It was a historic moment for Albania as George Bush became the first US President to visit the once closed communist state. The country is now fervently pro-American and keen to forge even closer ties. His meetings include talks with both President Alfred Moisiu and Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Bush was expected to reassure the Albanian leadership that its’ Nato aspirations are close to fulfillment.
It is thought he will also re-affirm Washington’s support for the independence of Kosovo, a Serbian province dominated by ethnic Albanians.
Not only are no large protests planned but Bush will get Albania’s highest medal, a street named after him and his picture on commemorative stamps.
Ahead of his arrival Bush said the UN should decide on Kosovo’s independence as soon as possible.
In stark contrast Russian President Vladimir Putin has been stressing his support for the Serbian position in a meeting with the country’s prime minister in St Petersburg.
The Kosovo question is just one of a number of divisive issues between Washington and Moscow that have been highlighted during Bush’s European journey.