Albania
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Albania
to the United Nations.

(Temporary Web Site)

H.E. Adrian Neritani,
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,
Permanent Representative of the Permanent
Mission of the Republic of Albania
to the United Nations

Contact information:

Permanent Mission of the
Republic of Albania

to the United Nations
320 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
USA

Tel: 1-212-249-2059
Fax: 1-212-535-2917

e-mail:

Temporary Web: www.iaed.org/albania

Background Country Information:

Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.
  
Location:

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:

total: 717 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km
Coastline:

362 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate:

mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrain:

mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use:

arable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)

Natural hazards:

destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:

strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
  
Population:

3,619,778 (July 2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:

Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
Religions:

Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice

Languages:

Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Literacy:

definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
  
Government type:

emerging democracy

Capital:

name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:

12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore

Independence:

28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:

Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
Constitution:

adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998

Legal system:

has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; People's Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes
Economy - overview:

Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for more than one-fifth of GDP, is held back because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment, which make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission line between Albania and Montenegro will help relieve the energy shortages. Also, the government is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. On the positive side, macroeconomic growth was strong in 2003-07 and inflation is low and stable.

Agriculture - products:

wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Industries:

food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:

Exports - commodities:

textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners:

Italy 61%, Greece 9.1%, China 6.2%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.3% (2006)
Imports:

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners:

Italy 33%, Greece 18.3%, Turkey 8.7%, Germany 5.7% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:


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