George W. Bush will be the first US President to visit the Muslim majority Pro-US Albania.
The capital Tirana is dressed up in Red, White and Blue!
Albanian officials say this is the peak of US-Albanian relations.
The Southeast European Times reported on this historic event:
Albania is preparing for the upcoming visit by US President George W. Bush, scheduled for Sunday (June 10th). Lawmakers have approved legislation to boost cooperation and security, leading up to the visit.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s administration is spending approximately 1m euros to refurbish government buildings, including the Foreign Ministry and other institutions that Bush will visit. Tirana is being decorated with Albanian and US flags to mark the occasion.
Bush will be the first US president to visit Albania, a trip hailed by local leaders as a historic milestone.
“Since Albania’s independence, at the most critical moments of national liberty for Albanians, the United States has played the role of helping to save rights and freedom,” Berisha said.
According to President Alfred Moisiu, the visit carries great symbolism. A superpower, he said, is building reciprocal respect and collaboration with a small country.
“This is the peak of Albanian-US relations,” said Lajlja Pernaska, a member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. “I think this visit will have a good impact on the development of Albania and on EU and NATO integration.”
Her colleague in Parliament, former Foreign Minister Kastriot Islami, said Bush would be bringing “messages regarding Albania’s membership in NATO”.
“The United States, through the Adriatic Charter — a model in which Washington has played a major role — has shown that it supports Albania’s membership in NATO. The visit also carries a message for the Albanian nation, demonstrating that the country is moving towards democracy,” Islami added.
Ahead of the trip, Bush had a message for Albania.
“I want to make sure the Albanian people understand that America knows that you exist and that you’re making difficult choices to cement your free society,” Bush said. “I’m coming as a lover of liberty to a land where people are realising the benefits of liberty.”
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Workers stick U.S. flags to the side of the International Culture Centre, a pyramid-like structure built as a museum for the late communist dictator Enver Hoxha, in Tirana June 7, 2007. U.S. President George W. Bush is scheduled to visit Tirana on June 10 as part of a regional tour. (REUTERS/Arben Celi)
Posters welcoming U.S. President George W. Bush to Albania are seen in front of a statue of a guerrilla fighter in Pristina, capital of Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province, June 9, 2007. (REUTERS/Hazir Reka)
Interesting… Even The New York Times is noticing the changing climate in Europe including the pro-American elected leaders from France and Germany.