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Bush Gets Warm Reception in Albania

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Bush Gets Warm Reception in Albania

World

Bush Gets Warm Reception in Albania

Bush Gets Warm Reception in Albania

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/10919634/10919635" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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President Bush in Tirana

President Bush inspects the honor guard during an arrival ceremony at the Palace of Brigades in Tirana, Albania, June 10, 2007. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Bush received a hero's welcome Sunday when he arrived in the Albanian capital of Tirana, a marked contrast from the protests that have greeted the president at other stops during his European tour. Mr. Bush is the first U.S. president to visit the country, where the U.S. is extremely popular.

The Albanian capital began sprucing up weeks ago in anticipation of the president's arrival. Now, a huge picture of President Bush, flanked by the American and Albanian flags, is positioned over the entrance of a pyramid-style building in the center of Tirana, a building that was commissioned as a monument to the former Communist dictator, Enver Hoxha.

One example of the intense interest in the visit is that Albanian Public Television is running eight half-hour programs on the U.S.-Albania relationship. The correspondent is Lutfi Dervishi, who says that Albanians remember that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson stood up against the Europeans at the end of World War I and helped win independence for Albania as a nation.

"You know, the U.S. is kind of a dream for Albanians," Dervishi says.

Albania has done much to show its gratitude. It was the only country that agreed to a U.S. request to give asylum to detainees released from Guantanamo. Albania also has troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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