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News 11 Aug 15

Vucic And Rama to Go Head to Head in TV Duel

The Serbian and Albanian Prime Ministers will confront each other in a one-hour long TV debate on August 31, which audiences across the Balkans will be able to follow.

Filip Avramovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama in Tirana | Photo by Beta

TV audiences stretching across the Balkans will have a chance to see the sparring leaders of Serbia and Albania resolve their differences on air in August.

The TV duel in Vienna between Edi Rama and Aleksandar Vucic follows a series of public rows between the two Prime Ministers.

The latest spats concern a misquoted report of one of Rama's TV interviews and the decision of the sports arbitration court in Lausanne to award an abandoned football match held in Belgrade to Albania.

The program will be recorded in a studio in Vienna during the Second Conference on the Western Balkans. The general secretary of the Council for Regional Cooperation, Goran Svilanovic, will also participate.

The show by the regional TV production "Okruzenje" ("Surroundings") will be broadcast simultaneously in five states, on 11 national and dozens of local television stations, in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banjaluka, Podgorica, Tirana, Pristina and Belgrade.

"This TV show will be a great opportunity to openly speak about joint interests and problems that undermine them," a statement from the Serbian broadcaster RTS said.

Vucic and Rama have already conducted vigorous one--to-one disputes in public, mostly on the social medium Twitter.

Folllowing a misquoted report of the Albanian PM's TV interview, Serbia's Vucic went on Twitter to say he will never allow Albania and Kosovo to become one state.

His tweet came after Serbian media reports claimed that Rama had said that if the EU failed to allow the two states to unite within a borderless Europe, they would unify in “the classical way”.

Tensions between the two countries plunged again during and after the abandoned Albania-Serbia Euro 2016 qualifier in October 2014.

The match was called off when scuffles erupted after a drone bearing a map of Greater Albania flew over the stadium.

The latest debate between the two Balkan premiers started after the Albanian leader praised the decision of the sports arbitration court to award the abandoned football match held in Belgrade to Albania.

                                                     

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