Albania and Israel Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Ties Eyeing Expansion of Cooperation

Albania and Israel marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the foreign ministry commemorated this event by emphasizing that although the state of Israel was recognized by the Albanian government in 1949, the diplomatic relations between them were made possible only after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

"The Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations was signed in Tel Aviv on August 19, 1991," said a statement released by the ministry on this occasion on Thursday.

"There is an even longer common history between our two countries which unites them in a strong bond of friendship," it was noted.

The statement concluded by saying: "Looking forward to the future, we are confident that we can build on these strong solid foundations to further strengthen cooperation and ties between the two peoples."

In the meantime, Noah Gal Gendler, Ambassador of Israel to Albania, in an interview with Top Channel TV stated on this occasion that the two countries continue to know each other and they are narrowing the gap of years since Albania recognized the state of Israel in 1949.

"Until 1991, nothing happened because Albania was isolated. We did not know anything about Albania because for us it was part of the eastern Russian bloc. We knew nothing about this place. We came to your country during 1991 and later we opened the embassy. Now what we need to do is increase cooperation in some areas," he said on Thursday.

The Ambassador looked forward to greater cooperation in the economic field such as agriculture and tourism and of course in other fields related to academic studies, computer technology and science. “This is the approach of our embassy in Tirana and that of your embassy in Israel.”

Following last year's agreement in the White House, where Kosovo accepted the opening of its embassy in Jerusalem, Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler was asked if his country is ready to lobby for new recognition of Kosovo as a state.

Gendler was sharply revealing that Israel is not ready to lobby for the recognition of Kosovo by other countries.

Israel has multifaceted relations with Serbia which is considered as one of its favorite partners in many fields.

The Ambassador to Tirana said Israel does not lobby for one or the other state. “We do not intervene in conflicts between states in the Balkans, because we know how complicated this is in our region. But from the moment we establish relations with a state of course we work intensively to strengthen relations. Kosovo is important to us as it has an embassy in Jerusalem and they want to cooperate with Israel in many areas. But we do not interfere in Kosovo's international relations," said the Israeli Ambassador.

Kosovo is among few countries that has established its embassy in Jerusalem, a step which has been criticized even by the EU, the group which Kosovo aspires to join.

Asked about the danger that threatens Albania after the sheltering of 3,000 Iranian Mujahideen, Ambassador Noah Gal Gendler said that Iran is not a problem only for Israel, it is a problem for all countries of the world.

"Absolutely, Iran is also a problem for Albania. All countries that do not follow the Iran line pose a risk. There is no doubt about that. If I am not mistaken, they have called you "the devilish little country in the Balkans." This is typical,” said the Israeli Ambassador.

Relations of Albania with Iran have followed a downward trend since official Tirana declared Teheran’s Ambassador persona non grata. /