Albania opposed to Palestinian unilateralism, PM Sali Berisha tells gathering in Jerusalem

In a speech before the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR), which operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, Albania's Prime Minister Barisha on Monday declared that his government was categorically opposed to attempts to secure recognition of a Palestinian state in the United Nations. "Short cuts will not produce the desired result - peace," he said. Turning to the issue of Iran, the Albanian leader said: "A nuclear Iran is for sure the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region and in the world…There is only one man who I know of today who is using the same language which the Nazis used 70 years ago and that is President Ahmedinejad."

Albania was a predominantly Muslim country, but could serve as a model of coexistence and mutual respect, Berisha said. He decried the hijacking of Islam by extremists. Speaking on the long tradition of friendship between Albania - which rescued its Jewish community and many Jewish refugees seeking sanctuary during the Shoah - he reiterated his country's admiration for the Jewish state and expressed his satisfaction that Israel would shortly be opening an embassy in Tirana.

The Jerusalem-based ICFR serves as a platform for distinguished foreign visitors who wish to present their views in a nongovernmental setting and is devoted to the study and debate of foreign policy, with special emphasis on Israeli and Jewish concerns. The ICFR functions under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress. The Council publishes The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, which appears three times per year.

Photos: Andres Lacko

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