“The end of an era”, the “symbol of the suffering of a people”, but also “the hope for a better future in a country like Italy” which “was the window of hope for all Albanians during the dark decades of the communist regime. ” Thus the President of the Albanian Republic Ilir Meta remembers, exclusively to the Adnkronos, ” the event of great historical significance for Albanian emigration ” which represented ” the arrival of the Vlora ship in Bari on 8 August 1991. ” Thirty years have passed, and the arrival of those 20,000 Albanians who arrived in the port of Bari ” changed the history of Italian emigration, but it also symbolized the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter for both our countries and peoples. ” An ” extraordinary human sacrifice ” that today can be a starting point ” to build a future better for our countries and peoples. ”
” The landing of 20 thousand Albanians has shown the whole world the tragedy, pain and suffering of a people isolated for decades ”, says Meta, eager to ” express my deepest gratitude to the Municipality of Bari and to all the population of the Puglia Region, for the rare solidarity and the great support they were able to offer and demonstrate in those extremely difficult and dramatic moments ”.
It is ” to the people of Bari and to all the Italian people ” that the thought of the Albanian president, former prime minister from 1999 to 2002, goes. Because ” they have shown a close and fraternal bond between our two peoples ”, he continues. A bond that is ” witnessed for more than five centuries by the emigration of our Arbëresh to Italy, after the death of our National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu ”, recalls Meta. ” Thanks to the support and fraternal bond with the Italian people, the Arbëresh still preserve their tradition, language, religion, customs and traditions ”, he continues.
Former Foreign Minister from 2002 to 2003, Meta underlines that “ the coexistence and integration of our two peoples continues and is still strengthened today, through the contribution of the Albanian communities in all areas of life and development of Italy ”. Returning to the thirtieth anniversary of the Vlora landing, Meta speaks of ” an unforgettable memory of the past, which closed a chapter of isolation for Albania and created new important social and economic realities for both of our countries ”. An anniversary from which to start again because “this very important event of extraordinary human sacrifice invites us all to work to build a better future for our countries and peoples”.