Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama concluded an hour-long speech at a private rally on Sunday afternoon in north-central Athens with the Greek phrase “ZIto ee ELLA-dha, ζήτω η Ελλάδα” (“Long live Greece”).

The Albanian PM also referred to Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying “we love him and that our people have lived harmoniously for so many years.”

Conversely, jailed Himare mayor-elect Fredi Beleri charged from his prison cell in Albania that Rama “wants to provoke Greece, demonstrate his strength within Albania, and break the morale of the locals in the area. He won’t succeed. No one can play with the pride and dignity of the Greek people.”

Rama responded earlier that “I did not come to provoke; I came to meet my people.”

Albanian PM Rama received a warm welcome and applause from supporters at the Galatsi Christmas Theater, who waved Albanian flags and sang patriotic anthems.

Rama was accompanied by his favorite rapper, Albanian celebrity Noizy, who opened the event.

According to reports by MEGA, Rama’s delegation consisted of 150 people, including members of the ministerial council, MPs and about 50 journalists.

A heavy police presence, numbering up to 1,000 officers, helicopters, K-9 units and drones patrolled the venue during the event.

The Mitsotakis government has gone out of its way to emphasize that Rama’s visit to Athens is strictly private, with PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis set to travel to Ankara on Monday for an official visit.

The Greek prime minister had characterized the Rama’s visit as “unnecessary” and unattached to Greece’s domestic affairs or the upcoming European Parliament elections. In a recent television interview, Mitsotakis noted that although there is no issue of preventing a foreign official from organizing and attending a private event on Greek territory, “the timing of the visit is inappropriate”, as it falls on the anniversary of Beleri’s arrest.