Që 26 November 2012, the Albanian Embassy hosted at the Corinthia Hotel in London the National Day reception celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania. Some 350 guests attended the reception, Queen’s Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, members of parliament from both Houses, representatives of Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other government institutions, representatives of the diplomatic corps in London, members of Anglo-Albanian Association and representatives of the Albanian community in UK.
Z. Mal Berisha, Chargé d’Affaires of the Republic of Albania in London, in his address to the guests spoke about the excellent relations between Albania and the Great Britain and the crucial role this country has played in recognising the Albanian state in 1912.
The address of Mr Mal Berisha, Chargé d’Affaires, at the National Day reception celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania:
Members of the Parliament,
Your Excellences, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Honourable Defence Attaché and military representatives,
My fellow citizens,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour and privilege for me to address you in this remarkable day for my Nation.
Only 2 days later, on the 28th of November, Albania has its 100 anniversary. We are celebrating tonight in this beautiful venue and I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you.
Albania as one of the oldest nations of Europe has its own history, full of events with difficult days and glorious days, but in the path of history it has never lost its Western orientation, its Polar Star.
Being a nation that over the last thousand years has given great names to the humankind, such as our invincible National Hero, Defender of the Western Civilization Skanderbeg, Mehmet Ali of Egypt, Francesco Crispi of Italy and Mother Theresa of Calcutta, we have a lot to celebrate in this remarkable year.
After centuries of occupations, on 28 November 2012, Albania proclaimed its independence. Right after that, the first, and then the second Balkan Wars erupted. As a consequence, half of the territories populated by Albanians remained outside of its political borders.
It was the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors in London in May 1913 to recognize the independent Albania as a new and sovereign state. We are celebrating tonight in London, where that conference took place and this place has been chosen on purpose.
In those difficult times Albanians were not happy with that decision, but, after one hundred years of existence we think that without the help of the Great Britain, the recognition of the Albanian State in its current territory might have been impossible. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Great Britain for the help that was extended to my nation.
Albania went through a lot during the First and Second World War, passing from anarchy to a fragile Monarchy, from the Fascist and Nazis occupation to a severe Dictatorship after the Second World War. Besides all the burden of history, being surrounded by its people and its territory, it did experience also one of the hardest liners of communism in the world.
After one hundred years, Albanians are happily celebrating all over the world. Albania is a democratic country with a vibrant democratic society, free market, and freedom of expression and where human rights are fully respected. It is one of the main stability factors in the Balkan Region and has very good relations with all its neighbours. Albania is a NATO member with a distinguished contribution to the Military Mission in Bosnia, Iraq and now in Afghanistan. I would like to thank all the military attachés and representatives in this room for the excellent cooperation with our armed forces which also are celebrating their 100th anniversary.
I would like to thank the Great Britain and all other democratic countries and NATO for the help given to Kosova to become a free and independent state, for the help given to Macedonia to become another democratic state in the Balkans and respect the national and human rights of more than half a million Albanians living there, for the help given to Montenegro where another Albanian community lives along side with Montenegrins, for helping Serbia to break the chains of nationalism and respect the rights of almost one hundred thousand Albanians who live in its southern region, Presheve and Bujanovc.
Albania and Albanians are still not at the stage that they want to be, but we have never been better than today. This is a day of reflection, inspiration and motivation to move toward a better future.
God bless all of you!
God bless the Great Britain!
God Bless Albania!