Prepared by: Ridona Berisha
The tour of the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, in the Western Balkans, has been met with various reactions, as well as with disinformation regarding his given statements. One prominent disinformation was about his relations with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, who refused to meet him in Prishtina after Rama had canceled the joint meeting of the two governments a week earlier.
The Prime Minister of Albania did not comment on the refusal of a meeting in Skopje by Albin Kurti, as was reported, but he did comment on the refusal of the meeting by the mayor of Tetovo, Bilall Kasami, who also declined to meet Rama.
On June 6, 2023, BotaPress published an article with the title, “Rama ironic from Skopje: Kurti refused me, I did not ask for a meeting.”
The content of the article presented a quote from Prime Minister Rama’s statement for the media in Skopje, where he commented on the refusal he got from the mayor of Tetovo, but there is no mention anywhere of the meeting with Kurti.
“He refused to meet with me? Well, I didn’t ask for a meeting. He refused beforehand, thinking that I might request a meeting. This is a provocative refusal. The mayor of Tetovo is a good lad. I wouldn’t remove him from his position in the Municipality for the NATO Summit,” said Edi Rama.
Edi Rama shared his meeting agenda on the morning of June 6th. As for the meeting with Albin Kurti, it was said that it is awaiting confirmation.
Prime Minister Kurti had conditioned the meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama on holding a joint meeting of the two governments first.
“I am ready to meet with Prime Minister Edi Rama within the framework of the joint meeting of the two governments, not without that meeting,” emphasized Kurti in a press conference.
On the other hand, before departing for Prishtina, Rama refused to comment on Kurti’s condition despite being asked by journalists. “Regarding the trip to Pristina tomorrow and the entire tour, I will speak when it’s time to speak, which is tomorrow in Prishtina,” Rama had stated.
Nevertheless, Rama was welcomed by President Vjosa Osmani, with whom he discussed the NATO Summit and the Berlin Process Summit, among other things.
Additionally, Rama was also welcomed by The President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca. Among others, The President of the Assembly stated that, “We do not have state-level issues with Albania. It seems to me that more problems have come from the Albanian side. The Albanian government had a problem with the government of Kosovo because without any valid reason, in my opinion, they canceled a long-awaited meeting between the two governments, a meeting that was eagerly anticipated by the citizens of Kosovo.”
The purpose of the visit was within the preparations for the upcoming Berlin Process Summit, scheduled to take place in Tirana on October 16th. The Berlin Process was initiated on August 28, 2014, by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the aim of accelerating the integration of Western Balkan countries towards the European Union.
*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation. Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: exposing malign influences through watchdog journalism.