From: Bledar Qalliu
Nominee for US Ambassador to Albania, Yuri Kim Prioritizes Solving Political Crisis and Implementation of Justice Reform

Ms Yuri Kim, who was nominated earlier this year by President Trump to be the new US Ambassador to Albania, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.

Ms Kim praised the strong relations between the two countries and stated her three priorities, if she would be confirmed as ambassador:

– Encourage Albania to reach its 2% [of GDP] defense investment pledge by 2024

– Promote Albania’s development as a democratic nation.

– Work to promote US exports and US investment in Albania […]

Strengthening of democracy and the rule of law in Albania

Ms. Kim talked in details regarding the need for Albania to strengthen democracy and rule of law. She underlined the most crucial political and rule of law issues currently weighing on Albania and stated the US support on overcoming them:

“In the immediate term I would press Albania’s leaders to resolve the current political impasse in a way that reinforces Albania’s EU accession bid and best positions it to succeed during its term as OSCE Chair in Office in 2020.

More fundamentally, I would reinforce US diplomatic and foreign assistance support for strengthening the rule of law, combating corruption and combating organized crime.

The US should continue to encourage Albania to fully implement judicial reforms, continue the vetting of judges and prosecutors, and establish an independent special structure against corruption and a national bureau of investigation.

I would also redouble US engagement and technical assistance in investigation prosecution and punishment of corruption and transnational organized crime.

US investment requires a welcoming business environment and a level playing field for our companies and investors. In this respect, I would underscore that confidence in the rule of law and transparency are essential.”

President Trump had earlier nominated Ms Kathleen Ann Kavalec to be US ambassador to Albania, but the Senate returned her nomination due to her possible involvement in the preparation of the Christopher Steele’s dossier.

The US Embassy in Albania has been operating without an ambassador since the departure of ambassador Donal Lu more than a year ago.