news 30 Jan 13

Russia Opposes Changes to Balkan Borders

The Russian Foreign Minister has dimissed the Albanian Prime Minister's call for an eventual unification of all Albanians in one state, saying too much blood has been spilled in the region already.


Sergei Lavrov said that any redrawing of borders in Europe is unacceptable, and that fully refers to the situation in the Balkans, "where much blood has been shed.

"No one would want to witness the recurrence of such events," Lavrov said in Moscow on Tuesday after meeting his Macedonian counterpart, Nikola Poposki.

The Russian minister called on all European countries, including Albania, to strictly adhere to the Helsinki Final Act signed in 1975, which aimed to improve relations between the Communist bloc and the West and agreed on the permanence of postwar Europe's borders.

He spoke in response to Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's earlier call for the creation an integrated Albanian state.

During the 2012 celebrations of the centenary of the Albanian state, Berisha referred to a number of areas outside modern Albania as historically Albanian, and referred to "the dream of Albanian unification", though he later maintained he meant the union of all Albanians within the European Union.

Lavrov also expressed dissapointment over the West's muted reaction to recent reports of attacks on Serbian monuments in mainly Albanian Kosovo. "This is a dangerous trend," Lavrov said.

Over 60 Serbian memorials have been vandalised lately in Kosovo, in apparent retaliation for Serbia's removal of a monument erected to local ethnic Albanian fighters in the mainly ethnic Albanian south Serbia border area.

Russia has been a steadfast opponent of Kosovo's independence from Serbia, proclaimed in 2008.

Moscow strongly supports Serbia, which says it will never recognise the independence of what it still calls its "southern province".

Kosovo has been recognized by 97 out of 193 UN member states, including the US and 22 of the 27 EU member states.

Ethnic Albanians live in a number of compact areas outside Albania and adjoining the country's borders, mainly in Kosovo, western Macedonia and to a lesser extent in Montenegro.

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