First Albanian PM Visit to Serbia in 70 Years Postponed

Southeast Europe | October 20, 2014, Monday // 17:18|  views

A brawl between players on the pitch before the UEFA EURO 2016 group I qualifying soccer match between Serbia and Albania is suspended in Belgrade, Serbia, 14 October 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A trip of Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama to Serbian capital Belgrade was put off for November after Rama spoke to Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, officials say.

The unprecedented visit was scheduled for last week, but heightened tensions over an abandoned football game prompted Belgrade and Tirana to change plans.

Serbian PM's press office now reported the meeting would take place on November 10, stressing in a statement the two heads of government "will not let go of the opportunity to meet and word for regional stability and to turn a new page" in terms of political and economic relations.

Wednesday's match ended just before the end of the first half at the request of the Albanian team, after a flag-waving drone flew over the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade carrying an image of Greater Albania, causing a melee among players and fans.

Belgrade calls the event "a provocation", something Tirana fervently denies. Serbian media reports even suggested Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's brother, Olsi, who was in the VIP box during the match, was behind the indicent.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic welcomed on Monday Albania's decision to postpone the visit, but added his country has the "political will" to overcome the issue.

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Tags: Serbia, Albania, football, Edi Rama, Olsi Rama, Ivica Dacic


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