US Diplomat Pleads For End to Albania Crisis

Balkan Insight
Publication date: 
May 15 2017

Starting a visit to Tirana, America's Hoyt Brian Yee said it was important for all political parties in Albania to participate in the June 18 elections 

On a visit to Albania, Deputy Assistant US Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Yee asked all Albanian parties to participate in the June 18 elections in order to give all citizens the right to be represented.

In an interview for "Jeta ne Kosove" BIRN TV program, Yee said that he was coming to listen to all the parties and understand what was happening and share advice on how to move forward.

"I'm there not to tell people what to do or to impose an American solution or my solution but to hear from all sides. If I have any suggestions that I think might help, I will certainly share them," he said.

However, Yee said his visit to Tirana on Monday to discuss the crisis there was an important reminder that Washington cares about the country.

"What I can bring from Washington is a fresh point of view, a message that Washington, the US government, cares enough to make the trip, to meet with all the parties and hear them out and offer any advice, if we have any different advice," he said.

He conceded the right of every party to decide whether or not to take part in elections, but added that in countries in transition like Albania, it was important not to leave people disenfranchised.

Yee said that although elections without the participation of the opposition "can legally and credibly take place", this would not be the ideal situation for Albania.

"Our view though is that countries like Albania, like any country in Balkans, should have the participation of all parties; all efforts will be made to have the participation of all parties," he said.

On Monday, he started the day by meeting the ruling Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister, Edi Rama, then the speaker of parliament and President Ilir Meta as well the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha.

The crisis in Albania started in February when the opposition started a boycott of parliament and called on Rama to step down and allow a technical government to handle a new election.

Ater Rama refused to step down, the opposition refused to register for the June 18 election.

The Coalition of Domestic Observers, CDO, on Monday invited the two main parties to seize the momentum from the US visit and resolve the crisis for the sake of a normal election process.

"Integrity and the strong assistance shown by the US is the best opportunity to achieve an accord based on principles that help democracy," the statement said.

"This is a last major chance for consensus in order not to let self-destruction of Albanian democracy [take place]," it added.

Date: 15/05/2017