GROWING TENSION BETWEEN BELGRADE AND TIRANA
TITO DENOUNCES TREATY WITH ALBANIA
On Nov. 12th Yugoslavia denounced her treaty of friendship with Albania.
This is the first time that the Government of Marshal Tito has taken the initiative of denouncing a pact with a Cominform country, after Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria had all thrown aside the ties of “friendship and mutual assistance” made with Yugoslavia in the early postwar period.
In all cases it had been the Cominform countries to take decided action against Yugoslavia, thus aggravating a tension that stopped just short of a breaking off of diplomatic relations.
A note of about 3000 words was handed over to the Legation of the Albanian People’s Republic in Belgrade, listing charges of “hostile acts” made by the present Government of Tirana. The document pointed out that Hoxha’s Government had been “driven” by Russia and the other Cominform countries “to pursue this policy of open hostility and violation…”. “The countries of Eastern Europe headed by the USSR” – the note added – “have sacrificed the interests of Albania for the sole purpose of carrying out their obscure plans against Yugoslavia.”
The note closed with these words: “The Yugoslav Government, although it is not indifferent to the fact that the independence and integrity of Albania have been endangered, and although the sympathy of the Yugoslav Government and people for the Albanian people continues to be full and sincere, declares that it considers itself freed from the obligations deriving from the treaty of friendship and mutual assistance concluded between Yugoslavia and Albania on July 9, 1947.”
It is apparent that the denunciation of this “friendship” treaty is an important move that will affect the internal situation of both Yugoslavia and Albania in the near future.
We Albanians emigrants feel no wonder at this move; we even consider the breaking off of friendship between Yugoslavia and Albania the most logical and natural consequence of the policy followed by the two governments in the last few years. The only thing that has surprised us is that it was Yugoslavia, and not Albania, who broke the “friendship treaty”.
In fact, the “friendship” ties and the treaties signed between the governments of Comrade Hoxha and the other comrade, Marshal Tito, were detrimental to the real interests of the Albanian nation and people.
As regards the contents of the Yugoslav note handed over to the Albanian Legation at Belgrade, we should like to make a few remarks here, especially concerning the affirmation that “the Yugoslav Government is not indifferent to the fact that the independence and integrity of Albania have been endangered”.
There is no doubt that the independence of Albania is in danger; we can even affirm, with no fear of denials, that today our country is “not” independent, since Hoxha’s government is only a puppet in the hands of a foreign power. As regards the integrity of Albanian territory, however, if Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia “is not indifferent” to it, she should give a more concrete proof of her concern – that is, she should return to the Albanian motherland Kosovo-Metohija, a clearly Albanian populated province. Such a decision depends only on the Government of Belgrade, as Kosovo-Metohija is arbitrarily and unjustly under Yugoslav occupation. Should Marshal Tito give such a proof, then we too could affirm that the sympathy of the Yugoslav Government and people for the Albanian people is really sincere.