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Albania, Macedonia ties on the brink of crisis
TIRANA, Jan. 16 – Albania and Macedonia were on the brink of a serious crisis this week due to Skopje’s decision to issue visas to Albanians only at its embassy in Tirana. While Skopje was saying the visa issue would be ultimately decided at the premiers’ meeting next month, Tirana was silent until Wednesday, in a sign of pressure. Then, Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s spokeswoman came out to say that Macedonian Premier Nicola Gruevski was officially invited and welcome to Tirana and the date would be set in diplomatic talks, probably in the next four months.

Both countries are hoping to receive NATO membership at its April summit in Bucharest. Official Tirana was late to react to the Skopje decision on the visa. It was first the local media and the political parties in both countries (ethnic Albanians in Macedonia) that produced an outcry, saying it was unfair for Skopje to require such a measure exclusively to Albanians, adding past good relations had helped to keep a stable security and economic situation in the Balkan region.

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European Integration à la Macédoine
The government of FYROM announced that it had decided to change the visa regime for Albanians starting from January of this year. The changes proposed amount to no less than a regime that in many respects resembles the regime already enforced by European Union...
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Defence Minister takes Slovak blessing to NATO membership
TIRANA, Jan. 16 – Albanian Defence Minister Fatmir Mediu held a visit to Bratislava, Slovakia where he discussed the country’s membership into NATO and also the Kosova status process, his office reported Wednesday.
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Prosecution continues probe of Kosova highway
TIRANA, Jan. 13 - Albania’s Prosecutor-General Ina Rama is continuing the investigation of alleged irregularities in the Rreshen-Kalimash highway, which remains a public controversy as it is considered the country’s largest public works project in decades.
Business and Economy
Government’s lack of a plan of action for the energy sector criticized by KESH donors
TIRANA, Jan. 15 - In a letter addressed to Genc Ruli, Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy, the country directors of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the German KfW and Switzerland expressed concern over the absence of a concrete plan of action for the energy sector from the Albanian government, according to Shqip newspaper.
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Turkish steel company ordered to stop operations after deadly blast at Albanian plant
TIRANA, Jan. 16 - A Turkish-owned steel plant in Albania was ordered to halt operations after an explosion at a scrap metal factory killed a worker and left six others critically injured, labor authorities said Wednesday.
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