Serbian, Albanian PMs clash on Kosovo on historic visit
BELGRADE - Agence France-Presse
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (R) and his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama attend a news conference after their meeting in Belgrade November 10, 2014. REUTERS PhotoSerbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic openly clashed with his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama over Kosovo during a fence-building visit Nov. 10, the first to Belgrade in 68 years by an Albanian leader.
Vucic visibly got angry at a press conference after Rama called on Serbia to recognise the "irreversible reality" of Kosovo's independence.
Belgrade refuses to recognise the breakaway former Serbian province populated mostly by Albanians, which formally declared its independence in 2008.
"I had not expected a provocation from Mr Rama, that he would talk about Kosovo, because I don't know what he has to do with Kosovo," a visibly upset Vucic said.
"I have to reply to him because I will not allow anybody to humiliate Serbia in Belgrade. Kosovo is part of Serbia under the constitution and it has nothing to do with Albania nor will it ever have," Vucic said, obviously trying to keep his anger under control.
Having repeated that "it is my job to say that nobody will humiliate Serbia", Vucic underlined that Kosovo was not on the agenda of the talks, nor was it discussed during the leaders' one-to-one meeting before the press conference.
Rama had told reporters that the two sides had different positions over Kosovo "but there is only one reality -- independent Kosovo is recognised by 108 states in the world."
"This is a reality that is irreversible and this reality should be respected," Rama said.
"The independence of Kosovo made the Balkans more stable and peaceful," he added, also calling for the rights of the 60,000-strong ethnic Albanian minority in southern Serbia's Presevo valley to be respected.
Following Vucic's fierce reaction, Rama denied his comments were a provocation "because Kosovo is a reality and the sooner we recognise it the faster we can move on."
Relations between Serbia and Albania have been tense over Kosovo and the ethnic Albanian minority living in southern Serbia.