia continues cooperation with the Albanian prime minister, and has never brought it into question.
"We have not, nor will be do anything that would jeopardize our relations with countries in the region, even with Albania. It was not a flag of Greater Serbia that appeared on the residence of the prime minister of Serbia, but the flag of Great Albania on the residence of the prime minister of Albania. And we react to that, and always will. But that does not prevent us from receiving this premiere, as is proper, from talking to him and what is more important, agreeing on various forms of cooperation, and continue suggest to him and to others those solutions that will be based on mutual interest," Dacic told the Belgrade-based daily Danas in an interview.
"We respect others, but we ask that others respect us," Dacic said.
"As they say, we do not ask anything of others that we ourselves are not willing to give. It is our policy towards all our neighbors. And we will act in that way as the chairman of the OSCE. We will ask, of course, for respect, but we will also give it. And we will not ask for love, which was the most erroneous characteristic of the Serbian policy in the decades behind us, but will offer common interests," he was quoted as saying.
"The market, investment, easier flow of capital and goods, employment in the entire region, projects that connect us. And it's very important that it was precisely us who started to separate that from what is part of daily political games, which are dictated by current interests. And for that reason our reactions are in accordance with the usual, civilized, democratic ways," Dacic said.
"To the flag of Greater Albania on the residence of their prime minister we responded with a demarche, and continue to cooperate with him, do not interrupt it, nor do we question it. It was the same with the statements of Croatian politicians that were dictated by their elections. We respond in a civilized way, and move on. We do not stop being partners, nor cease to perceive them as partners. I think that this policy is the only proper one, and we will adhere to it in the future as well," said Dacic.
He then stressed that "the future is a developed, non-conflict Western Balkans."
"We have already made a huge step towards that goal," he said.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama organized a light display to project the shape of the map of "Greater Albania" onto the walls of his villa in Tirana to mark the New Year celebrations. The map displayed on the villa walls is the same one that caused a major diplomatic scandal at the football match between the teams of Serbia and Albania in October 2014, the daily Politika said in its report over the weekend.
That map depicted Albania's territory expanded to include parts of four of its neighboring countries.
"Rama posted the photo of the illuminated villa displaying the flag on the official page of his Facebook profile, which gave rise to a bout of enthusiasm among his supporters," Politika wrote, according to Tanjug.