Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bush greeted as hero in Albania (BBC)

Last Updated: Sunday, 10 June 2007, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Bush greeted as hero in Albania
President George W Bush has become the first US leader to visit Albania, where he enjoyed a hero's welcome.

The Balkan country is a staunch ally in America's "war on terror" and Mr Bush met Albanian soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Albanian President Alfred Moisiu (left) and US President George W Bush in TiranaMr Bush reiterated his support for the UN's plan for Kosovo's independence, adding it was time to "get moving" despite opposition from Russia.

He expressed concern at the effects on Kosovans of expectations not being met.

"The question is whether there's going to be endless dialogue on a subject that we've already made up our mind on," he said, after

meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

"We need to get moving and the end result is independence," he added.

He also called on the Albanian government to help maintain calm and peace in Kosovo, most of whose people are ethnic Albanians.

The G8 failed to reach consensus on Kosovo this week, with strong opposition from Russia to the independence blueprint laid out by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari in April.

Stamps issued

Mr Bush's week-long European tour has already taken him to the G8 summit in Germany, as well as the Czech Republic, Poland and Italy.

The Albanian capital, Tirana, celebrated Mr Bush's visit, although he spent just seven hours in the city before flying to Bulgaria.

Tirana's streets had been cleaned, US flags were draped over buildings and a commemorative set of stamps had been issued for the occasion.

This welcome was in stark contrast to the protests that have followed Mr Bush elsewhere in Europe, says a BBC correspondent travelling with the president.

'Freedom agenda'

Albanian government spokesman Grid Roy said he hoped the visit would help the country's push to become a member of Nato and the European Union.

Albanians wear Uncle Sam hats to greet President Bush
"Ninety-four percent of Albanians support integration [into Nato and the EU], so that's the primary goal of this government," Mr Roy said. "This visit only makes that easier."

Mr Bush also met the prime ministers of Croatia and Macedonia during his stay in Tirana.

He wanted to show solidarity with Europe's newest democracies, our correspondent says.

These countries offer some hope for Mr Bush's freedom agenda even if Iraq, at the moment, does not, our correspondent says.

Albania backs the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It has tripled its troop numbers in Afghanistan to 140, and has about 120 troops in Iraq.

1 comment:

Leonidas said...

Entaksei, o proedros Bush episkeftike tin Alvania, ekane tis sizitiseis pou eixe programmatisei na kanei, ekane kai tis antistoixes episkepseis, kai telos ekane kai kapoies diloseis. Auto pou mou emeine emena einai oti to Alvaniko kratos exei poli dromo akoma gia na ftasei ta standards enos kratous ypopsifiou gia entaksei sto NATO. Kai auto den einai mia diapistosi pou eprepe na tin kanei o k. Bush erxomenos stin Alvania, einai kati pou oloi mas gnorizame prin tin afiksi tou k. Bush stin Alvania. Edo tha prepei na anagnorisoume to protevon vio tou alvanikou kratous, omos to gegonos einai oti tha prepei na ginoun polla sovara vimata gia tin entaksi tis Alvanias sto NATO.
As elpisoume na ginei pragmatikotita gia to kalo olon mas.