Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj and the First Lady are received in a special audience by the Holy Father, Pope Francis

The President of the Republic, H.E. Mr. Bajram Begaj visited the Holy See in the Vatican today, and along with the First Lady, Armanda Begaj, he was received in a special audience by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

President Begaj thanked the Holy Father for the special audience and while referring to the centuries-old historical relations between Albanians and the Holy See, expressed his deep gratitude about everything the Vatican State has done to support the Albanian people, particularly from the democratic changes in the 90’s and onwards.

The Head of State expressed his appreciation of the visits of Pope Vojtila in 1993 and Pope Francis in 2014, as two strong expressions of the Holy See’s support of the Albanian people, their history and sacrifices for freedom, independence and dignity.

Referring to the visit of Pope Francis to Albania, President Begaj affirmed that the Pope’s appreciation of interfaith coexistence and harmony in Albania makes all Albanians proud. President Begaj assured Pope Francis that Albanians feel appreciated and are grateful for the Holy See’s and Pope Francis’ decisions on the sanctification of Mother Teresa, the beatification of 38 martyrs of the Albanian Catholic Church, the appointment of Father Ernest Troshani as an Honorary Cardinal of the Vatican, and the recent appointment of Monsignor Arjan Dodaj, as Archbishop of the Albanian Tirana-Durrës metropolitan archbishopric.

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During the meeting with the Holy Father, the President of the Republic, also, paid particular attention to Kosova. Affirming the very good canonical relations between the Holy See and the Catholic community of Kosova, President Begaj highlighted the fact that “ever since the first day of the Declaration of Independence, Kosova has made extraordinary progress in strengthening the rule of law and democracy”.

During the audience, the talks also focused on the developments in the Western Balkan region, as well as the impact of the Russian aggression in Ukraine on the region.

Concluding, President Begaj invited the Holy Father to visit Albania, assuring him that he would always be more than welcome by the Albanian people.