Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi welcomed the unanimous decision of the Albanian Parliament to ratify Macedonia’s NATO accession, while Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that, if it weren’t for the Albanians in Macedonia, the country would never have changed its name to “North Macedonia”.

We focused fully to close the issues which obstructed our path to accomplish the strategic goals – full EU and NATO membership. We signed a treaty of friendship with the Republic of Bulgaria, and a final agreement to resolve the name issue with Greece. We pushed the constitutional amendments through, which was not easy, and which caused protests on both sides, Xhaferi said.

Rama said that he has difficulty concealing his glee that Albania is the third country to ratify Macedonia’s NATO membership, following Greece and Slovenia.

Without the Albanians there would’ve been no North Macdonia. For Albania, the territorial integrity of North Macedonia is inviolable, and is vital for our future, peace and stability. Our role in this historic moment was to support them. The peaceful situation is primarily due to the Albanian political leaders there and to the visionary Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, said Rama.

Rama influenced the creation of the current coalition Government when he gathered Albanian political leaders in Macedonia in 2016, who then prepared the so-called Tirana platform, which alters the balance of power among Macedonia’s ethnic communities. As the VMRO-DPMNE party, which won the elections, was unable to accept the clauses of this platform, which included a fully bilingual Macedonia and steps which VMRO saw as leading toward federalization of the country, most Albanian parties sided with SDSM, which was more prepared to accept their platform.