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US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton can count on a warm welcome on Thursday in Tirana, where she will urge feuding politicians to put aside their differences.
|Hillary Clinton | Photo by : AP/ Jim Watson|
Clinton can expect a hearty welcome in pro-American Albania, a country gearing up to mark a hundred years of independence.
“This is one of the most important of the events to celebrate Albania’s hundredth anniversary,” Prime Minister Sali Berisha told fellow Democratic Party MPs on Tuesday.
“Over these 100 years Albanian was able to survive because at every challenge it had it the US as an ally on its side," Berisha added.
Clinton is the highest-ranking US official to visit Albania since the June 2007 visit of former US President George Bush.
Bush was the first US President ever to visit Albania, and received a warm welcome. He is credited today with sponsoring Albania’s successful bid to join NATO in 2009, and with unequivocally supporting Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.
When Bush landed in Tirana, he was hailed by a 21-gun salute, while cheering locals swarmed the heavily cordoned streets, brandishing slogans, such as “Proud to be partners.”
According to local media, the Albanian authorities are organizing a similar welcome for the Secretary of State.
During her visit, Clinton is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Berisha and opposition Socialist head Edi Rama, urging the feuding leaders to cooperate and strengthen the process of the reforms leading towards EU accession.
Clinton will be “marking the critical need for greater political cooperation and the rule of law,” the US State Department said in a statement.
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