Albania: 100 years, Berisha plays 'great Albania' trump card

In Tirana Albanian leaders, tensions with Macedonia

28 November, 10:56

100th Anniversary of Albania's Independence celebrations in Tirana 100th Anniversary of Albania's Independence celebrations in Tirana

(ANSAmed) - TIRANA - Albania's black and red national flag with a double-headed eagle is waving across the country which is celebrating today its 100th anniversary of independence in a tense political climate. The centre-right Premier Sali Berisha has been calling for days for an ethnic-national unification of all Albanians living in different Balkan states, in efforts to revive a strong nationalism which is rejected by Albania's opposition. Yesterday afternoon during a ceremony in Tirana to inaugurate the statue of Adam Jashari, symbol of the resistance of Albanians from Kosovo, Berisha said that 'all of us representatives of ethnic Albanian territories are engaged in creating what our martyrs have fought for across a century - an Albanian nation united in its land'.

Speaking in front of political leaders representing Kosovo's Albanians and the Albanian minority in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Berisha added that 'the dream of unification is the true European dream of the nation', referring to Albanians united within the European Union.

His statements alarmed neighbouring countries. Macedonia's President Gjorge Ivanov announced the annulment of his trip to Tirana where he had been invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country's independence. The decision was motivated with the incidents last week in the Albanian capital where the car of Skopje's Premier Nikola Gruevski was hit with eggs while two Macedonian flags were being burnt by protesters.

A number of analysts however believe this call for nationalism coincides with celebrations of the country's independence ahead of what promises to be a harsh electoral campaign for parliamentary elections in June 2013, rather than expressing a realistic plan.

Not even such an important anniversary succeeded in dissolving tensions between Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama. Rama refused to attend celebrations organized in Tirana and organized separate celebrations in Valona, the city where the new Albanian state was proclaimed.

Meanwhile the Albanian capital is bracing up for celebrations and the national eagle will be decorating an enormous cake of 550 square metres, weighing 13 tons, baked by a great number of chefs.(ANSAmed).

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