Albanian PM’s Visit to Belgrade Postponed

News 20 Oct 14

After the disruption at the Serbia-Albania football match in Belgrade, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has postponed his planned visit to the Serbian capital until November.

Gordana Andric
BIRN

Belgrade

Edi Rama, Albanian PM. | Photo by World Economic Forum/Flickr

Rama and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, agreed on Sunday to postpone Rama’s landmark visit to Belgrade from October 22 to November 10 after tensions were raised between te two countries by last week’s football match incident.

After a telephone conversation, the prime ministers issued a joint statement describing the incidents at the stadium in Belgrade during the football match between Serbia and Albania as “very unfortunate”.

“There are still obvious disagreements about how the incident occurred, but we must not and we will not miss the opportunity to meet and work on maintaining regional stability,” said the statement.

Vucic and Rama said that is necessary to continue dialogue, because it “will pave the way to improvement in relations between the two countries, the region and the whole of Europe.”

“It is time we turned a new page in the political and economic relations between Serbia and Albania,” the two prime ministers wrote.

Rama and Vucic first agreed a meeting during a summit of Western Balkan countries in Berlin in August.

Rama’s visit is set to be the first official visit by an Albanian Prime Minister to Belgrade since 1946, just after World War II.

Relations between Serbia and Albania have traditionally been tense, and worsened during the conflict in mainly Albanian Kosovo.

But tensions between the two countries spiked after the Albania-Serbia Euro 2016 qualifier on October 14. The match was abandoned when scuffles erupted after a drone bearing a map of ‘Greater Albania’ was flown over the stadium.

Fighting erupted on the pitch and some Albanian players were assaulted by Serbian fans who had invaded the field.

Serbian officials accused Rama’s brother, Olsi Rama, of holding the remote control for the drone, but he strongly denied such this.

Following the game, the Albanian and Serbian prime ministers had a sharp exchange of views on Twitter.

“A normal Serbia might be possible only if the Real Serbia will understand that Greater Albania is their nightmare not our project!” Rama wrote on his Twitter account on October 17.

Vucic replied on Twitter the same day: “People who are saying that Greater Albania is our nightmare are absolutely right. But that is not only our nightmare, it is a European nightmare, it is mankind’s nightmare, and we will do our best to prevent world getting that nightmare. We hope that normal Albanians will understand this message.”

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