BELGRADE (AFP) – Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama arrived in Serbia Monday, in the first such visit in 68 years, after violence at a football match delayed his landmark bid to ease tensions between the Balkans nations.
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic welcomed Rama with state and military honours in front of the Palace of Serbia, decorated with the flags of both states.
Rama’s visit, initially planned for October 22, was postponed after violence broke out at a football match between Serbia and Albania.
That flare-up turned into a political crisis between the two countries, which are both hoping to join the European Union.
The football-linked violence and political tensions highlighted the troubled relations between Belgrade and Tirana, and Rama’s historic visit aims at helping turn the page on the past.
The two countries’ recent disagreements have been linked to largely ethnic Albanian Kosovo, a former Serbian province, and the ethnic Albanian minority in southern Serbia who often demand more autonomy.