Interventionist US Ambassador in Tirana beneath stress

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“I can guarantee you that the President of the US Joe Biden, the Secretary of the US Tony Blinken and I all have full confidence in Ambassador Yuri Kim” declared Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried in Tirana in a well-prepared interview with the native Voice of America correspondent. Defending fellow diplomats is customary follow in US diplomacy even within the instances the place such a public protection is likely to be unjustified.

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Nonetheless, that is additionally typically an indication of hassle.

Ambassador Kim was accused of intervening with the Albanian judiciary with the intention to press for a court docket ruling in opposition to the principle opposition Democratic Get together (DP): she wished to favor a splinter group of the get together which pretended to be the get together management. Kim has not directly admitted her intervention by means of a tweet. The ambassador has repeatedly tussled with opposition chief Berisha and has proven repeated assist for the present Rama authorities regardless of Division of State stories expressing sturdy criticism of high-level official corruption and dangerous governance.

Professor Ilir Kalemaj of the New York College department in Tirana factors at a current improve of anti-Americanism on this extremely pro-American nation: “It has one thing to do with the ambassador’s bravado.”

“Even supposing she is an emblem of her nation Ms. Kim is caustic in her language, nearer to the federal government and extra supportive of (Prime Minister) Rama” he informed the native CNN affiliate A2 TV final week.

Certainly, an October 2021 survey commissioned by Euronews Albania October discovered that solely 32.6% of the respondents would facet with the US in an imaginary battle with the EU; the latter’s assist reached 56.9%. Earlier the assist figures would have reversed locations.

Curiously the opposition Democratic Get together has been since its founding three many years in the past an Atlanticist stalwart. Albania entered NATO’s Partnership for Peace within the Nineties beneath DP-led governments and achieved membership within the Alliance in 2009. The DP has criticized authorities lobbying efforts in Washington DC which concentrate on securing assist for the ruling get together. Present US sanctions in opposition to Mr. Berisha, introduced in 2021, have been seen as a part of this partisan scheme.

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