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Albanian President In Unofficial Visit To Southern Serbia Town

Albanian President Meets Ethnic Albanians In Serbia
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WATCH: Albanian President Meets Ethnic Albanians In Serbia

Albania's President Ilir Meta has kicked off a two-day unofficial visit to a southern Serbian town with a sizable ethnic Albanian population.

Meta announced a new era of relations between Belgrade and Tirana as he met with local officials in Medvedja on November 26.

"I am very happy that I can bring today a message of … cooperation, because we are living in a new era of cooperation between Serbia and Albania as two countries but also two nations," he said.

“Our aspiration is to pave the way toward Europe," the Albanian president also said.

Zoran Stankovic, who heads the Coordination Board for the municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja, said that the goal of Meta's visit was to "show that Serbs, Albanians, and others who live in this region can live without any problems.”

Relations between the two Balkan countries remain strained, mainly over the former Serbian province of Kosovo, where the ethnic Albanian majority declared independence in 2008. The move was recognized by 115 countries, although not by Serbia or Russia.

The prime ministers of Serbia and Albania pledged to work toward better ties as they met in Tirana in May 2015.

Serbia and Albania are both candidates for accession to the European Union.

Albania is a NATO member, while Serbia is not.