By H.E. Mr Sami SHIBA, Ambassador of Albania in Bucharest
“Foremost, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Albania and Romania and of the 101st anniversary of Independence of Albania, it is my honor to convey the warmest regards from the highest representatives of Albania to the Romanian people and representatives. I would like to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the organization of the important event, with great historic importance, on December 16, 2013. This event and the promotion of the Albanian film “AGON”, written and directed by Rober Budina, organized by the Embassy of Albania in Bucharest, December 17, 2013, are an added value to our historical relations of friendship.
Diplomatic relations between our two countries were established shortly after Albania declared the independence. So, on March 27th, 1913 the Minister Plenipotentiary of Romania in London presented to the Conference of Ambassadors in London a memorandum for the recognition of the independence of Albania. Following this act, the Kingdom of Romania appointed M. N. Burghele Minister Plenipotentiary and, on 15 December 1913, opened the first representative diplomatic office in Durres, the capital of Albania at the time.
Bucharest is a city closely connected with events, facts and essential figures in the history of Albania. We honor the contribution of Romania, a country that has hosted and inspired Albanian Renaissance figures, a country where the Albanian community played a crucial part in the preparation and declaration of independence. Romania hosted and supported the first Prime Minister of Albania, Ismail Qemal Vlora, who with other distinguished Albanian figures worked intesively to declare the independence of Albania, which culminated, in Vlora, on November 28, 1912. Romania gave not only their full political support, being the first country to recognize the Independence of Albania, but also important financial support for the first Albanian government.
Moreover, it is precisely in Romania that Albanian patriots strived for opening of the first Albanian school in Korça. It was here that the patriotic society “Drita/Light” was created, where many important books and papers were published in support of the Albanian issue.
On this 100th anniversary, we are proud and grateful for the very good relations between Albania and Romania in all fields. Romania is an ally of Albania in the framework of NATO and an important partner in its path towards European Union integration. In this context, I want to underline that Albania is today a modern European country with democratic institutions and rule of law. Albania is a member of NATO and a contributor to peace and stability in the region and beyond, while working with determination towards European integration.
I want to stress that as two of the oldest peoples in our region, Romanians and Albanians have been together and have shared the same challenges in the course of history. It was this common destiny that has brought them closer, creating the tradition that has united our people’s habits, culture and mentalities, with many similarities shared with other peoples of the Balkans. In the memory of both our peoples are engraved the names of eminent personalities like Elena Gjika (Dora D’Istria), Victor Eftimiu, Nicolae Iorga, and many more.
The friendly relations began in late 19th century and were further strengthened when Prince William of Wied, the nephew of Queen Elisabeth of Romania, was appointed sovereign Prince of Albania governing through a difficult period, during 1914. Albanians also recall other historic events that are connected with Romania: September 2006, where in Bucharest, Albania becomes a member of the International Organization of the Francophonie and the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, where Albania received the invitation for NATO membership.
These relations continued their tradition and path of consolidation, reaching its peak with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between our two countries in 1994. Today, thanks to our common past, we are happy to share similar traditions and cultural values. High level meetings are clear indications of exemplary bilateral relations between Albania and Romania. I wish to highlight the successful meeting of the Prime Minister of Albania and the Prime Minister of Romania, in Bucharest, November 26; the visit of the President of Chamber of Deputies of Romanian Parliament to Albania; the visit of the Romanian Foreign Minister to Tirana, and I am confident more will be added to that list soon. The messages given by the high Romanian representatives are of strong support for Albania, especially vital during our EU integration process and for this we express our sincere gratitude. Also, a significant symbol of an excellent historical cultural cooperation was the full support that the Romanian institutions gave us, last year, when the Albanian Embassy organized with Romanian institutions more than 12 events on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of independence.
The legal framework of bilateral cooperation, between the two countries has already been signed. I want to underline that, today, the two countries have the will and full commitment to expand their cooperation, especially in the economic realm, to increase trade exchanges, as well as to keep open a political dialogue that is already very positive.
I would like at this opportunity to express appreciation for the contribution of the Albanian community in Romania, whose presence enriches our excellent bilateral relations and serves as a bridge between our two countries.
It is crucial to note the role and contribution of our countries for the successful cooperation in the framework of regional and international organizations. In this context, I want to thank Romania for the contribution before and after the declaration of the Independence of Kosova, especially for the recently declarations regarding Kosovo, considering as a great contribution to peace and stability on the Balkan region.
We are convinced that the excellent relations and cooperation between our countries will continue to strengthen in the years ahead”.