Foreign relations of Albania
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The foreign relations of Albania are its relations with other governments and peoples. Foreign relations are conducted through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana. The current minister is de jure Prime Minister Edi Rama due to president Ilir Meta's rejection of the role to be held by the de facto minister, Gent Cakaj, a result of 'a lack of experience' from the latter. Albania is a sovereign country in Southern Europe, and the Mediterranean that declared its independence on 28 November 1912. Its foreign policy, has maintained a policy of complementarism by trying to have friendly relations with all countries. Since the collapse of Communism in 1990, Albania has extended its responsibilities and position in European and international affairs, supporting and establishing friendly relations with other nations around the world.
The main factors defining Albanian foreign policy consist of geopolitical location, population, economic crisis, and ties with Albanian diaspora throughout the world. Albania entertains diplomatic relations with 115 countries in the world. It also maintains strong diplomatic relations with the Balkan countries, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The main objectives of the Albanian foreign policy are, the Accession of Albania to the European Union, the International recognition of Kosovo, the recognition of Expulsion of Cham Albanians, helping and protecting of the rights the Albanians in Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, southern Serbia, Italy, and the Albanian diaspora.
The government of Albania was concerned with the developments in neighboring Kosovo, particularly in the post-Dayton agreement period. During the Kosovo War in 1999 as well as the ethnic cleansing of Albanians by Serbs alongside the subsequent refugee influx into the country, Albania's status as an ally of the United States was confirmed. Albania emerged as being generally supportive of the United States. The support for the United States has remained high at 95% in Muslim majority (56% of the population) Albania in contrast to the rest of the Islamic world.
During the post-cold war, geo-political complexities and conflicts in the Balkans, made Albania seek a protector power with Turkey, which is a NATO member. During the 1990s, state relations between Albania and Turkey were marked by high level visits, military agreements and the deployment of Turkish soldiers. An Albanian-Turkish military cooperation agreement was signed on 29 July 1992. The military agreement entailed education and training of personnel, bilateral cooperation in weapons production, joint military exercises, the exchange of military delegations and joint commissions on expanding further military ties into the future. The agreement also encompassed rebuilding Albania's Pasha Liman Base in the Bay of Vlorë on the Ionian sea by Turkey, in return for granting Turkey's access and use. Turkey has trained the Albanian Armed Forces, in particular officers and commando units. During civil war in 1997, Turkey alongside other countries, participated in Operation Alba by providing a brigade of 800 Turkish troops to restore order and its involvement served mainly as a stabilising force.
Turkey considers its friendship with Albania as important due to the context of state relations with Greece and through policy have exploited difficulties arising in Albanian-Greek relations. Having a powerful ally in Turkey has suited Albania at times regarding difficult interstate relations with Greece. Albania's emergence in the Balkans as a key NATO partner contributed to good and stronger Albanian-Turkish relations, in particular relating to military matters. The military alliance during the 1990s between Turkey and Albania was also aimed against Serbia in case a war over Kosovo had a wider regional spread. Greece has expressed concerns regarding Turkish relations with Albania and interpreted them as an anti-Greek measure to isolate Greece within the wider context of Albania being a potential outlet for expanding Muslim influence and Turkey allying with Muslim populations in the Balkans. Turkey on the other hand claimed Greece increased tensions within the region and conveyed concerns relating to Albanian and Greek polemics with Ankara expressing a partial bias on Albania's side angering the Greeks. Greece, aware of Albanian-Turkish military agreements denounced Turkey's interference in Greek affairs. Though not officially considered in Turkey as a rival within Albania, during the unrest of 1997 Greece was able to become an influential actor in Albania and the early period of the Kosovo crisis (1998-1999) when Albanian officials looked to Greece for assistance. The resumption of closer Albanian-Turkish relations ensured during the Kosovo crisis that made both countries act along the same policy lines toward Slobodan Milošević and the issue of Greater Serbia.
Turkey supported Albania's membership to become part of NATO. Military cooperation between Albania and Turkey is viewed by NATO as a stabilising factor within the volatile region of the Balkans. Albania has come to depend heavily on Turkish assistance and a high amount of military security. Turkey remains for Albania an important military ally alongside the U.S. Through its military personal Turkey continues to train Albanian armed forces and also to provide assistance in logistics and modernisation efforts of the Albanian military. Radar systems for the surveillance of Albanian airspace in addition to telecommunication equipment have been supplied by Turkey to Albania. Albania receives Turkish assistance for police training. Turkey has continuously supported Albania from the 1990s on EU related matters as both countries view EU membership as an eventual final goal and common objective. State relations of Albania with Turkey are friendly and close, due to maintenance of close links with the Albanian diaspora in Turkey and strong Turkish sociopolitical, cultural, economic and military ties with Albania. Turkey has been supportive of Albanian geopolitical interests within the Balkans. In Gallup polls conducted in recent times Turkey is viewed as a friendly country by 73% of people in Albania. Albania has established political and economic ties with Arab countries, in particular with Arab Persian Gulf states who have heavily invested in religious, transport and other infrastructure alongside other facets of the economy in addition to the somewhat limited societal links they share. Albania is also working to develop socio-political and economic ties with Israel.
After the fall of the Albanian communist regime in 1991, relations between Greece and Albania became increasingly strained because of widespread allegations of mistreatment by Albanian authorities of the Greek ethnic minority in southern Albania and of the Albanian communities in northern Greece. A wave of Albanian illegal economic migrants to Greece exacerbated tensions. The crisis in Greek–Albanian relations reached its peak in late August 1994, when an Albanian court sentenced five members (a sixth member was added later) of the ethnic Greek political party Omonia to prison terms on charges of undermining the Albanian state. Greece responded by freezing all EU aid to Albania, and sealing its border with Albania. In December 1994, however, Greece began to permit limited EU aid to Albania, while Albania released two of the Omonia defendants and reduced the sentences of the remaining four.
There are still other impending issues in the relations between the two countries, regarding many Albanian workers in Greece who have not received legal papers despite promises by the Greek government. In 1996, the two countries signed a Treaty of Peace and Friendship and discussed the issues of the status of Albanian refugees in Greece and education in the mother tongue for the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania. In the 1990s, Greece preferred and assisted Fatos Nano as Albanian leader due to him being Orthodox over Sali Berisha a Muslim, as Nano was seen as being friendlier to Greek interests. The government of Fatos Nano was viewed by Turkey as having a pro-Greek orientation and expressed some dissatisfaction though during that time still maintained close military relations with Albania in rebuilding its armed forces and a military base.
Today, as result of very frequent high-level contacts between the governments and the parliaments, relations between the two countries are regarded as cordial. Greece is a staunch supporter of the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Republic of Albania. Since Albania's NATO entry in May 2009, the Albanian-Greek relations have been developing on all fronts, and especially after the election victory of Edi Rama in 2013, with the Albanian Chief of Foreign Policy, Ralf Gjoni, describing the diplomatic relations between two countries as "excellent". Greece today is Albania's most important European Union ally and NATO partner. At the Albanian government’s request, about 250 Greek military personnel are stationed in Albania to assist with the training and restructuring of the Albanian Armed Forces, as part of the NATO programme. Big projects currently in running between the two countries include the touristic development of the Ionian coastline shared between the two countries, and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which helped boosting the relations of the two countries even further.
The Albanian government supports the protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians outside of its borders but has downplayed them to further its primary foreign policy goal of regional cooperation; Albanian majority in Kosovo seeks full recognition of the declared independence from Serbia; Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia claim discrimination in education, access to public-sector jobs, and representation in government. A handful of Albanian troops have participated in the U.S.-led military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Albanian policy is very favorable to that of the United States and European Union.
The $30 million Albanian-American Enterprise Fund (AAEF), launched in 1994, is actively making debt and equity investments in local businesses. AAEF is designed to harness private sector efforts to assist in the economic transformation. U.S. assistance priorities include promotion of agricultural development and a market economy, advancement of democratic institutions (including police training), and improvements in quality of life.
Albania currently has diplomatic relations with 115: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Georgia, Ghana, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Libya, Lebanon, Mexico, Madagascar, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Nigeria, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the People's Republic of China, Pakistan, the State of Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, South Korea, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, the United States, Uruguay, Panama, Peru, Yemen, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
NATO, BSEC, Council of Europe, Central European Initiative, CCC, EAPC, EBRD, Energy Community, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IPU, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MINGA, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO and WTO.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Egypt||See Albania–Egypt relations|
|Libya||See Albania–Libya relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations in June 1985.
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Brazil||See Albania–Brazil relations|
|Canada||See Albania–Canada relations|
|Guyana||1 May 1985||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 May 1985.
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 20 August 1978.
|United States||1922||See Albania–United States relations
Albanian American are Americans of full or partial Albanian ancestry. According to data from a 2008 survey by the United States government, there are 201,118 Americans of full or partial Albanian descent.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Armenia||18 February 1993|
|Azerbaijan||23 September 1992||See Albania–Azerbaijan relations|
|China||23 November 1949||See Albania–People's Republic of China relations
People's Socialist Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha, moved an annual resolution in the General Assembly to transfer China's seat at the United Nations from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China. On 25 October 1971, Resolution 2758, sponsored by Albania, was passed by the General Assembly, withdrawing recognition of the ROC as the legitimate government of China, and recognizing the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China. Albania was the first country to recognize the People's Republic China. Albania and People's Republic China established diplomatic relations on 23 November 1949.
|Georgia||8 July 1993||See Albania–Georgia relations|
|India||1956||See Albania–India relations
Mother Teresa, one of India's national symbol, was of Albanian nun.
|Israel||20 August 1991||See Albania–Israel relations|
re-established in March 1981
|See Albania–Japan relations|
|Maldives||26 June 2008||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 26 June 2008.
|Mongolia||24 May 1949||
|Nepal||23 May 1972||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 23 May 1972.
|Pakistan||In December 2006, Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Anton Gurakqui visited Pakistan to hold bilateral consultation with Pakistani political leadership. Pakistan also offers training facilities to young Albanian bureaucrats in the field of banking, finance, management and diplomacy.|
|Palestine||1990||See Albania–Palestine relations
Albania had previously recognized the State of Palestine as a state since 1988.
Albania and the State of Palestine established diplomatic relations in 1990.
|North Korea||29 November 1948||See Foreign relations of North Korea|
|South Korea||22 August 1991||See Albania–South Korea relations
The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Republika e Shqipërisë began on 22 August 1991.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania Besnik Mustafaj signed the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Council of government Ministers of the Republic of Albania for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and for the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion on 17 May 2006.
The number of the South Korean citizens living in Albania in 2012 was about 80.
Both countries established diplomatic relations on March 24, 1994.
|United Arab Emirates||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 23 November 1993.
|Vietnam||11 February 1950|
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Andorra||1996||See Albania–Andorra relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 February 1996.
|Austria||1912||See Albania–Austria relations|
|Azerbaijan||See Albania–Azerbaijan relations|
|Belarus||See Albania–Belarus relations|
|Belgium||See Albania–Belgium relations
|Bulgaria||1922||See Albania–Bulgaria relations
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||28 December 1992||See Albania–Bosnia and Herzegovina relations|
|Croatia||25 August 1992||See Albania–Croatia relations
|Cyprus||28 August 1991||See Albania–Cyprus relations
|Czech Republic||See Albania–Czech Republic relations
The multi-national Communist armed forces' sole joint action was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. All member countries, with the exception of the People's Republic of Albania and the Socialist Republic of Romania participated in the invasion. Albania formally withdrew form the Warsaw Pact in 1968 over the matter.
|Denmark||1 May 1970||See Albania–Denmark relations|
|Estonia||1 January 1992||See Albania–Estonia relations|
|France||See Albania–France relations|
|Georgia||8 July 1993||See Albania–Georgia relations
|Germany||See Albania–Germany relations|
|Greece||de facto in 1971
de juro 21 March 1996
|See Albania–Greece relations
Greece and Albania – even though diplomatic relations were restored in 1971 – normalized relations only in 1987 as till then both countries were officially – in a cease-fire – but nevertheless under the state of war since Albania and Italy had declared war on Greece on 28 October 1940. During rule of dictator Enver Hoxha relations were strained because of the part that Albania played during World War II against Greece and also because of the material help that they provided to Greek communists during the Greek civil war. In addition there was controversy about the expulsion of Cham Albanians.
After the fall of the Albanian socialist regime in 1991, relations between the two countries got better but soon begun to deteriorate with accusations about mistreatment of minorities vice versa. To the latter problem it was added the widespread phenomenon of waves of illegal immigration from Albania towards Greece. High criminality numbers from one hand and alleged police brutality from the other became familiar subjects on the news of both neighbors, increasing eventually tensions. According to official Greek data around 450,000 Albanian immigrants work in Greece and it is believed the number will almost double if illegal immigrants are accounted too. This is a brand new situation, for both countries as Greece for the first time become a destination country for immigrants and Albanians for the first time got out of their country after the total isolation that the communist regime had imposed.
Today, relations between the two countries are very close and are regarded as excellent, and, at the Albanian Government's request, about 250 Greek military personnel are stationed in Albania to assist with the training and restructuring the Albanian Armed Forces. Albania's economy is overdependent to the money immigrants from Greece sent back home, while Greece is the second larger trading partner, with more than US$400 million worth of investments. Moreover, Greek products account for 21% of Albania's imports, with Greece absorbing 12% of its neighboring country's exports. At the same time, low cost labor from Albania propelled the growth of the Greek economy, especially in the construction and agriculture sectors. Albania is home to 300,000 or more Greeks, with about 650,000 Greeks in total being linked to Albania while between 400,000–600,000 Albanians live and work in Greece, the vast majority of them post-1991 economic migrants.
|Holy See||7 September 1991||See Albania–Holy See relations
|Hungary||See Albania–Hungary relations|
|Italy||1912||See Albania–Italy relations
|Kosovo||18 February 2008||See Albania–Kosovo relations
|Lithuania||27 April 1992||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 27 April 1992.
|Macedonia||1991||See Albania–North Macedonia relations
Albanians in North Macedonia
|Malta||See Albania–Malta relations|
|Monaco||See Albania–Monaco relations|
|Montenegro||1 August 2006||See Albania–Montenegro relations|
|Netherlands||1970||See Albania–Netherlands relations|
|Poland||See Albania–Poland relations|
|Portugal||See Albania–Portugal relations
|Romania||28 December 1913||See Albania–Romania relations
|Russia||7 April 1924||See Albania–Russia relations|
|Serbia||See Albania-Serbia relations|
|Sovereign Military Order of Malta||1994||See Albania–Sovereign Military Order of Malta relations|
|Spain||See Albania–Spain relations|
|Slovakia||See Albania–Slovakia relations
The multi-national Communist armed forces’ sole joint action was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. All member countries, with the exception of the People's Republic of Albania and the Socialist Republic of Romania participated in the invasion. Albania formally withdrew form the Warsaw Pact in 1968 over the matter.
|Slovenia||See Albania–Slovenia relations|
|Sweden||See Albania–Sweden relations|
|Switzerland||1 March 1922||See Albania-Switzerland relations|
|Turkey||1981||See Albania-Turkey relations|
|Ukraine||1992||See Albania-Ukraine relations
The diplomatic relations between Albania and Ukraine were established in 1922.
reestablished on 29 May 1991
|See Albania–United Kingdom relations|
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Australia||See Albania–Australia relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 1 August 2008.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Papal States||See Albania–Papal States relations|
|Kingdom of Naples||See Albania–Kingdom of Naples relations
Albania (League of Lezhë) during the reign of Skanderbeg had good relations with Naples. King Alfonso V helped him in this situation and the two parties signed the Treaty of Gaeta on 26 March 1451, according to which, Skanderbeg would be formally a vassal of Alfonso in exchange for military aid. More explicitly, Skanderbeg recognized King Alfonso's sovereignty over his lands in exchange for the help that King Alfonso would give to him in the war against the Ottomans. King Alfonso pledged to respect the old privileges of Krujë and Albanian territories and to pay Skanderbeg an annual 1,500 ducats, while Skanderbeg pledged to make his fealty to King Alfonso only after the full expulsion of the Ottomans from the country, a condition never reached in Skanderbeg's lifetime. After Alfonso V's death, his son Skanderbeg helped Alfonso V's Ferdinand I of Naples to re-established his authority in the kingdom. After Skanderbeg's death Ferdinand I helped Skanderbeg's wife and son Donika Kastrioti and Gjon Kastrioti II and some Albanians (Arbëreshë people) to away from the Ottoman terror.
|Soviet Union||7 April 1924||See Albania–Soviet Union relations|
|Republic of Venice||See Albania–Republic of Venice relations|
|Yugoslavia||See Albania–Yugoslavia relations|
|Organisation||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|European Union||1992||See Albania–European Union relations
The nation applied to join the European Union, becoming an official candidate for accession to the European Union in June 2014. Although Albania received candidate status for the European Union membership in 2014 (based on its 2009 application), the European Union has twice rejected full membership. In July 2016, the Parliament of Albania approved constitutional amendments on justice reforms, it has had also hoped to open membership negotiations by December 2016. The Commission recommended the launch of negotiations on 9 November 2016.
|NATO||1992||See Albania–NATO relations
At the 2008 Bucharest summit, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invited Albania to join the alliance. In April 2014 Albania became a full member of the NATO, which remains popular in the country especially due to its intervention in the Kosovo war on behalf of ethnic Albanians. However, Albania was among the first southern European countries to join the Partnership for peace program. Within the Balkans, Albania is considered to be the most pro-European and pro-Western country in the region and unlike its neighbours, except Kosovo, it has to negligible support for Russia.
Since 1992, Albania has been extensively engaged with NATO and has maintained its position as a stability factor and a strong ally of United States and EU in the troubled and divided region of the Balkans. In addition to the political will, the overwhelming majority of 95% of the Albanian population supported NATO membership.
|United Nations||14 December 1955||See Albania at the United Nations
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- List of diplomatic missions of Albania
- Visa requirements for Albanian citizens
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This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/ (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets). This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.