Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What's Going on in the Rest of the World: Albania

I had a hard time accessing a reliable Albania based news agency, so tonight's installation of What's Going on in the Rest of the World comes from Reuters:

Albania tells Azerbaijan it will stop arms sales

Albania assured Azerbaijan on Wednesday it will take every measure to stop the sale of weapons to countries in a state of conflict, after Turkey sent back a shipment of Albanian weapons bound for Armenia.

"The Albanian government will use its authority with the utmost seriousness to take all necessary measures to prevent the sales of weaponry to countries in a state of conflict," Albanian Foreign Minister Lulezim Basha said.

Basha made the pledge in a telephone conversation with his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov, a foreign ministry statement said.

Last week Turkey stopped and sent back to Albania's Durres port 60 containers with weapons destined for Armenia, which denied it had bought weapons from Albania.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region located within Azerbaijan's internationally recognised borders.

It broke away from Azeri control during a war in the 1990s and has proclaimed independence, though this has not been accepted internationally.

The head of Albania's state-owned weapons firm said he had sent the shipment because there was no embargo on arms sales to Armenia, press reports said.

Albania has been selling off its stock of Soviet-era weapons that were either imported from China or produced domestically, including an aging fleet of Mig airplanes.

Azerbaijan told Albania it considered the sale an act against Azerbaijan and asked the Islamic Conference Organisation to intervene on its behalf with fellow member Albania.

So we have Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey involved here (kind of confusing, too many As). I didn't know much about this dynamic, but learned the following from Wikipedia (I know, I know):

Turkey supports the OSCE Minsk Group as a mechanism for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and views it from the principle of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Following a UN Security Council resolution on April 6, 1993, calling for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azerbaijani district of Kelbajar, Turkey joined Azerbaijan in imposing the full economic embargo on Armenia

Still trying to figure out Albania's interest in arming Armenia. Besides pure profit, I'm ignorant at this point to the strategic motivations. Something to look into for later.


Anonymous said...

Just for curiosity's sake, what is your interest in Albania?

Elizabeth Schmitz said...

I don't have much of an interest in Albania, beyond its influence (which is minimal) in the resolution of Kosovo's status (which is going to be a part of my thesis on the geopolitics of Russian energy resources).

It just came next in the alphabet after Afghanistan and I'm trying to start a regular segment on the top news in other countries (goign alphabetically)