English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa arrives for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AFP/Valerie Macon)
British pop star of Kosovo descent Dua Lipa has insisted she was misunderstood over a tweet linked to Albanian nationalist aspirations that sparked controversy, notably in the volatile Balkans region.
Lipa, born in Britain to Kosovar parents, posted a map representing "Greater Albania" with the caption "Autochthonous" on her Twitter account over the weekend, sparking sharp reactions on both sides.
In a follow-up post Tuesday evening, she said she had been "willfully misinterpreted by some groups and individuals who promote ethnic separatism, something I completely reject".
The singer said her previous post was "never meant to incite any hate".
She added: "We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from. I simply want my country to be represented on a map."
"Greater Albania" is an idea promoted by nationalist extremists seeking to unite Albanians in the Balkans within one state, including Kosovo, parts of Serbia and North Macedonia.
Belgrade regularly accuses Pristina and Tirana of having as their ultimate political goal the unification of all territories where ethnic Albanians make up the majority.
They claim it was this idea that fueled Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia.
Both Albanian and Kosovo authorities insist that no such plan exists.
Lipa's tweet was particularly controversial in the Balkans countries concerned.
"The discussions about borders and who is autochthonous in the region need only a spark as proved with the international star's post," commented the Kosovo daily paper Koha Ditore.
Her original post was published just days after the launch of an online petition demanding Kosovo be shown on US tech giant Apple's maps.
Ethnic-Albanian majority Kosovo proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008.
It was recognized by some 100 countries, including the US and most European Union nations.
But, Serbia and its allies Russia and China, still refuse to recognize the move, which is preventing Kosovo membership in the United Nations.
The "Greater Albania" map had already caused a stir in October 2014, during an Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania, which had to be abandoned.
Serb fans invaded the pitch and attacked Albania's players after a flag with the controversial map was flown over the stadium by a drone.