50 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Albania and the Kingdom of the Netherlands

50 years ago, on November 18, 1970, diplomatic relations were established between the Republic of Albania and The Kingdom of The Netherlands. On such a date it is worth making a retrospective of the event, to understand how this important diplomatic process in the relations between the two countries was finalized.
The first data on the expression of interest by Dutch entities, mainly their interest in trade exchanges, for the Albanian raw material and the supply of Dutch processed products, we find in 1958, after Albania's accession to the UN in December 1955. Communications with Dutch private entities are made through the Albanian Legation in Paris.
In 1961 a Dutch private tourism company showed interest in bringing tourists to Albania, a proposal that was approved by the Albanian government in the conditions of the breakdown of relations with the USSR and the reduction of their level with the countries of the eastern bloc. In 1962, when the Albanian government started a new period of friendship, that with communist China, a Dutch airline, KLM, proposed to the Albanian government to give the opportunity to organize the airline between Tirana and Beijing and then to other destinations, as well as to organize tourist trips to Albania. The realization of this request was hindered by the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The first proposal for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries came from the Albanian side.
On January 4, 1962, in our legate in Paris, almost at the same time as the proposal made to Switzerland, its head Dhimiter Lamani proposed to the Dutch ambassador on behalf of the Albanian government the establishment of diplomatic relations, since there had never been between the two countries. dispute and that there was growing commercial interest. On February 23, 1962, the Dutch government rejected the proposal of the Albanian government, arguing that it did not see the possibility of trade relations between the two countries, did not have sufficient budget and personnel to cover this new diplomatic relationship, but also with the fact that according to data they had from the Italian and French legations in Tirana, in Albania the conditions were lacking and it was difficult to carry out normal diplomatic activity, implying that the representations of western countries were not completely free to exercise their diplomatic activity in Albania. The arguments were not well received by the Albanian side and the process remained without continuation. The airline KLM also intervened several times in the following years with the Dutch MFA, in order to promote the establishment of diplomatic relations, interested in Albania as a working destination. Meanwhile, Albania continued to be a member of a political-military bloc such as the Warsaw Pact since its founding on May 14, 1955, which was not well seen by The Hague.
In 1967, when the Soviet Union was intervening by all means in the countries of Eastern Europe (Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania) to prevent the partial reforms that the communist governments of these countries were undertaking to break away from the Soviet model, the Dutch ambassador in Vienna, in a meeting with the Albanian ambassador there, would say, “The numerous movements of the Soviet government in Europe are aimed at realizing their European security policy without the US and at isolating the FRY. This policy the Soviets need to have free arms in Asia, which is the second objective of their policy. Our Foreign Minister will soon go to Romania, where in addition to economic and cultural issues, political problems, especially European security, will be discussed. For the time being, the Netherlands is for the economic union of Europe, while the political union, as De Goli demands, is seen as unachievable now. It is for this reason that the Netherlands seeks the unification of the free market with the common market… ” After the military intervention of the Warsaw Pact in Czechoslovakia, Albania withdrew from this military pact in September 1968.
A few days after the Albanian government responded positively to the request of the Belgian government for the establishment of diplomatic relations, on October 13, 1970, the Dutch ambassador in Belgrade presented to the Albanian ambassador there the proposal of the Dutch government to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. was an ambassador accredited in Tirana. He proposed that the establishment of relations be done with a joint public communiqué on this event, at the same time in the two capitals according to the classical formula for these issues. The proposal was immediately accepted by the Albanian government. Albania would cover the Netherlands from Paris. After the arguments presented 8 years ago by the Dutch side to reject the proposal of the Albanian government, now the Dutch ambassador presented the reasons that pushed the Dutch government for this new proposal. He diplomatically stated that "..it was the conviction of the Dutch government that this step would serve to strengthen the friendship between the two peoples and the further development of trade relations, as well as relations in the field of culture and other areas of common interest". The Dutch diplomat ended his lecture with the statement "We respect and admire Albania's efforts to be independent" implying Albania's exit from the Warsaw Pact, an important fact for the geopolitics of the time. At the same meeting, the Dutch submitted the joint draft communiqué for the establishment of diplomatic relations to be approved by the Albanian government. Meanwhile, from informal meetings, our diplomats announced that the Netherlands expected the establishment of Albania's relations with Switzerland and Denmark in the same year to advance after Belgium in this process.
The draft communiqué for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries was approved by the Albanian government and it was agreed that it be made public at the same time on November 18, 1970.
Albania covered the Netherlands from the Albanian embassies in Paris and Brussels, until the beginning of 1997, when the first resident ambassador representing Albania in The Hague took office.

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