MIA News

Albania returns 20 icons stolen from Macedonian churches and monasteries

The Government highly values this historic act of the restitution of twenty icons that belong to the Macedonian churches and monasteries, said Culture Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska at a formal handover ceremony Friday in Tirana, during which Albania returned 20 illegally exported icons to the Macedonian delegation.

“In this gesture, as an e_xpression of friendship by the Government of Albania, Prime Minister Edi Rama, and my colleague, Minister Elva Margariti, we recognize not only the political message of following through on the tasks we have accepted as countries, but also the message about the ethical and moral attitude, as well as the respect for the protected Macedonian cultural heritage,” said Kostadinovska-Stojchevska.

The Culture Minister thanked the Albanian institutions who seized the works and brought the thieves to justice.

“I also want to thank the conservation experts from our side and from the Albanian side for their professional approach, which largely contributed to this successful epilogue to the ten-year odyssey of the Macedonian icons,” said Kostadinovska-Stojchevska.

The Culture Minister of Albania, Elva Margariti, assessed the handover ceremony as a “formal moment that makes us feel proud because it makes us a part of the avant-garde of implementing international conventions”.

“On the other hand, this act paves the way not only for the restitution of other objects to their countries of origin, but also to the restitution of lost objects, stolen from our cultural heritage institutions, museums, parks, to Albania,” added Margariti.