Albanian Daily News
Request for China to end support for Belgrade

Albanian Economic Tribune - Jan 08, 2000

TIRANA - A senior deputy said on Thursday that Albania may reconsider its relations with China if the giant state continues to "threaten the peace in the Balkans" by supporting Belgrade over Kosovo.

The chief of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations, Sabri Godo, acknowledged that the Albanian state has maintained "a rightful stance" in its relations with China, by not recognising Taiwan as a state. But he added that if China - a member of the UN Security Council - vetoes the renewal of the Kosovo peace-keeping force (KFOR) mandate then the bilateral relations should be reviewed.

"If (China) were to veto the decision, it would openly support (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic and would threaten the security in the Balkan region," Godo said. "However, if China decides to go for the veto we should review our relations with this country."

Last month, Albania turned down press reports that it was preparing to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan in exchange for investments in the impoverished country.

"We can develop economic and cultural relations with this island... (and) Beijing is OK with that," Godo said. "But China should return the favour."

China was very critical of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and Kosovo that was aimed at forcing Milosevic to end his crack-down on independence-minded ethnic Albanians. The United Nations and KFOR took over Kosovo last June, and every year their mandate should be renewed by the Security Council. Godo said that the security in Kosovo is vital to Albania, and lashed out at the government for its lack of presence in Kosovo. The former leader of the opposition Republican Party noted the "historical merit" of the Socialist-led government in handling the Kosovo refugee crisis, but he also complained of government’s inactivity once the crisis ended.

"Albania has not yet opened its office in Kosovo," Godo said. "I don’t understand how come the government has not established a representation office to enable dialogue with the folks that rule Kosovo now, and who will prepare its future," he added.

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