Rama: Relationship with Vucic aimed at not having ‘a radicalized Serbia’

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said during a visit to Kosovo that Albania’s efforts to build good regional relations with Serbia were in part to keep Belgrade in the Western orbit.

“It’s not in our interest to have radicalized Serbia, especially in today’s world”, Rama said at a joint press conference with his Kosovo counterpart in Prishtina, Albin Kurti. 

Rama was responding to criticism over perceptions that he is placing his relations with Serb President Aleksandar Vucic over Albanian interests in the region, especially those in Kosovo, where Rama and Kurti led a joint Albania-Kosovo governments meeting on Monday (20.06).

Rama and Kurti made it clear that they don’t see eye to eye on some issues, especially on Serbia and participation in the Open Balkan initiative, but said they would work together to bring Albania and Kosovo closer.

“I don’t think our different views on Serbia harm our shared goal – Serbia recognizing Kosovo as independent and the just peace needed for all”, Rama said.  

Prime Minister Kurti was repeatedly asked about Open Balkans, which Kosovo has refused to join as it is seen as a Serb-led initiative outside the EU’s Berlin process, saying he prefered to talk about bilateral cooperation with Albania and plans to have a port section dedicated to Kosovo in Albania’s Adriatic coastline and the construction of a new railway linking Kosovo and Albania.

Cooperation has never been wider and more intensive, both in the use of human resources and natural resources, Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti said at the joint meeting. 

“Relations between our two countries are proof that when there are no unresolved political problems, the success of relations in all other areas is guaranteed. It is also proof that cooperation, integration and sustainable development throughout the region is ensured by solving political problems at the beginning and not at the end”, Prime Minister Kurti said.

The countries’ governments approved 13 intergovernmental agreements and 8 interinstitutional agreements at the eights joint meeting, which have become a regular occurance, twice a year. The agreements ranged from law enforcement and education to customs and energy.