By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade
A long awaited visit by an Albanian Prime Minister to Belgrade – the first in 68 years – was spoiled today by provocation. At the press conference with his Serbian counterpart, Albanian PM Edi Rama said that Kosovo is an independent state recognized by 108 countries and suggested Serbia to do the same by “accepting reality”.
“This reality should also be accepted by Serbia”, Rama stated. He stressed that the European Union countries have brought stability to the region by recognizing Kosovo as an independent state.
Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic reacted by saying that Rama cannot talk in the name of Kosovo and Metohija calling his statement provocation. “I don’t know what Mr. Rama has with Kosovo”, Vucic said announcing his intention to talk about “Serbian Kosovo” in Tirana.
“It is obvious that we have different positions and its essential reality that Serbia’s position is that Kosovo and Metohija are part of Serbia. I am glad that I can repeat this in the presence of Albanian premier. Unfortunately, this says a lot about some others rather than me”, Vucic added.
Vucic underlined that Kosovo issue was not in the agenda of Rama’s visit.
Foreign relations experts say that Rama has breached diplomatic protocol by his Kosovo statement. International relations professor Ivo Viskovic compared Rama’s words with Charles de Gaulle statement “Vive le Québec libre!” in Canada 1967.
After the press conference in Serbian government was over, Vucic turned his back to Rama avoiding the usual handshakes. Rama continues his visit in Presevo, in the south of Serbia. On Tuesday he will meet there local leaders of the ethnic Albanian minority.
Rama’s visit was initially scheduled for October 22. However, it was canceled due to tense football match between Serbia-Albania earlier on October and was later postponed for yesterday at the insistence of the EU, especially Germany.
Serbian officials believe that Rama’s Kosovo statement was a planned provocation of Tirana, possibly in cooperation with some Western powers.
The same interconnection between Tirana and the West was observed in relation to the football match.
A drone carrying “Greater Albania” map above the pitch during the match in Belgrade on October 14 ignited a fight among the players, as well as the invasion of Serbian fans on the pitch.
Belgrade accused Rama’s brother Olsi, who was attending the match, allegedly at the insistence of EU diplomats, of manipulating the drone.