March 4. 2024. 5:42

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Albanian, Montenegrin PM sign agreements, pledge support for Kosovo dialogue


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama was in Montenegro on Monday to sign several agreements with his Montenegrin counterpart Dritan Abazovic, including those relating to infrastructure, tourism, and customs.

The two leaders held a bilateral meeting during which nine agreements were signed. Following the meeting, Rama and Abazovic addressed the media.

The signed agreements include the construction of a bridge over the Buna River, opening the common border at Saint Nicholas Pulaj, and others relating to energy, fisheries, plant protection, social protection, sports, culture, media, defence, and health.

“I am proud that we have signed the construction of the bridge in Buna that will connect two states…We are dedicated to European integration. I think that the relations between Albania and Montenegro are an example for the Western Balkans,” said Abazovic, speaking in Albanian.

It was also announced that Montenegro would host the next Open Balkan Summit in June. While Montenegro is not currently a member of the Open Balkan initiative comprising Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia, Abazovic has cautiously expressed interest in the past.

The Open Balkan initiative has seen several agreements signed between the three countries covering trade, free movement, education, and health. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have said they will not join due to concerns over Serbia’s involvement and possible conflicts with EU integration. However, Belgrade, Tirana, and Skopje remain adamant it is crucial for the region and can complement the Berlin Process.

“Albania and Montenegro are more than neighbours and can do more than what they have done today. We meet at a challenging moment for all of Europe and the value of this brotherhood in the neighbourhood becomes even greater,” said Rama.

He also spoke of their joint alignment with Ukraine in the war against Russia, NATO membership, and EU hopes.

“Both our visit to Kyiv and our joint efforts are the foundation of a relationship to become more powerful”, Rama said.

The two leaders also addressed the high-level meeting in Brussels between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia, facilitated by the EU.

Abazovic said he supports the EU proposal to normalise relations as there must be stability in the Western Balkans.

“Montenegro supports the agreement. The plan is good, as we must have stabilisation in the region. Everyone will be at a loss if they continue the status quo they have now with tensions and attitudes. We support the dialogue…we do not support conflict politics. We support that of gratitude, respect and cooperation,” he said.

Rama agreed, stating, “I really hope that the issue between Serbia and Kosovo enters the path of an irreversible dialogue…The Franco-German agreement is the best that has been on the table. I respect the sovereignty of both parties, but when it comes to these cases it is impossible. I wish the Government of Kosovo determination and success.”

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)