Kategori
Uncategorized

The Ukraine and Balkan Conflict

Basha, deputeti Çollaku dhe ambasadori Rus në Tiranë.
Author’s photo

Martin HenzeDemocracy: the government of the people by the people for the people.

Mr. Henze, you are one of the best foreign experts on the Balkans and a good friend of the Albanian nation. The Ukraine conflict and the political conflicts in Albania are topics that are currently occupying us. Russia has returned to geopolitics?

No, Russia had not left geopolitics, only for a short time between 1990-1992, since 2000, since Putin’s presidency, a cold war has basically taken place again, only the public and a part of politics did not want to admit it or overlooked it. It was also partly because the Russians proceeded in hybrid formats, Open Balkans is such a hybrid format.

Ultimately, arguments take place in spheres of influence, areas of interest and traditional claims. As long as this is the case, I see little consensus between the West and Russia; it is a cold war, not a hot war.

We don’t see a real threat of war at the moment, but what we do see is Russia increasing the threat level in order to optimise its negotiating position. The problem for Moscow is that it runs the risk of believing its own propaganda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear after his talks with Russia’s chief diplomat Sergei Lavrov that it was up to Russia whether to proceed with diplomacy or unpleasant consequences. Does the Normandy format mean a cautious rapprochement or a sticking to familiar positions?

After all that has become known, I assume that neither side is interested in a war. Everyone knows that wars are only fought if they can be won.This war is unwinnable for Russia and also for Ukraine and also for the West.

The well-known positions of both the Russian side and the Americans have been exchanged once again – without much rapprochement. The fact that the meeting ended earlier than expected illustrates the point that the common ground for a compromise is not prepared at the moment. 

Blinken ultimately delivered the double message that he had also emphasised yesterday in Berlin. Firstly, Russia would have to reckon with terrible consequences in the event of military aggression against Ukraine. Secondly, there is a united front of the West. Lavrov reiterated the Russian position with the security guarantees to which he wants a response from the West. These are positions of the last days and weeks. I can see little movement. The paper now presented by NATO brings movement into the dispute, Russia should now also stop playing games, after all it is about the common future.

How did you experience Lavrov and Blinken at their separate press conferences on Friday? What can you read between the lines?

This has been going on for several weeks and months. As soon as Russian and American government representatives meet, there is no longer a joint press conference. This illustrates the state of US-Russian relations. The presidents of both countries consider the status quo in Europe to be fragile.

But they do not see themselves as mutual partners in shaping Europe. This applies in the narrowest sense to Ukraine. One could draw the bow even further to other conflicts where American and Russian policies diametrically clash. That is Syria, Libya, Mali and with the Chinese in Asia, the best example being the unresolved conflicts in North Korea and Taiwan. These differences are also reflected in the tone and outward form.

And in the Balkans?

Well, this region has been sadly neglected by the US counterparts, the US diplomats appointed seem to be completely out of their depth and the main problem is that they do not seem to understand the culture of the Balkans, the US counterparts unfortunately have very poor advisors, this has to change, but more on that later.

Representatives of Ukraine and the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin accuse Germany of betrayal of Ukraine and failure to provide assistance, the statements of the navy chief Schönbach have caused irritation and his resignation – what do you think?

Russia had annexed Crimea in 2014 in an internationally unrecognised move and also supports separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia has currently massed around 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The government in Moscow rejects the accusation of a planned invasion and, for its part, demands a guarantee from Nato not to admit Ukraine into the alliance.For its part, the West has rejected this, saying that an invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops would have serious political and economic consequences.

Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, one of the best and brightest minds in our military leadership based in Kiel, I know him well, had now last Friday during a visit to India described the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops feared by Western states as “nonsense”. What Russia’s President Vladimir Putin really wants is “respect at eye level”, said the It’s easy to give him the respect he wants – and probably deserves.” Schönbach had also said on Friday that the Crimean peninsula was lost to Ukraine: “The Crimean peninsula is gone, it will never come back, that’s a fact.” He is absolutely right about Crimea. It is certainly naïve to think that Crimea will revert to Ukraine without a major world war. Crimea has been Russian since Catherine the Great, incidentally Catherine came from Schleswig-Holstein, and was only assigned to Ukraine through the turmoil of the of the 1990s. The West should not allow itself to be dragged into such an adventure by the Ukrainians, that cannot be in our interest. Schönbach said this openly in his typical navy manner, and he was right to do so. We should deal with the realities and not with visions, the Lange is serious.

Schönbach wanted to say nothing else. Of course, he also sees that the Russians are proceeding in violation of international law. The conflict is frozen, similar to the division of Germany between 1949-1989, and it is now a matter of waiting and seeing.

The admiral has been misunderstood in this respect, but that was also due to his abbreviated statement. That he calls the feared invasion of the Russians nonsense is exactly how I see it. The problem at the moment, however, and here he unfortunately also argued in a somewhat simplistic manner, is that the West and the East are escalating the conflict through mutual provocation and that at some point there will certainly no longer be a de-escalating reaction. This is precisely what diplomacy must prevent now; no one wants a war, I hope not even some of the generals in Moscow or Kiev.The Russians must also be able to keep a straight face. I think NATO will make an offer to Russia in the coming days, the focus will be on firm guarantees for disarmament, that creates stability. However, there will be no membership in NATO and no going back to 2007.

Do you see Ukraine becoming a member of NATO?

No, Ukraine does not meet the criteria for membership in NATO, Russia knows that too. For Ukraine, the status of Sweden or Finland or Switzerland should be a model that creates security for Ukraine, for NATO and also for Russia. The West should now also say this very clearly in the negotiation talks. I think that everyone could live with such a modus vivendi.

Ukraine is demanding support from Germany and weapons from Germany. Why does Germany refuse?

For one thing, Germany has been supporting Ukraine for years; we have provided more than €1.2 billion to the Ukrainian Republic and have actively supported the negotiations with Russia.What is astonishing about Ukraine’s demand is that it is asking Germany for weapons. 

Kiev has not demanded weapons from France. Why not? Why doesn’t Ukraine demand weapons from Spain or France?

The impression is that Kiev is deliberately and intentionally pillorying Germany. Ukraine is trying to divide Nato / the EU. Who benefits from this? Putin. The behaviour of the Ukrainian ambassador and the Ukrainian government is unacceptable.

Admiral Schönbach speaks of respect, which Putin is also entitled to, how do you see it?

Putin is the executive representative of a military superpower and an economic middle power, Russia has ¾ of the gross national product of Italy. Negotiations between the military blocs can only take place in mutual respect, which is also how our Admiral Schönbach should be understood.It goes without saying that Russia must also be shown respect.Allow me to make a supplementary remark.

Are you sure?

The statement made by the Ukrainian Ambassador Andrij Melny that we Germans are behaving arrogantly and megalomaniacally in the Ukraine question is insulting and unacceptable. A Ukrainian ambassador does not have to order us Germans what to do, nor does he have to insult us. We have been giving Ukraine massive political and economic support for years, and we want de-escalation, not war. It seems that the Ukrainian ambassador does not want de-escalation. We will not supply weapons to a Russian/Ukrainian war zone at the moment, also for historical reasons. We are, of course, supplying medical and technological infrastructure, life-support and financial resources to maintain Ukraine’s state infrastructure. For this we would have expected an actual thank-you from the ambassador, but this insult over the weekend, unacceptable man.

And one more thing.

We Germans and Europeans and also the USA have a very long cultural relationship with Russia, Russia is part of Europe, many Russians and Ukrainians have German roots and of course vice versa. Many Russians have emigrated to the USA. Russia is much closer to us culturally, linguistically and geographically than China. We should not equate the sometimes unrealistic actions of the Russian leadership with the Russian nation. In Europe, Russians and all other Europeans breathe the same air. Every nation has the state goal that the family is protected, that the population is happy and sees a future in its own country.

So it’s not a question of being right, but of sharing opportunities.

We need a change of perspective. The future problems of humanity lie in the sector of climate change, demographic development and digitalisation and not in the expansion of the respective national territory. We Europeans, but also the Asians, have made the experience that the expansion of national territories has always led to terrible wars. Therefore, the basic condition is: No one must feel threatened militarily. Structural disarmament talks are necessary; Russia, the USA and Europe need fewer weapons, but we need more joint coordination to solve future challenges.

Russia must be integrated more strongly into the European Union and the internal market again, a lot has gone wrong in this sector and for this it is a condition that Russia abides by international law, international treaties and stops hybrid warfare in Europe and the Balkans with immediate effect. The Crimea conflict must be frozen and there is a consensual agreement on the problem of eastern Ukraine from 2019, the Minsk process, on which negotiations should now be based.

The goal must also be for Russia, Europe and the USA to organise an alliance; economically, our common competitor is China. At the moment, only China is profiting from the conflict between Russia and the EU/USA.  China is currently the laughing stock, so to speak. Putin can’t want that, Biden can’t want that and we Europeans can’t want that either.

And what do you think of the developments in the Balkans?

Allow me to start by talking about the Russia-Serbia axis, which is one of the keys to understanding developments in the Balkans since 2013.

The nationalist and anti-Western bikers, the “Night Wolves”, are the figurehead of Serbia, an image that documents very well Serbia’s political orientation towards Russia. Hardly any other European country has as many Putin and Russia fans as the Balkan state with 7 million inhabitants, and now comes the US State Department employee, Mr Escobar, and the US Ambassador Kim, but more on that later.

According to a recent survey from 2021, Putin is at the top of the popularity of foreign politicians with an approval rating of 61 percent of respondents, followed by Angela Merkel with 42 percent. 25 percent of Serbian citizens also mistakenly believe that Russia is the biggest donor in Serbia when it comes to economic development.

Only 21 percent assign this position to the EU, which is in line with the facts. The preference for Russia has a historical dimension in Serbia. At the beginning of the 18th century, Tsar Peter the Great tried to expand his power and called on the Balkan Christians to resist the Ottoman Empire.

Because of this, he became a beacon of hope for the elites in south-eastern Europe. In 1888, the Catechism for the Serbian People stated that the great powerful Russia was the only sincere and reliable friend of the Serbs.

Aleksandar Vučić received the Alexander Nevski Order from Putin himself. The order, which Putin presented to Vučić, is otherwise given practically only to Russian officials. Putin and Vučić met for the 25th time in eight years. As soon as Vucic negotiates with Rama& Co. on Open Balkans, Vucci usually goes to Putin after the negotiation and gives his report and receives his marching orders.

The 2019 visit also saw the signing of a €230 million contract with Russian Railways, which will develop Serbian infrastructure. Joint projects in the energy and military sectors are also regularly concluded has been discussed. There is intensive military cooperation with Serbia and the expansion of the Serbian defence system, as well as in cooperation between the intelligence services.

And?

What is relevant today is that Russia has not recognised Kosovo’s independence and supports Belgrade on this issue in the UN Security Council. Putin visited the monument to fallen Russian soldiers in Belgrade in 2019 and made a public appearance in front of St Sava’s Cathedral.

The gathering in Visegrad, Bosnia, is significant: April 2021 came to the town where the century-old novel “The Bridge over the Drina” is set, to commemorate Russian paramilitaries who had supported Serb formations in the Bosnian war and died in the process. A Russian-Serbian association had organised the wreath-laying ceremony. In view of the numerous genocides committed by Serbs and with the participation of Russian mercenaries, this action, 26 years after the end of the war, was a humiliation of the victims. 

The incident is by no means the only disturbing fire in the Balkans with a Russian signature: Moscow is deliberately trying to expand its influence. With a hybrid approach, it is exploiting the unstable societies of the Balkan countries to stake out its own territory and to promote actors who deliberately undermine democratisation processes. 

In the most fragile countries of the region, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia is actively supporting Serbian and Croatian politicians who are doing everything they can to torpedo the existing peace order. Dodik, Serbian representative in the Bosnian Presidency, regularly threatens secession and Kosovo is being tried. The autocratic Prime Minister Rama and his combatant MP Basha actively and passively support the Russian-Serbian Open Balkans Initiative, but more on that later.

Incidentally, Dodik was not deposed, but courted by US special envoys in recent months. Moreover, Dodik knows he has the support of his “friends”. Dodik’s last visit was on 2 December 2021. The decision to prepare for secession followed only eight days later. 

There is a pattern between Dodik and Vucic (Serbia), by the way. Vucic, too, when he has agreed on the Russian/Serbian Open Balkans project with the autocrat Rama, immediately goes to Moscow for a report, he does not go to Brussels or the USA.

There is a non-paper from Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša. In the non-paper, Janša in 2021, also with very close contacts to Russia, called for the restructuring of the Balkan states according to ethnic criteria within the framework of the Brdo-Brijuni process. This paper fits systematically into the Open Balkans initiative . 

There is no doubt that the discussion about new border demarcations in the Western Balkans is grist to the mill of all those who, with the support of Belgrade and Moscow, want to realise an old dream: The unification of the Serbs in a common state. It was precisely these ideologies of ethnically pure territories that led to the bloody wars in the former Yugoslavia in 1991-95. Geopolitically, Russia has an interest in this; militarily, Russia wants access to the Adriatic and, tactically, to surround Bulgaria. This kind of engagement must be ended, as I have already indicated in the context of the Ukraine conflict.

Unfortunately, some US diplomats, especially Ambassador Kim, Albania, are behaving unfavourably, they are so badly advised and do not seem to understand the culture of the Balkans, so that the Russians do not even have to become active, their actions play completely into the hands of the Russians and Serbs.

How is this to be understood?

Serbia and Russia are exploiting the strategic mistakes of the EU and especially the USA, which for years has been pursuing a crude appeasement policy with the corrupt elites of the Western Balkan states. We can currently observe this in Albania as an example. Whether it is the autocrats Veliaj and the criminal MP Basha who cooperate with each other and his assistant, a woman Jorida Tabaku , but more on that later.

In this way, autocracies with authoritarian politicians are promoted. Sustainable democratic reforms, on the other hand, fall by the wayside, financed by the EU and the USA, with the successive result that Serbia’s sector of influence, and thus Russia’s, grows larger. This, however, is contrary to the wishes of the people in the Balkans, including Albania.

Today, with few exceptions, the countries in the Western Balkans are more of an Eldorado for radicalisation than the scene of coherent EU ties. 

As a result, Brussels and Washington are hardly perceived as strategic partners by many democratically minded actors. Civil activists and human rights activists complain that they are being abandoned by the EU and Washington in the fight against autocracy – a considerable loss of reputation for the Western community of values and, in essence, now creates another place for the next geopolitical confrontation between West and East, alongside Ukraine.

What is the problem?

Vociferous diplomats who interfere in the internal affairs of a state and thus massively violate international law, such as the US Ambassador Kim in Tirana, are problematic, they have a counterproductive effect and destructive tendencies and ultimately massively damage the interests of the USA and Europe. 

Some examples: Ms Kim is intensively involved in the area of legal reform and electoral law reform in Albania, she therefore bears de facto responsibility for the failure of these reforms, there is no rule of law in Albania, politics is above the judiciary, the supreme courts are dysfunctional to this day, a personal shared responsibility. Since 2018, the supreme courts there no longer function, legal certainty is therefore non-existent, citizens cannot sue for their constitutional rights, the Supreme Civil Court does not function either, in the meantime an illegal local election and, according to OSCE, a rigged parliamentary election were held.

There is no rule of law per se in Albania. As a result, the separation of powers no longer functions and thus the legislature is dysfunctional. The judiciary is subordinated to the politics of the one-party state. Corruption is fought, but with the aim of eliminating the political opponent, i.e. a similar approach as in other autocracies. Yet Ms Kim praises the reforms, an absurd situation.

Since the results of the reforms have achieved the opposite of what was intended, the trust and acceptance of the population in the rule of law and democracy is naturally sinking to zero.

This is problematic because the credibility gap between what the US American Kim and the US State Department employee Escobar are demanding and what is actually happening is widening, as the Albanians can see.

But more on that later. 

In the meantime, taking advantage of this situation, a de facto one-party state, an autocracy has been established, since 2019 all important functions, whether in the municipalities or in the executive, are in the hands of the ruling party Rama, the democratic opposition has de facto only rights that are written on paper, but cannot enforce them de iure. Partly, the highest courts are now again staffed with judges, whether because of political pressure they do not dare to make decisions.

In Albania, I increasingly have the impression that a US diplomat is protecting a socialist prime minister who is suspected of corruption; security circles and the international press are talking about a mafia government.

This already has the character of an adventurous operation. I have the impression that this process, in all its transparency, has not yet become clear to the Foreign Minister Blinken. Indeed, the question arises where the clear anti-communist view and focus of the USA has remained, a growing tragedy looming in the Western sky. On the other hand, it was also worrying that the democratic, pro-Western opposition had to watch in disbelief this congratulation by a US representative on the rigged parliamentary election. It may give the impression to the entire , Albanian nation that it is worthwhile to behave in an anti-democratic and corrupt manner, like the actors Veliaj&Basha, we are talking about a credibility gap. Also, it celebrates relatively often with representatives of the socialist party, well-known personalities like the mayor Veliaj, Basha who are suspected of corruption, this does something to the upright democrats , to the Albanian nation in Albania. What are the citizens supposed to think when the other day they are again being asked to fight for democracy and the rule of law? The credibility gap is unfortunately widening. It also seems to be very badly advised in this matter. Therefore, US Ambassador Kim and Escobar can certainly no longer be accused of diplomatic finesse. Another example is the organisational renewal of the largest pro-Western opposition party.

Unfortunately, not only is the pro-Russian Open Balkans initiative being viewed too uncritically and the autocrats being promoted, but a criminal member of parliament in Albania is now apparently being courted by US Ambassador Kim. How is this to be understood?

On 11 and 18 December 2021, elections were held under international supervision in the largest democratic party, they were legally correct and the party constitution was modernised and the then leader was voted out.

Basha responded by calling a meeting for 18 December in a hall with 1,958 seats and pretending that it was the party congress .

He could not explain how the hall could reach the required minimum quorum (50% plus one person) of 3,824 delegates. 

The deposed leader, Lulzim Basha, then occupied the party building with a small group, occupying it because he no longer had legitimacy, i.e. no domiciliary rights.

The elected interim executive committee , which is to prepare for the election of a new chairperson in March 2022 within the framework of a party congress, announced after its election that it would hold an executive committee meeting in the party building on 8 January 2022 and a large majority of functionaries also wanted to resume their work in the party building then.

They therefore told Lulzim Basha, who was voted out, to vacate his office by 5 January 2022.

What happened after that, Lulzim Basha and his comrade, Jorida Tabaku, barricaded the building of the Democratic Party of Albania, demolished the inside of the building by installing steel doors, stockpiled weapons, hoarded poison gas and hired terrorist Muslim Brothers from Macedonia. 

The US deputy ambassador from Tirana visited this small squatter group on 8 January. Irritatingly, a US representative visits a squatted house where also terrorist active and criminal Muslim Brothers organised by MP Basha are preparing a use of force. We have to imagine that a deputy US ambassador and Muslim Brothers in an illegally occupied party building of a pro-Western party, a sister party of the European people’s parties.

That was the starting point for 8 January 2022.  

We assume that this occupation of the building by MP Basah and his comrade Jorida Tabaku was intended to create the impression of discrediting the entire, democratic opposition in Albania and thus also to show up the Western ambassadors. 

Both of them and their comrades are concerned with power, translated in the Albanian context , they are concerned with sources of income. Ms Tabaku appeared before parliamentarians in Berlin on 26 January 2022 and pretended that everything was fine in Albania. When asked by colleagues in Berlin if there was a problem in the Democratic Party of Albania, she said no, the MP Sali Berisha had been disposed of and now everything would be fine. She did not mention anything about the use of weapons against unarmed MPs and party members on 8 January 2022, for which she was partly responsible, or about the illegal actions within the party.

And what happened on 8 January 2022?

The development was very dynamic and opaque. The question is, “who threw the stone first”, in other words, who was the aggressor and who is the victim.

Another issue is who was armed and who was not armed, again the question of who is the perpetrator, who is the victim. Another issue is who demolished what, when, how and why.

So MP Basha and his comrade Jorida Tabaku, with a small, criminal group, had occupied the entire, inner party building of the opposition party and had done massive damage to property inside the building by welding and chiseling. They were not legitimised to do so. Both were duly removed by the party bodies on 11/18 December 2021.

The group had no legitimacy, Basha was no longer party president, Jorida Tabaku was also no longer on the executive committee, both had no permission from the state building authority for the reconstruction of the party building, they had no legitimacy to use non-certified poison gas, iron bars and firearms against third parties, i.e. unarmed party members and elected, parliamentary members of parliament. The party members and parliamentary deputies, as legitimate representatives of the property of the party building, wanted to remove the illegal measures, i.e. the demolitions, so that they could hold meetings of the party bodies in their party building, a right that the owner has, for which he does not need a court order. 

It is the civil right of a property owner and/or his representatives to use the property or to damage it and to remove unlawful acts as done by the Basha group. However, there is another issue in addition to this.

Which one?

The MP Basha as well as his comrade Jorida Tabaku with their criminal Muslim Brotherhood had attacked unarmed members, parliamentarians of the Democratic Party using armed force, poison gas, unauthorised alterations in the building, use of terrorist operatives from Macedonia and many party members had caused grievous bodily harm or death to these people. Their behaviour is massively criminal, it was a planned action and therefore there was a dolus malus.  The persons Lulzim Basha and his comrade Jorida Tabaku belong in prison and no longer on the parliamentary stage.

The unarmed party members and parliamentary deputies tried to remove the barricades with ladders and their hands. They were not armed, there was no terrorist network among them. A perfectly legitimate behaviour of a property owner, of course a legitimate property representative can also break windows to gain access to the property, such actions are perfectly justified. As a result, criminal squatters have tried to deny the owners, party members and parliamentarians access to their property, the party building, by force of arms and with intent to injure, supported by the police of the autocrat Veliaj, which is unacceptable and reprehensible and massively damages the reputation of the Republic of Albania.

And now?

However, the developments of 8 January 2022 have brought a positive example to reflect on, such as the resignation of the security guard of the party headquarters because he did not want to witness violence by the Basha/Tabaku group. The security guard is a decent Albanian, not an opportunist. I wish everyone would face up to their responsibilities in Albania. The opportunists are the arsonists of any civil society.

Black Saturday in Albania is not an isolated event, but a tragic moment in a political process that has been going on for months and years in the eyes of all Albanians and also of the international community, the core of which is the absence of democratic confrontation through free, fair and transparent elections. This process fits seamlessly with the Open Balkans initiative , the development in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Russian-Serbian engagement in Montenegro and the non-paper from Slovenia.

There was massive rigging of parliamentary elections in Albania in 2017 and 2021 by the ruling party and an illegal local election on 30 January 2019, the rule of law was de facto abolished in Albania. The US and EU ambassadors welcome this progress, i.e. the so-called legal reform. It should not be forgotten that Albania is still in a situation where a democracy and almost all institutions have been undermined for years by the gradual capture of all state sectors, independent institutions and civil society by the Rama, Basha and Veliaj administrations. All forces must now be mobilised to restore the rule of law, the system of accountability in Albania and in the parties themselves and, above all, confidence and acceptance in democracy and its institutions.

A rule of law , a democracy is not a technical construct, a rule of law only works if the citizen trusts and accepts it, by a majority. The threat to an institution that is very important for true democracy and pluralism, namely the opposition, but also the free election, must be stopped immediately. Even before Black Saturday, MP Lulzim Basha has been asked by the decisive members of the European People’s Parties to resign from all his functions. In parallel, this should also apply to the autocrat Veliaj. The procedures for returning DP property to its members and legal representation to the legitimate Provisional Committee is imperative and expected of us Europeans. 

Resistance to this, as is being done by a very small group of former party officials around Basha, are undemocratic, illegitimate, counterproductive and qualify as anti – European/American engagement. However, the courts are also under the strong influence of the autocratic government due to the ongoing Black Saturday review process and cooperates with MP Basha. It is very unlikely that there will not be a ruling under the rule of law on these bloody events. The courts are politicised and are subject to de facto pressure from the executive. The ruling autocratic party has every interest in keeping the weakened Basha group at the forefront of the official opposition. This also explains why the riot police saved Basha’s day and allowed him to stay at party headquarters. The problem is also that, unfortunately, the US Ambassador Kim, through her commitment to the anti-democratic actors, such as MP Basha and who does not want to recognise democratic election results in the largest pro-Western party, is de facto further destabilising Albania, a counterproductive behaviour from the point of view of the Albanian people of the West.

The key to further democratic development in Albania is a solid and constructive opposition of Albanians that keeps an increasingly “corrupt-autocratic” government in check, i.e. separation of powers. US Ambassador Kim, who acts like a governor, and other stakeholders must stay out of the parties’ internal affairs. Basha and his comrade Jorida Tabaku, who no longer have support in the DP base, Basha is wanted by the Belgian police, he was indirectly involved in a highly -corruptive project in the port of Durres and participated in illegal financial transactions in the US have no democratic and legal legitimacy. There are currently only two leaders in Albania who are very close to the people and who are also trusted to win elections, these are the party leaders Rama and the opposition leader Berisha. Both have extraordinarily unusual leadership qualities. However, Berisha in particular, who together with the current interim executive of the largest opposition party is currently preparing a party congress and the election of a new party leader in March, have a chance to bring Albania back into democracy and the arms of Western civil societies.

His unprincipled support for problematic government measures in recent weeks, questionable joint initiatives with the government to amend the constitution and accusations of opaque business interests, and the situation where he refuses to comply with a request by the Belgian state police to be questioned in Belgium because of a criminal case in Belgium, have further delegitimised him. The DP Provisional Committee faces the formidable challenge of building a credible opposition; it should strive to be perceived by the public as a viable alternative to power. Unlike other countries in the region, in post-communist Albania a cross-party political landscape has developed around the Democratic and Socialist Parties, which have alternated between government and opposition. While the images of 8 January attracted national and some European attention, the real issue in the country is to prevent the stranglehold of a kleptocratic Veliaj & Basha regime that has centralised power and the economy and the media and harnessed a well-oiled international lobby network.

In this respect, we naturally support the reform process in the Albanian opposition. The party organisation is currently being reorganised and in March the new executive committee of the opposition party, democratic, will be elected at a major party congress. The goal of Albanian politics must be membership in the EU, the Albanians have a right to happiness and protection of their families, for this they need democracy, a constitutional state and an economic community, we call it the EU, so that their children can find a future in Albania again and do not have to emigrate.

Mr Henze, thank you very much for the interview.

Interview in Albanian:

“Kush është agresori dhe kush është viktima”/ Eksperti gjerman: Pse Lulzim Basha duhet të blindonte dyert e Partisë Demokratike

Lini një Përgjigje

Plotësoni më poshtë të dhënat tuaja ose klikoni mbi një nga ikonat për hyrje:

Stema e WordPress.com-it

Po komentoni duke përdorur llogarinë tuaj WordPress.com. Dilni /  Ndryshoje )

Foto Twitter-i

Po komentoni duke përdorur llogarinë tuaj Twitter. Dilni /  Ndryshoje )

Foto Facebook-u

Po komentoni duke përdorur llogarinë tuaj Facebook. Dilni /  Ndryshoje )

Po lidhet me %s