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Presevo To Top Agenda Of Albanian PM's Belgrade Visit

  • RFE/RL's Balkan Service

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama

Albania's prime minister will make an official visit to Serbia this month, the first time an Albanian head of government has done so since 1948.

Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati confirmed on October 3 that Prime Minister Edi Rama plans to visit Belgrade on October 22 for talks that will focus on the situation for ethnic Albanians in the Presevo area of southern Serbia, which borders Kosovo and Macedonia.

About 90 percent of the 35,000 residents of the town of Presevo are ethnic Albanians.

Bushati said Rama also will urge Belgrade to recognize Kosovo, the former Serbian province that unilaterally declared independence in 2008.

The last Albanian leader to visit Belgrade was communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who held talks with Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito in 1948. The next year, relations between the two countries collapsed.

Albania and Serbia have both been granted candidate status by the European Union and are seeking EU membership.

With reporting by AP