Albanian PM's Belgrade Visit Delayed After Soccer Brawl

Albanian Premier Edi Rama postponed his visit to Serbia’s capital by two weeks after an Oct. 14 soccer match between the two countries ended in a brawl.

Serb Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Rama will meet on Nov. 10 in Belgrade to try to improve relations that have been strained since the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, a breakaway Serb province populated by a majority of ethnic Albanians.

“It’s time to turn a new page in political and economic relations between Serbia and Albania,” the Serb government said in an e-mail.

Serbia, the largest ex-Yugoslav republic that wants to join the European Union at the end of this decade, is under pressure to work with Kosovo, whose declaration of independence in 2008 was recognized by a majority of EU states and rejected by Russia, which claims historical ties to the Balkan country.

Rama was due to visit Belgrade on Oct. 22, a week after a qualifying game for the European Championship between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade was abandoned after a remote-controlled aircraft buzzed the field carrying a flag with the map of Greater Albania.

Authorities on both sides disagree who triggered the incident.

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