Albanian President Bujar Nishani, who arrived in Zagreb on Monday for an official visit, met representatives of an association of Albanians who participated in Croatia's Homeland Defence War and decorated them for their contribution in Croatia's war of independence.
Nishani recalled that the Croatian and Albanian peoples had been linked by long historical connections, and pointed out the cooperation during the e Republic of Ragusa (the Dubrovnik Republic) and the migrations of Albanians some 300 years ago to the region of Zadar where they called themselves Arbanasi people. He also mentioned Croatian historian Milan Šufflay who studied the Albanian past.
On behalf of the decorated veterans, Esad Colaku thanked the visiting president.
According to statistics kept by war veterans' associations, 2,579 Albanians joined as volunteers the Croatian defending forces at the outbreak of the war in 1991, and 86 of them gave their lives in the war, while 37 are still registered as missing. Over 500 Albanian volunteers were wounded, and currently 300 Albanian war veterans are entitled to pensions and other entitlements in Croatia.
War Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved said there were still some cases of Albanians who had taken part in the defence of Croatia and whose status had not yet been solved, and promised the amending of the legislation to help those veterans.
On Tuesday, President Nishani will be received by his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.