Thank you for your letter of January 18 regarding the treatment of ethnic Albanians in Montenegro, Ethnic Albanians have made, and continue to make, crucial contributions to Montenegro’s success and stability, and they must have a voice in Montenegro’s future for the country to fully prosper. Our embassy in Podgorica is committed to working with the Government of Montenegro to ensure that the rights of all ethnic minorities are fully protected.
As part of this effort, our Embassy maintains regular contact with Montenegro’s ethnic Albanian population. In 2011, Ambassador Brown participated in the inauguration of an Islamic center and mosque in Besi, an event attended by several hundred members of the Montenegrin Diaspora, most of them ethnic Albanian. The Ambassador also traveled to Ulcinj, home of Montenegro’s largest ethnic Albanian community, to meet with local leaders and to observe Iftar. She has also accepted an invitation to visit Tuzi and plans to travel there early this year.
It may also interest you to know that the Prime Minister of Albania visited Montenegro on January 25, 2012, and emphasized that Albania appreciates the significant progress Montenegro has made in protecting the rights of its ethnic Albanians. The Albanian and Montenegrin prime ministers signed an agreement on the joint border crossing of Zatrijebacka Cijevna-Grabon (near Podgorica) and the border point Vranic-Cerem (near Plav) that allows citizens of both countries to cross the border with only national identification cards. The Albanian Prime Minister also visited Ulcinj where he met with the mayor of the city.
Also, on January 30, Prime Minister Luksic and the Reis of the Islamic Community in Montenegro, Rifat Fejzic, signed an agreement regarding the government’s and religious community’s mutual relationship. This agreement provides details regarding restitution and property claims, calls to prayer, public displays of religious clothing and other issues. Mr. Fejzic said that the signing of the agreement was “a historical event, since it signifies the continuity of the Islamic Community.”
Ambassador Brown has expressed her willingness to meet with representatives of the American-Albanian community whenever they are in Montenegro. Thank you again for your interest in this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further help with this or any other issue.
Davis S. Adams