Bush Hailed as Hero in Albania

Staunch allies offered warm welcome after string of protests
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2007 5:13 AM CDT
U.S. President George Bush greets crowds of Albanians in Fushe Kruje, Albania, Sunday, June 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush, dogged by protesters through his tour of Europe, received a hero's welcome in Albania, where he touched down for just seven hours yesterday. The Albanian premier, a staunch ally on the war in Iraq, called Bush the "greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times." 

Crowds cheered and kissed the first US president to visit the country, who used the opportunity to reiterate his support for independence for Kosovo. Albania hopes the visit will help boost its campaign for admission to NATO and the EU. Bush met some Albanian soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan; about 120 Albanian troops are currently in Iraq, according to the BBC.