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Kreshnik Spahiu, leader of the Red and Black Alliance, has drawn ridicule for claiming that a "certificate" from Manhattan was an "honorary citizenship" of New York State.
|Kreshnik Spahiu (left) and Esad Rizai, chairman of AAFD, posing with the honorary certificate|
Albania's right-wing Red and Black Alliance claimed on Monday that Spahiu had received the title of "honorary citizen" of New York on the recommendation of Manhattan Borough President Scott M Stringer, in recognition of his role as “protector of Albanian interests inside and outside Albania’s borders”.
“Spahiu is the only foreign citizen to have received this title from the United States of America,” the party claimed ambitiously.
The statement was published by a number of Albanian media, which over the past year have given Spahiu ample coverage to vent his propaganda against Albania’s neighbours and against Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
However, follow-up checks have revealed that the actual title that Spahiu received is a simple "honor certificate," presented at an event organized by the Albanian-American Forum for Democracy, AAFD.
The AAFD said in a press release that the certificate was bestowed to mark the fifth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence.
An official from the External Affairs Department of Manhattan Borough confirmed for Balkan Insight that Spahiu received the certificate, but could not comment further.
Writing in the daily newspaper Shqip, a political commentator, Mustafa Nano, wondered where Spahiu found the courage to distribute “such vulgar propaganda", and panned the local media for not checking up on his “hallucinatory claims.
“Is he shameless, crazy, an idiot, or all three of them?” Nano asked.
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