Thursday, September 12, 2013

Greater Albania Petition Ruffles Feathers in Montenegro

A petition calling for the creation of a “Natural" - enlarged - Albania has caused a flurry in Montenegro after a local Albanian leader said he intended to sign it.

Vaselj Sinistaj, leader of the Citizens Initiative, a small ethnic Albanian party in the Montenegrin government, caused a stir on Thursday after saying he intended to sign a petition calling for an enlarged "Natural" Albania.

The project, launched by Albanian historian Koco Danaj in 2010, calls for the creation of new borders for Albania along the lines of those prescribed in the declaration adopted when Albania declared independence from the town of Vlora on November 28, 1912.
The declaration called for Albania to include all four of the Ottoman units, known as vilayets, that were home to Albanians, including Presevo in present-day Serbia, Preveza, now in Greece and Skopje, now capital of Macedonia.
In the event, the great powers agreed on very restricted borders for the new Albanian state, excluding many majority-Albanian areas. As a result, almost half of all Albanians were left outside the new country.
Sinistaj said that signing the petition did not mean he supported the redrawing of state borders.
But some Montenegrin law experts said Sinistaj could still face a prison sentence for appearing to advocate a change of borders - to which Sinistaj said that he would be happy to answer a summons by the prosecution, if it was well argumented.
Mirko Stanic, spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party, SDP, a minor partner of the ruling coalition, avoided talk of prison sentences, but said on Wednesday that projects to form “large” and “natural” states had never brought anything good to the Balkans.
Stanic went on to dismiss Danaj as a marginal politician who was “seeking media attention."

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