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Albanian Leader Finishes Serbia Visit


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has ended a two-day visit to Serbia -- the first by an Albanian leader in 68 years.

On the last day of his visit, Rama went to Serbia's southern Presevo region, where the majority of the population is ethnic Albanian.

Locals greeted Albanian leader with billboards proclaiming Rama their prime minister.

Rama's visit was intended to demonstrate a breakthrough in relations between Belgrade and Tirana after years of discord over Serbia's former province of Kosovo.

The majority ethnic Albanian Kosovo broke away from Serbia after NATO intervened in 1999 to halt Serbia's ethnic cleansing in the region.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

Belgrade has refused to recognize Kosovo's independence.

At a November 10 meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Rama said Serbia should officially acknowledge Kosovo's independence.

The statement led Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic to cancel a planned meeting with Rama.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa
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