Serbian prime minister meets with Albanian counterpart
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said that the differences between Serbia and Albania have to do with "the stance on Kosovo."Source: B92, Tanjug
He made the comment after his meeting in Tirana with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Previously, Rama said that Serbia and Albania "have different positions on some issues," but are both in favor of peace.
Thanking the Albanian prime minister for the warm welcome, Vucic said that the two peoples are neighbors, which is a fact that will never change, and therefore they should solve all problems through dialogue.
"The fact is that we disagree about Kosovo and Metohija. Serbia treats and will continue to treat it as its integral part, while Albania treats Kosovo as an independent country. Nevertheless, I believe that these discrepancies can be mitigated through dialogue and in a peaceful manner," Vucic said.
"We did not discuss only diplomacy, we spoke about developing tourism and how to motivate Serbian citizens to come to Tirana and vice versa. We are on the right path, we must work on that. The fact is that we are not agreement on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija," said Vucic.
He stressed he was "proud to be the first Serbian prime minister to visit Albania," and that he did so "in the name of citizens of Serbia."
"I met with Rama several times around the world and we always spoke openly even when we did not see eye to eye. I am convinced that our relations are important for the Western Balkans," Vucic stated.
Vucic and Rama held a face-to-face meeting before a joint news conference. In a statement given after the meeting, Rama said that "the two countries are key to peace in the region."
"The fact that we have different views on some things does not mean that we are not aware of the fact that the two countries play an important role in the preservation of peace," said he.
Rama added that "Kosovo remains an important topic for relations between Serbia and Albania."
He stated he "values" the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and sees it as "the door to open a new chapter in relations between Serbia and Albania."
"I believe that these 24 hours that the Serbian prime minister will spend in Tirana will be an initiative for citizens of Serbia to in the future come to Albania more often, especially during the upcoming summer. We are small and must make an effort to improve our economy," said Rama.
The Albanian prime minister added that "there is an opportunity for Albanians and Serbs to, for the benefit of their countries and the entire region, do what Germans did for themselves after the Second World War."
He believes "they will together be able to improve relations and continue to implement an agenda for a region without borders, which will contribute to eliminating barriers to trade, culture and science."
"I hope that together we will move forward on the path towards the EU. We have a lot in common which can contribute to the progress of our countries," said Rama.
Vucic was earlier in the day received in Tirana with full state honors.
B92's reporter said that Tirana was "completely blocked for the visit," and that Vucic's car was escorted from the airport with tight security measures in place, that included police officers deployed "50 meters apart," and a military helicopter.
Vucic will also meet with Albanian President Bujar Nishani, the parliament speaker, and the mayor of Tirana.
Vucic said ahead of the visit that Serbia "wants good relations with Tirana," while Rama said that "Serbia and Albania should be in the Balkans what France and Germany were in Europe after World War II."
Vucic will on Wednesday meet with representatives of Serbs in Albania, while he will on Thursday attend an economic summit that will bring together regional prime ministers.
Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic is also in his delegation - a confirmation that one of the key topics will be large infrastructure projects planned by the two countries.
Стигли у Тирану где нас у наредна два дана очекује много важних и, надам се, продуктивних састанака. pic.twitter.com/M52Q3ZRKrz— Александар Вучић (@SerbianPM) May 27, 2015