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Albania’s President criticizes the US ambassador on a TV talk show

Albania’s president accused the US ambassador of intervening in the small European country’s internal affairs by supporting his prime minister in an upcoming parliamentary election

TIRANA, Albania – The president of Albania accused the US ambassador of intervening in the internal affairs of the small European country, supporting his prime minister in the next parliamentary elections.

President Ilir Meta spoke harshly about Ambassador Yuri Kim during a television talk show on Friday night and asked the American diplomat “to stop supporting (Prime Minister Edi) Rama, who is violating the election.”

While the program was airing on Syri Televizion, Kim sent a text message to Meta and also tweeted about Sunday’s election, responding to a warning Meta gave this week that Albanians would take pitchforks and other tools if the prime minister trying to manipulate the vote or the results.

“It is unacceptable for anyone to threaten that citizens will get” pitchforks “on April 25 or if they do not like the results of the elections,” wrote the ambassador. ”These threats deserve condemnation. Those who incite violence will be held responsible for the results of their words and actions. Stop. “

Albania’s two largest political parties are major electoral rivals. Clashes between supporters of the Rama government and the opposition culminated on Wednesday with the death of a leading supporter of the Socialist Party. Police said the victim was shot, allegedly by a member of the opposing Democratic Party, during a discussion involving members of opposing camps.

Meta denounced Rama for allegedly running a “kleptocratic regime” that concentrated all legislative, administrative and judicial powers in the prime minister. He also accused Rama of disrupting Albania’s response to the pandemic and delaying the country’s integration into the European Union.

The president holds the position without party affiliation. Meta previously led the left-wing Socialist Movement for Integration, which is now led by his wife.

During Friday night’s talk show, Meta called Rama a “gangster” and “psychic patient”. He was also visibly agitated after receiving Kim’s text and made extreme statements about the US ambassador. At one point, the president hinted that Kim could be part of an international lobbying campaign against him, led by Serbia.

“There are corrupt circles. There is lobbying paid by Serbia, there (in the US) and in other countries, which use representatives of America against Ilir Meta, ”he said.

Meta claimed that Kim said to him during a phone call, “We know a few things about you.”

“I said (to Washington) that if you have any problems with me, please let me know because I know you can even kill me,” he said. Meta added that he would go to a nearby mountain and then “you can launch a missile at me, so that I don’t damage other people”.

The United States Embassy in Tirana did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Meta’s remarks.

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