From: Exit News
US Diplomat Urges Albania to Strengthen Fight against Corruption

Philip T. Reeker, a top diplomat in President Joe Biden’s administration, highlighted the United States’ priorities in Albania during meetings with top politicians in Tirana on Thursday.

Reeker met with Prime Minister Edi Rama, opposition leader Lulzim Basha, several ministers, as well as judges and prosecutors who have passed the vetting under the ongoing justice reform.

Reeker highlighted the US’s determination to fight corruption as a “core national interest for the United States,” including through designations of corrupt politicians and banning their entry into the country, the US embassy stated.

Four former Albanian officials and their families have been barred entry into the US on grounds of corruption: former general prosecutor Adratik Llalla, former Durres Mayor Vangjush Dako, former MP Tom Doshi, and former President Sali Berisha. More could follow after President Biden extended the scope of the relevant act last month.

Reeker stressed that the US fully supports judicial reform and the fight against corruption in Albania. These two are key to strengthening democracy, defense, and economy, as well as accession into the European Union for Albania, he said.

The US, alongside the European Union, has been a stronger supporter of Albania’s justice reform since 2016. The reform has revamped the justice system, created new institutions, while all judges and prosecutors are being vetted based on their assets, links to crime, and professional proficiency.

Its results in the fight against corruption, including the prosecution of top politicians, still remain to be seen.   

Lastly, the US diplomat commended Albania on successfully hosting the major military exercise Defender Europe 21 and on getting a temporary seat at the UN Security Council.