Tensions over petition for "Natural Albania" in Balkans

A petition for the establishment of a “Natural Albania," has created tensions in the political public sphere in Montenegro.

Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti
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The petition was launched by the Director of the Tirana-based Institute for Regional Forecast, historian Koco Danaj.

Tensions have mounted after Vaselj Sinistaj, leader of the Citizens Initiative, a party to the Montenegrin government, said he would sign the petition.

According to Podgorica-based daily Dan, Sinistaj may face 15 years in prison for making the statement. Sinistaj said that he would be happy to answer a summons by the prosecution, if it deems there is a reason for that.

Sinistaj explained that his statement that he would sign Danaj’s petition does not mean he supports any redrawing of borders.

Sinistaj believes that two ethnic Albanian MPs, Fatmir Djeka and Genci Nimanbegu, who said that they would not sign the controversial petition, “think differently in their hearts.”

The ‘Natural Albania’ project, launched by Danaj in 2010, calls for establishing the borders as prescribed in a declaration of a century ago, adopted at the Assembly of Vlora on November 28, 1912.

The declaration projected an Albania which was to include four Ottoman vilayets with an all-Albanian population and substantial ethnic Albanian population within the borders spanning from Preševo in Serbia to Preveza in Greece and from Durres in Albania to Skopje, Macedonia.

The petition for the forming of a “Natural Albania” has reportedly been signed by about forty government and opposition officials in the region.

Mirko Stanić, spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a minor members in the Montenegrin ruling coalition, said on Wednesday that projects of “large” and “natural” states in the Balkans have never brought anything good to anybody.

Stanic said that Danaj is a marginal politician “desiring of media attention," and also claims that Danaj’s idea has the support of only 0.6 percent of the people in Albania.

The daily Večernje Novosti writes that the movement was political in the past, and had the goal of bringing all the territories where Albanians live - or have supposedly lived in the past - into a single entity.

The self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo is one phase of this, according to the authors of the project. The project flourished during the Second World War, with the fascist program of "Greater Albania" under the protectorate of Mussolini's Italy.

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