Prime Minister Edi Rama is drawing harsh criticism for Albania’s vote in favour of the UN resolution against President Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Albania’s support for the resolution has been widely disapproved by the general public, and condemned by the opposition parties.
On Thursday, during an appearance in Klan TV’s Opinion show, opposition leader Lulzim Basha called Albania’s vote “a grave mistake”, stating that it was a departure from past tradition of voting in line with the US positions on international issues.
He claimed that Mr. Rama decision to vote against the US position “runs against Albania’s interest”, adding that “Albanians’ national interests have always been supported and advanced by the US, which are and will remain Albania’s most important strategic partner.”
Mr. Basha, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs when Albania joined NATO in 2009, affirmed that without the American commitment and support Albania wouldn’t have joined NATO.
“It is also my deep conviction that without the USA, Kosova would not be free and independent today,” said Mr. Basha.
LIBRA’s leader Ben Blushi was also very critical, calling Albania’s vote a service Mr. Rama paid to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Neither a strategic nor a principled choice, the vote against the US benefits Turkey rather than Albania, and this makes it more unjust and ugly,” said Mr. Blushi.
Indeed, many analysts and politicians believe that the main reason for Albania’s vote against the Us position is Prime Minister Rama’s personal relationship to President Erdogan, who is Mr. Rama’s main foreign ally and a close friend.
This fact did not escape Mr. Basha who, during his talk show appearance, recalled that the UN vote was the second time that Rama’s government had voted in favor of a Turkish proposed resolution against President Trump decision.
On December 13th, Albania participated in the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called by President Erdogan in Istanbul to condemn President’s Trump decision on Jerusalem. At the end of the meeting, Albania joined all other participants voting in favour of a Turkish resolution, which declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine and denounced the decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.
Albania’s former Ambassador to the UN, Agim Nesho, a noted critic of government’s foreign policy, voiced the same opinion during an interview for Report TV: “You believe Turkey did not advise them [Albanian government] on the vote? Did Turkey impose the vote? I’m afraid, there was no need for any forcing, it was done willingly.”
Commenting on government’s claim that the vote was conditioned by the position taken by the EU, Mr. Basha stated that there has been no conditioning by the EU on Albania’s vote. In fact EU dos not have a common foreign policy, and several EU members, including Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, abstained during the Thursday’s UN vote.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kastriot Islami, in a long comment on Syri.net, analyzed pas Albania’s votes in the UN, claiming that in all cases when there have been opposing position between the US and the EU, Albania has either voted in favor of the American position (when the EU countries did not have a unified stand) or has abstained (in cases when the EU had a unified position against the US).
Albania’s vote was also criticized by country’s President Ilir Meta, who revealed that he was neither consulted nor warned about the vote, implying that the vote was a personal decision by Prime Minister Rama. Two members of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirmed that their committee was not consulted or informed on the vote.
Former Minister of Interior Dritan Demiraj, who also served in several US led mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, called Albania’s choice a shameful vote against the “values of freedom, and democracy”. In a Facebook post he was critical of the American Embassy in Tirana stating that Albanian vote was also “a failure of the American diplomatic mission in Tirana.”