Albanian President denounces US sanction against former leader
TIRANA, Albania (AP) – The Albanian president offered his public support on Saturday for a former prime minister who was sanctioned by the United States this week for corruption.
President Ilir Meta released a letter to former Prime Minister Sali Berisha describing the politician’s sanction as a “shameful, unfaithful and wicked act” provoked by anti-Albanian lobbying.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Berisha and her immediate family were prohibited from entering the United States. Blinken accused Berisha, who was Albanian Prime Minister from 2005 to 2013, of being “involved in acts of corruption … including using his power for his own benefit and to enrich his political allies and members of his family”.
Blinken also alleged that during his tenure Berisha interfered in the justice system “to the detriment of independent investigations, anti-corruption efforts and accountability measures.”
Berisha, 76, is currently an MP representing the opposition Democratic Party in the Albanian parliament. He was also the second post-Communist President of Albania from 1992 to 1997.
In his defense of his predecessor, Meta alleged that Blinken’s decision was “ordered to the kleptocratic regime” in Albania at a time when the results of the April 25 parliamentary elections are in dispute.
Meta disagrees with the ruling Socialist Party, which has called for his impeachment for not remaining non-partisan during the elections.