Albanian President Ilir Meta and his visiting counterpart of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski agreed here on Saturday that European Union (EU) integration is the only alternative for the region.
The remarks came as Meta held talks with Pendarovski at the Palace of Brigades in Tirana.
The two presidents held a joint press conference after the meeting with their delegations.
“The lack of consensus on the start of accession talks with the EU for both our two countries on Oct. 18 should not discourage us. On the contrary, it should promote the continuation of reforms with tangible results for the citizens of our countries,” Meta said.
The visit of Pendarovski to Albania will give a new dimension to the relations between the two countries, Meta underlined.
According to Meta, Pendarovki’s election as president of North Macedonia has given another dimension to the interethnic relations in North Macedonia, contributing to the strengthening of coexistence and trust there, as well as to the further strengthening of the neighborly relations between the two countries.
Meta expressed Albania’s support for the full membership of North Macedonia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and called it an “added value for the Alliance and the entire region that needs to further strengthen its security parameters.”
Meta assured Pendarovski about his dedication to increase efforts for the integration of the North Macedonian minority into the country, saying that Albania will make all the necessary commitments to further maintain and strengthen their national and cultural identity.
He said he is willing to work with Pendarovski to further promote bilateral relationship to benefit both peoples.
“We discussed the further revival of bilateral relations in every aspect, in particular the improvement of interconnection between the two countries in terms of infrastructure, such as the railways, but also in the field of energy and in many other areas,” Meta said.
Meta called on both countries to intensify relations between young people, so to deliver a positive message, not only for the coexistence and cooperation of young people in the region, but also to ensure their future in their own country, thus to discourage emigration in developed countries.
In his remarks, Pendarovski thanked Meta for his invitation to visit Albania.
“We have a lot in common, a common history, geography and the common Euro-Atlantic future,” Pendarovski said.
Pendarovski expressed appreciation that Albania supports North Macedonia’s membership to NATO.
Moreover, Pendarovski proposed the establishment of a friendship group between the two countries consisting of intellectuals, business representatives and members of the youth communities, which would meet on both countries and to come up with proposals on how to improve the relations between the two countries.
Pendarovski is paying his first state visit to Albania at the invitation of Meta since he took office in May this year.