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Albania grants Taiwan visa free privilege

2011/06/24 13:27:51

Taipei, June 24 (CNA) Albania has signed a visa-waiver agreement with Taiwan, becoming the 115th country to do so, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Friday in a press statement.

Effective immediately, Taiwanese passport holders visiting the European country for less than 90 days will not need apply for tourist visas, making travel more convenient for the local population, said MOFA spokesman James Chang. Asked how many Taiwanese people actually visited Albania last year, Chang said only: "Not many."

Albania is the 115th country or territory to grant visa-free access or landing visa privileges to Taiwanese citizens, according to MOFA.

According to Chang, the agreement is significant for Taiwan because Albania used to have a "very close relationship" with China.

"Albania has proposed several times to exclude Taiwan from the United Nations and has maintained a friendly relationship with China for a long time," Chang said.

Taiwan lost its U.N. membership in 1971 and has since been unsuccessful in its attempts to rejoin the international body.

"Our overseas representative members have spent much time and effort to solidify the agreement with Albania, a country with no diplomatic ties with Taiwan," the spokesman said.

Taiwan, however, is only referred to as Chinese Taipei by the Albanian government.

The MOFA press statement explained that the name is acceptable to Taiwan and interpreted Albania's willingness to recognize Taiwan as Chinese Taipei as a gesture of goodwill.

Asked whether visa-free access will be granted to Albanians visiting Taiwan, Chang said the authorities will consider the measure only after the European country has submitted the relevant documents for review.

(By Nancy Liu)