Greek foreign minister planning autumn visit to Albania

Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is due to visit Albania this fall, it emerged on Monday after the country’s prime minister-designate, Edi Rama, met the PASOK leader and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens during an unofficial visit.

It was a first opportunity for Rama to meet Greek officials, and vice versa, since the leader of the Socialist Party led a left-wing coalition to victory in June elections. Rama is due to start his premiership on September 9, when the Albanian parliament reopens.

Athens is particularly keen to cultivate its relationship with Rama as he played a key role in nixing a 2009 agreement between Greece and Albania for the creation of an exclusive economic zone, allowing gas and oil exploration to progress.

A new energy-related link between the two countries was created last month when the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was picked to carry Azeri natural gas to Western Europe. The pipeline will pass through Greece and Albania.