Independent Balkan News Agency

IBNA Forum: Albania’s vote against the USA in the UN

IBNA Forum: Albania’s vote against the USA in the UN
Albania’s delicate decision is commented and analyzed in this IBNA’s forum by politicians, publicists and prominent Albanian journalists

By Edison Kurani

A debate has sparked in Albania a few hours after authorities in Tirana decided to vote against the decision of the US, which decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. President Trump decided to move the US embassy there and called on other countries to do the same.

128 countries voted in favor of the resolution, 9 voted against and 35 abstained. Albania voted in favor of the resolution. This is the essence of the criticism launched in Tirana. Some believe that the Albanian government should have at least abstained in order not to come out against the US.

What happened in the UN?

The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution rejecting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

The General Assembly resolution reaffirms Jerusalem's special status as a holy city and as a final-status issue to be resolved in future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It also says "any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded.''

Unlike Security Council resolutions, the assembly measure is not legally binding, but it carries moral weight, demonstrating the will of the majority of the international community. It was adopted with more than a two-thirds majority of the 172 nations that voted — 128 nations supported the measure, nine voted against it and 35 countries abstained.

The US ambassador, Nikki Haley reacted after the voting:  "The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation," U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told a packed hall ahead of the vote.

"We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations, and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit," she added.

Earlier this week, Haley wrote to many U.N. member states and warned them that she would be taking names and reporting back to President Donald Trump on how nations voted, noting the president was taking the vote "personally."

"History records names, it remembers names," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-

Everyone against the government

Albania’s decision is seen as a damage done to the relations with the US and lack of gratitude for Kosovo.

The President’s office stresses this.

The Spokesperson of the President of the Republic, Mr. Tedi Blushi, asked on the yesterday’s vote of Albania against USA, said that: “The President of the Republic has been not prior consulted and informed on the position to be held for this important issue, not only for the Foreign Policy of Albania, but also for the entire Albanian nation”.

“The President considers this position and the vote against, entirely unnecessary, which does not reflect the State position and above all a nationwide position and consensus.

The President emphasizes that we should not forget that the United States remains the most important ally and strategic partner, and such positions and decisions should be well coordinated.

Albanian people and nation never forget and they are grateful for the historic decisions of the US concerning the vital existence of the nation and of the Euro-Atlantic future of Albania and Kosova”,  Mr. Blushi said.

But, Arben Malaj, prominent politician and publicist, former minister several times in left wing governments, has a different opinion.

According to him, the debate on Albania’s vote in the UN concerning the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, is exceeding any rational reasoning.

“It goes without saying that the US will always be our strategic partner, not as a result of some history of political or individual relations, but for their special contribution in preserving and consolidating the Albanian state and nation”, he says, adding:

“The conclusions that have been drawn that Albania “betrayed” its strategic partner, that Albania proved a lack of faith, serve short term gains and are not based on historical analyses of the strategic partnership between Albania and the USA, confirmed through the alliance against terrorism in 2005, reflected through the participation of our armed troops in missions against terrorism and in favor of peace in several countries of the world”.

In fact, this is not the first time that Albania defies the USA. Four years ago, the government led by PM Edi Rama refused the request to accept chemical substances that the USA wanted to destroy in Albania.

Mr. Malaj says that the “Jerusalem” case is a personal decision of Mr. Trump and not “a project of the USA to fight terrorism”. He expresses his conviction that “our country’s vote in the UN will not threaten this strategic partnership”.

But, could it have been better if our country had abstained? Malaj responds: Maybe yes.

Should the President have consulted the opposition? Malaj responds again: “I think so”, adding: “But all of these questions cannot serve as material for long political analyses that damage the efficiency and cooperation of the country with the US more than our vote in the UN”.

On the other hand, the Albanian Foreign Ministry reacted by saying: “Our vote at the UN General Assembly reflects our unchanged position on this issue. Albania has supported the international consensus on Jerusalem, based on a number of UN documents, including a number of Security Council resolutions, and has joined the common position of the overwhelming majority of EU member states by staying coherent in its alignment with the European Union”.

Writer and publicist Virgjil Kuke has two viewpoints:

“1. Albania voted against America for the issue of Jerusalem-Sensitive issues concerning multi-religions. Albania voted like Europe.

Meanwhile, he mentions several proven facts:

Albania’s objective is to enter Europe-Albania is a multi religious country. Europe’s objective is to make Albania part of it. The US’ objective is to help Albania enter in Europe. America and Europe have a mutual understanding on issues concerning Albania”.

Former minister of Integration and SMI’s MP, Klajda Gjosha said that the voting was done without any consultations. She adds: “Albania’s vote is not against an individual, or a single institution. It should have been a vote that represented the faith of Albanian citizens”.

Former deputy Prime Minister and democrat MP, Tritan Shehu shared the same opinion: “The voting was against the interests of our country, Kosovo, Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, etc”.

Shehu says that “a responsible foreign policy of every country upholds the interests of its citizens.”

Meanwhile, politician and former MP, Mesila Doda has a critical stance on Albania’s vote: “For the first time in the political history of Albania we’re not on the side of the USA. Let us not forget that they were with us when the very existence of the Albanian state was at risk, they were with us when Kosovo was being burned and today, it could have still been under Serbia’s occupation now. This was what our government could do and did it. The rest is history.”

MP Fatbardh Kadilli criticizes the voting: “This government is showing that the American course is no longer unmovable. This is one of those moments which must make us more attentive and more reactive. A negative development in this aspect cannot be tolerated”.

Deputy minister of Defence, Petro Koçi has been critical against the opposition’s accusations: “The DP is so pro-American? This is a game for power! The DP’s foreign policy doesn’t state that this party recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. When they were in power, they have never questioned Tel Aviv as the capital”.

Journalist Lorisa Ylli sees this problem from a different point of view. She believes that “Albania’s vote against the decision of the USA is not surprising, for as long as the country is waiting to launch accession talks with the EU. But, Trump’s administration must realize that it cannot uphold its interests in the EU with ambassadors appointed by Obama”.

According to Ylli, “the UN’s decision must make Trump react in terms of foreign policies, neglected by him since he entered office, because he now has to deal with a problem such as North Korea”.

The Albanian Foreign minister, Ditmir Bushati also comments Albania’s vote in the UN. He gives assurances that “this is not the vote against the US, but the expression of our coherent positioning, which has not changed throughout the years, based on international consensus and expressed in the endless documents of the UN and Resolutions of the Security Council, which are enforceable, and also in line with the majority of UN member countries, NATO and EU, historical partners of the US”. /balkaneu.com/

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