US Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim wrote a sort of open letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama and Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha, reminding them that the US wants a partner in Albania “not a problem “.
In one of her most measured comments, she called on “leaders to reflect and take courageous action.” She added that they should “show who you are and what you think this country deserves.”
Regarding the recent general election, Kim called them “good but not perfect”. She chosen not to mention the fact that further electoral reforms are needed, as is attention to party funding, data security, media freedom and the depoliticization of the administration. He also did not mention recommendations to investigate and prevent vote buying, and how the government has militarized state resources to aid them in their campaign.
On the subject of justice reform, she said, “five years after the adoption of the laws, the justice reform is yielding concrete results which will help to end impunity”.
She also noted achievements such as the organization of “the largest US-led military exercise in the Balkans since World War II”, the signing of an economic memorandum of understanding, the Skavica hydroelectric power station, the routing of liquid natural gas through Vlora, Albania’s path to EU membership and the “success” of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this, the ambassador noted that they should not only look back with satisfaction, but rather move forward with hope and determination “to make even more progress in democracy, defense and business”.
As for the future, she noted that on January 1, 2022, Albania will assume the “most important role ever played on the world stage, serving on the UN Security Council alongside the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France.
She also spoke of the hope that more US investment will come to the country. However, “much will depend on the demands of the Albanian people and the choices of the Albanian leadership.”
The most recent state department report on investment and business in Albania found it to be a “difficult place to do business”, due to “corruption, especially in the judiciary, a lack of transparency in public procurement and poor performance of contracts ”.
Overall, US investors see corruption and the perpetuation of informal business practices as a barrier. In fact, several US investors have faced trade disputes in the country, some of which have been referred to international arbitration.
Kim faced controversy last week, when she alluded to a famous quote from former dictator Enver Hoxha and used it against the Albanian opposition.
Last week, after a meeting at PD headquarters with Basha, Kim told reporters the opposition leader is responsible for ensuring the party enters parliament “accompanied by members. [of parliament] who are worthy of representing Albania.
She had asked Basha to remove Sali Berisha from the parliamentary group ahead of the parliament meeting in September. Berisha was elected by voters in the general election.
“It would be a historic irony but also a tragedy for this country, not just for the party, if the party ate weed for the self-interest of one man,” Kim said, after praising the role of PD in the fall of the communist regime. in Albania in the early 1990s.
The ‘weed-eating’ metaphor reflects a statement made by former Albanian Communist dictator Enver Hoxha in 1961, at a time when the Soviet Union was cutting economic aid to its regime and Albania was falling into isolation. .
For decades under the Communist dictatorship, the declaration was used as a propaganda tool to express the blind faith of the Albanians in the dictatorship and their loyalty to its principles, but after the fall of the regime it was used to ridicule the communist system and as a warning against self-destruction.