The Pan-Albanian Federation of America, VATRA, greets with heartfelt gratitude the decision of US Secretary of State, John Kerry to visit Albania, an act that shows the importance of cooperation between our two countries, as well as the intention of the US to broaden this cooperation. This visit takes place at a time when the political debate includes a number of important issues still unresolved and troubling for our partners and friends, while the Albanian society is experiencing a severe economic crisis and lack of confidence, issues clearly reflected by the increased migration of the Albanian citizens to EU countries.
This visit is an excellent opportunity for the Albanian politicians to increase their responsiveness and accountability towards the public and fulfillment of their commitments.
It is VATRA’s expectation, thatamongst the topics that will be discussed during this visit, a priority must by given to discussions inhow to achieve a profound reform of the justice system, considering this necessary reform not only as a way out of the tangled web of corruption and injustice, but also as a tool that would raise public’slacking confidence in the current justice system. The reform in the justice system would pave the way for further detachment from the heavy legacy of the past dictatorship. This reform will be sustainable and productive only if it’s achieved through a consensus between the Government and the Opposition, according to the recommendations from the Venice Commission.
Moreover, we express our concerns regarding the serious issues encountered during the last municipal elections of 2015, especially the purchase of the votes and nomination of individuals with criminal records. These concerns were also noted by international observers. The free and fair elections are of vital importance to the democracy and guarantee the stability of Albania.
The issue of security in general is an important topic of interest to both countries, but for the Albanian side, the focus of attention to safety in the Albanian territory, has a special significance, considering the growing influence of terrorist organizations and manipulations by our long-time enemies.
The Pan-Albanian Federation of America, VATRA, fully endorses the statements of the US Ambassador in Tirana, Donald Lu, thanking him publicly for his excellent work.
VATRA takes the opportunity from this diplomatic event, to publicly expresses the outmost respect for the tremendous work of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry and offers the deepest gratitude for its unconditional supportto any initiative regarding Albania and the Albanian matter.
Lastly, the Pan-Albanian Federation of America,VATRA in continuation of its tradition of over a century, reaffirms its position to enhancethe cooperation and the friendship between our two countries.
*Editor’s Note: The “Vatra” statement on the occasion of Secretary Kerry’s visit to Albania on 14th of February 2016, was issued in Albanian and it was distributed as a press-release. This English version is being distributed to our readers and it will be printed in the newspaper “Dielli.