Albania wants the remains of Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa and King Ahmet Zog, the only post-independence monarch, to be returned to the country, its Prime Minister Sali Berisha has said.
Mother Teresa’s remains are in India and King Ahmet Zog’s in France. Mr. Sali Berisha’s government has asked India for the Roman Catholic nun’s remains to be returned by the 100th anniversary of her birth in August.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister said Albania has started negotiations with the Indian government, which “will be intensified this year.”
Macedonia and Albania have been engaged in a dispute over the national identity of Mother Teresa, who was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia, to an ethnic Albanian family. She went to Calcutta in 1929 and dedicated herself to the service of the poor and infirm. Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
After her death in 1997, she was buried in Calcutta and Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003. Albania’s main airport outside the capital, Tirana, is named after her.
King Zog was the small Balkan country’s first and only post-independence monarch, reigning from 1928 to 1939, when he fled after Albania’s occupation by fascist Italy. He died in France in 1961 and is buried at the Thiais Cemetery near Paris.