Albanian President on Two-Day Visit to Macedonia

Albanian President Bamir Topi on Wednesday kicks off his two-day official visit to neighboring Macedonia.

Topi is expected to meet his Macedonian counterpart, Georgi Ivanov, Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. They are set to discuss bilateral issues as well as regional topics.

On Thursday, the Albanian head of state will deliver a speech in the Macedonian parliament. He is also set to attend a Macedonian-Albanian Business Forum aimed at intensifying bilateral economic relations.

During his stay, Topi is scheduled to meet the heads of Macedonia’s top political parties.

The Albanian leader is to visit the western Macedonian town of Debar, where he is to be declared an honorary resident of the town.

Macedonia and Albanian have no open issues and the two countries have recently intensified political cooperation largely due their common goal of joining NATO and EU.

While Macedonia is formally ahead of Albania in its effort to enter the EU, Albania became a NATO member in 2008, something that Macedonia hopes to achieve once it solves its bilateral name dispute with Greece.

Macedonia’s large ethnic Albanian population is seen as one of the main potential areas for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the future.

However, Tirana and Skopje are still not directly linked by highway nor by railway, developments which are seen as main prerequisites for better economic ties.

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