Albanian Foreign Minister Visits Croatia

By 8 October 2019

ZAGREB, October 8, 2019 - The Albanian government cannot wait to cooperate with Kosovo's new government, acting Albanian Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj said in Zagreb on Monday given that Albin Kurti's Vetevendosje movement looks like the winner of Kosovo's Sunday election.

Cakaj was on an official visit to Croatia and met Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman. After the talks with Grlić Radman, he said the Kosovo polls were an example of how to behave in an election.

Asked to comment on the results, which show that the likeliest election winner is Kurti, who used to be an ardent advocate of Kosovo-Albania integration, Cakaj said Albania's government could not wait to cooperate with Kosovo's new government. The cooperation between the two states will only deepen, he added.

Preliminary election results, after 95.88% of the ballots have been counted, show that the Vetevendosje movement is most likely the winner with 25.76% of the vote, followed by the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo with 25.06%.

Albania immensely appreciates Croatia's support for opening Albania's EU accession negotiations this month, Cakaj said, adding that the support was both technical and political.

Croatia's advice was very helpful to our groups which worked on projects for opening the negotiations, and politically, Croatia not only advocates EU enlargement to Western Balkan countries but is also one of the biggest supporters of Albania's EU membership, Cakaj said.

He was hopeful that Albania would formally begin negotiations during Croatia's EU presidency in the first half of 2020, and welcomed an enlargement summit due in Zagreb in May.

Grlić Radman and Cakaj said energy and transport were areas in which the "traditionally good" cooperation could be improved. Cakaj underlined the need to establish direct flights.

Grlić Radman said Croatia-Albania relations were additionally reinforced by a strategic partnership statement signed this year by prime ministers Andrej Plenković and Edi Rama.

He added that Croatia would insist during its presidency that the enlargement policy remain high on the EU's agenda.

He said a delegation of three Albanian ministries would visit Croatia next week to work with Croatian colleagues on two EU accession chapters: Energy; Justice, Freedom and Security; and Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.

Earlier in the day, Cakaj met with Prime Minister Plenković whom he informed about Albania's compliance with the criteria for opening EU entry talks, the government said in a press release. They talked about the situation in the region and Sunday's Kosovo election.

More news about relations between Croatia and Albania can be found in the Politics section.