A Presheva Valley Delegation Visits Washington DC

The Presheva Valley is an essential part of the Albanian national cause. Europe as a whole can achieve long-term peace and stability only when ethnic Albanians in their ancestral lands in the Presheva Valley feel free, equal and share a democratic vision.

The Albanian American Civic League (AACL), led by former Congressman Joe DioGuardi and Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, has systematically and continuously worked for the righteous and legitimate demands of the Presheva Valley for more than two decades.

This past week, the Civic League arranged for a series of highly important meetings in New York and Washington, DC, for a delegation of ethnic Albanian political leaders from the Presheva Valley, including Shaip Kamberi, MP and Chair of PVD, Nagip Arifi, Mayor of Bujanoc and Chair of PD, Ardita Sinani, former Mayor of Presheva, and Ragmi Mustafa, former Mayor and former Deputy Mayor of Presheva and Chair of PDSH. Their visit to the United States was supported by the Government of Kosova.

The delegation started their visit to the United States with a meeting with Ferit Hoxha, Albanian Ambassador to the United Nations (who is currently chairing the UN Security Council), and the Board of our Civic League in New York on Sunday.

On Monday, in Washington, DC, the Presheva Valley delegation met with Congressman Jim McGovern, Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. On Tuesday they were received at the US Department of State by the Director of the Office for Central and Southern Europe, Martin McDowell, on behalf of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Envoy for the Balkans Gabriel Escobar (who had to be in the region for meetings). On Wednesday, the delegation also met with Sarah Arkin in charge of European Affairs with the office of Senator Bob Menendez, Chair of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Together with Joe and Shirley, the delegation participated in the 25th annual Statesmanship Awards Celebration of the US Association of Former Members of Congress in the evening of Wednesday, June 8. At this important and exclusive event, the delegation was introduced to many Members of Congress and other dignitaries attending the event, including Senator Tim Kaine and Arberesh former Member of Congress Connie Morella, among others. We arranged for the group to be joined by Albania’s Ambassador to the United States, Floreta Faber.

The time has come for the Presheva Valley question to be given the serious attention it deserves. Belgrade’s form of modern ethnic cleansing through the removal of addresses of local ethnic Albanian residents, continued lack of economic development, and an increase in the rate of poverty, cannot be tolerated anymore. Serbia’s insistence in getting the maximum rights for the Serbian minority in Kosova while totally ignoring even the most basic and fundamental rights of the Albanian minority in the Presheva Valley is a blatant hypocrisy that both the United States and the European Union must reject.

The dialogue process between Prishtina and Belgrade cannot be completed successfully unless the righteous and legitimate demands of the Presheva Valley ethnic Albanians are thoroughly taken into account.

The Civic League will continue its work in support of the Presheva Valley and will do all it takes to make sure that our Albanian brothers and sisters in the region are neither diminished nor fully marginalized.

Please consider making a donation to our Civic League (https://www.aacl.com/membership) to support our work for the Presheva Valley, in particular, and the Albanian national cause, in general.

All the best,

Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi
Balkan Affairs Adviser

Joe DioGuardi