„Kosovo is a temporary project and a transitional process in unification with Albania,“ the Kosovo Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, Liburn Aliu, said. The minister, who is also a member of Self-Determination (whose leader is the current prime minister) has in the past publicly advocated for unification with Albania and have been met with harsh criticism from the opposition in Kosovo.
Gazette express reported that Aliu told T7 on Thursday night that he „sees Kosovo as a temporary project“, but without specifically mentioning unification with Albania.
In a more recent statement for Klan Kosova, he clarified his allegations, this time also mentioning unification.
„I confirm that for me Kosovo, in the circumstances in which it is, with the Constitution and those things, is a temporary project. It is a transitional process in the direction of unification with Albania,“ he said to Aliu, this media outlet reports.
The opposition responds with criticism
The minister’s statements triggered numerous negative reactions from the Kosovo opposition.
The president of LDK, Lumir Abdixhiku, reacted on the occasion, as did party spokesperson, Sibel Halimi.
„Why would you need external opponents, when you have internal ones?“ Abdixhiku said on Facebook, adding that „Kosovo is led by populists who do not believe in it.“
„The fate of the biggest Albanian project ‘Kosovo an independent and sovereign state’ is in the hands of those who deny their own citizenship. Violation of the Constitution has become a daily occurrence,“ he stressed.
The party’s spokeswoman, Sibel Halimi, said that in any other „modern country“ a dismissal would follow such a statement.
At the same time, she stated that Aliu should apologise for „harming the project for which many generations were sacrificed“.
The reaction to Aliu’s statement also came from the former Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petrit Selimi. „Back to basics?“ He asked Aliu.
„Prime Minister Kurti got his mandate thanks to resistance to border changes. I always thought this was strange, even his party had the ultimate border change agenda. Now, one of his ministers and the founder of Self-Determination, says that ‘Kosovo is a temporary state,'“ wrote Selimi on X.
While the opposition criticized Aliu’s statements, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, who himself in the past often publicly advocated for the unification of Kosovo and Albania, refused to comment, Ekonomia Online writes.
„It is not appropriate for me to comment on TV shows that I did not watch, but my spokesman Preparim Kryeziu told me that it was a show,“ Kurti said briefly during his visit to Gnjilane, this media reported.
Although now claiming that it „doesn’t behoove him to comment“ on the unity, or rather the unification of Kosovo and Albania, in previous years it was Kurti who spoke about unification on several occasions, although much more often while he was part opposition, as opposed to once he came into power.
In June of this year, Kurti mentioned „national unity“, i.e. „unification“, stating that it is the „main goal“, Gazette Express reported at the time.
„We must not forget the importance of history and unification,“ said Kurti.
At the same time, two years ago, when he was also performing the function of the prime minister, he stated that he would vote for unification with Albania in the referendum, if it was represented in a democratic way. Kurti also said that this was not a priority in this mandate of his government.
Just a few days later, in November of 2021, after the joint session of the Governments of Kosovo and Albania, the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, also said that he would vote in favor of unification, and that unification would happen, but that he did not know when a referendum on that issue could be held.
Just two days later, Liburn Aliu also spoke about unification, stating that it is being worked on „in a natural way“, and that the border is „just an artificial division of two countries“, Ekonomia Online reported.
Before taking over the post of prime minister, Albin Kurti publicly advocated for the amendment of the first article of the Kosovo constitution, which stipulates that Kosovo „cannot be annexed to another state.“
„We have an obstacle when it comes to the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, but it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Through work and commitment, with the political will and the will of the people, we must pass a referendum law and one day change the Constitution of Kosovo. Kosovo and Albania as two states of the same nation can be integrated and united,“ he said in March 2021.
In the past, several other politicians in Kosovo, but also from Albania, shared their support of this idea.
The President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca, who is also a member of Self-Determination, said in January of last year that this party has a long-term concept for achieving national unification.
Unification is a „historical destination“, and the option of federation is one of the possibilities, Konjufca stated at the time.
In addition to Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the EU, unification with Albania was the backbone of the foreign policy led by AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj in the early 2021 election campaign.
He even expressed his belief that „Kosovo’s allies“ would support such a step.
„The American soldiers did not fight – and some of them died – to create either Greater Serbia and Greater Albania in the Balkans,“ the former US ambassador in Pristina, Philip Kosnett, said in response.
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