Special US Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar will discuss the “US determination to fight corruption, impunity, and efforts to undermine democracy in the Western Balkans” in meetings with Albanian leaders on December 9.
The US embassy in Tirana announced Escobar’s first visit to Albania on social media. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Edi Rama, Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka, and Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha.
Escobar will “reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for Albania’s democracy, EU integration, stronger defense cooperation, and opportunities for trade and investment. As outlined in President Biden’s Executive Orders, Escobar will also discuss U.S. determination to fight corruption, impunity, and efforts to undermine democracy in the Western Balkans,” the embassy announced.
Escobar’s visit falls two days before a major event within the main opposition Democratic Party (PD) headed by Lulzim Basha.
On December 11, at the initiative of former PD leader Sali Berisha, the highest PD body will assemble to vote on statute changes that could result in the dismissal of current PD chairman Lulzim Basha and Berisha taking over leadership.
Berisha called an assembly meeting after Basha excluded him from the PD parliamentary group at the request of the United States following Secretary of State Anthony Blinken designation of Berisha and his family over corruption allegations.
The current PD leadership has stated they will not recognize the assembly, calling it illegal. They have called another assembly one week later to vote on the party’s political direction.