Bush Greeted Warmly in Albania

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Nearing the end of his eight-day European trip, President Bush made a stop in Albania Sunday. Bush, who is the first U.S. president to visit the former Communist country, was greeted by wildly enthusiastic crowds.

Bush met with the Albanian prime minister, discussing Kosovo and other topics. He also pledged continued U.S. support for this formerly Communist country, which is one of the poorest nations in Europe.

Albania is emerging from decades of rule by an oppressive dictator after World War II, and from a period of domination by the Soviets. It held its first-ever democratic election for president in 1992.

Bush and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha discussed independence for neighboring Kosovo, where the population is mostly ethnic Albanian. Kosovo is technically still part of Serbia, and has lived under U.N. administration since NATO forces intervened in 1999 to stop Serbian repression.

Bush also made the visit to thank Albania for sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Prime Minister Berisha said the United States could continue to count on whatever modest contribution his country can make in the fight against international terrorism.

Bush's European visit ends Monday in Bulgaria.



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