The Albanian community of Zare in Croatia have now the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Albania which was inaugurated on February 3, 2021 in a ceremony attended by Albanian Ambassador Riza Poda, Croatian Albanian MP Ermina Lekaj-Prljaskaj, the envoy of the Foreign Ministry, Emilija Vučinić-Margeta, the Mayor of Zadar, Branko Duki, the Deputy Mayor of Zadar, Šime Vicković, the Chairman of the Working Group for the Coordination of National Minorities of the County of Zadar, Veselko ĆakiĆ and Arta Dodaj, deputy Chairwoman of Albanian National Minority of Zare.
Honorary Consul of this consulate is the well-known businessman, Anton Dedaj, who has also been the chairman of the Albanian Minority of Zadar for many years.
"As Honorary Consul of the Republic of Albania in Zadar, I will dedicate all my skills and knowledge in promoting my country, and continuing to develop and strengthen relations between Croatia and Albania," said Dedaj after the plaque with the inscriptions of the Honorary Consulate in Albanian, Croatian and English was unveiled at the Office where the Albanian flag was hoisted.
Further on he said that friendly and fraternal ties with Croatians are centuries old and thanks to such a legacy not only Arbanasi, but all Albanians in Croatia have always felt at home. "The important contribution and self-sacrifices of the Albanians in the heroic fight for the independence of Croatia are indicators of this special friendship. Albania and Croatia have excellent relations. They are NATO member countries and are developing a strategic partnership not only bilateral, but also at the regional level."
Dedaj noted that almost 4,000 Albanians live under the new consulate and visit the region nearly 10,000 more a year. "The Albanian private sector has good ties throughout the Zadar region, which will further expand trade and investment between the two countries through co-operation with Croatian partners," he expected.
The Mayorof of Zadar, Branko Duki emphasized Dedaj's work on promoting good relations and cooperation with the Albanian national minorities.
For his part Albanian Ambassador Poda stressed the importance of this event in the bilateral relations between Albania and Croatia, which have a special source of heritage in Zare, in the Arbanasi area. He also spoke about co-operation between the two countries and within NATO membership, and about opportunities for co-operation within the EU, given that Croatia is the newest EU member and Albania has just opened negotiations with the Union.
"We must not forget that the establishment of the first Albanian diaspora in Croatia began here in Zadar with the Arbanasi. Although in a foreign but very friendly country it remains an important part of the tradition of the ancient tree of the Albanian people on the shores of Dalmatia. Their exemplary coexistence with the Croatian population created a special and authentic model of fraternal relations between the two people in the context of the dynamics of relations, closeness, interests and common challenges between Albania and Croatia," said Tirana's top diplomatic envoy to Zagreb
Arbanasi community has been a bridge of friendship between Albania and Croatia which have upgraded their ties to the level of strategic partnership last year. /argumentum.al
*Croatian Albanian MP Ermina Lekaj-Prljaskaj contributed to this article