Published on: 01 December 2017

Speech of Minster Bushati in Washington on the 105th Anniversary of the Albania’s Independence Day

Dear members of Congress,

Dear Enver,

Behgjet,

Dear Hoyt,

I would like to start by thanking you all for being here and I wish you all happy Independence and Armed Forces Day. To me personally, this is a unique occasion in the sense that we represent a fragment of our culture to the greatest library in the world, as Albanian worldwide celebrating our Independence and Armed Forces Day, an independence which would have not been possible without the role of the United States of America for which we are forever grateful. Today, U.S and Albania are allies and have a strategic partnership. Our partnership is based on common interest, similar viewpoints of security in Europe and the Trans-Atlantic community, shared values and beliefs. Even though our democratic institutions have shorter life than the American institutions and even though our democratic culture is less robust than the American one, our shared values center around openness, tolerance, rule of law and justice. This legacy of our nation is the first reason we celebrate today.

What a better story to demonstrate these values, than the purple codices of Berat that are becoming part of digital archive of the library today and part of the UNESCO protector. Written by the 6th century before Christ, the Codices are now part of World Heritage and starting from today, we will be part of the library alongside the work of Albanian diplomat and intellectual Konica and other illumines of Albania and diaspora. These codices show that despite the short and precarious life and the Albanian state and state institutions, the Albanian culture and its openness to the western civilization, has been longer and well documented. This is something to celebrate and be deeply grateful today.

The second thing I would like to celebrate today is the deep-seated partnership and strong ties between Albania and the United States of America. They two go back in the history of our state formation and extend to the days U.S contribution to Albanian path of democratization. The U.S has played a strong role in one of our key domestic reforms in the past two years, which is reform in the judiciary sector. Alongside the EU member states, United States is helping with the implementation of this comprehensive reform, which has rippling effect in a number of other sectors not less the economy. United States are present in the Balkans and Albania in particular through their support in strengthening the rule of law. We want this engagement to continue as we strongly believe that if Albanian institutions are resilient and rule of law is strong we can contribute more and in a more quality way to stability and peace in Western Balkans and more broadly to security in Europe and in the Transatlantic community.

Today, while is the day of the Albanian Armed Forces this is also the occasion to celebrate Albania’s contribution to security. Even though a small country Albania stands along United States in the joint fight against terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism. Our specific history of religious tolerance is a special asset, which we put in the service of prevention of these phenomena and global threats. The US can also play a strong role in the economic development agenda by promoting connectivity, investing more in strategic sectors such as infrastructure, energy, tourism and agriculture. We are creating a more positive environment for the US to be more present in the region and in Albania in particular.

Albanian diaspora is another success story of our two nation’s relationship, the Albanian community in the United States plays a vital role in the Albanian state formation and in the economic development of our country, but they also contribute to the economic, cultural and political life of the US too.

The third reason to celebrate the day is how far Albania and Albanian have come. From a small, weak and dependent state in its early days to an isolated regime in the post-communist years married by corruption, crime and informality not to mention weak social cohesion and trust, Albania is now moving ahead and thriving amidst and against many challenges. I do not want to sound overly optimistic about the reforms we have undertaken, the economic potential of our country and most importantly, the energy, the drive and the curiosity of young people in Albania make me believe in the future ahead. The enthusiasm and the interest in politics, the engagement of Albanian student who took part in the Albanian Day in D.C. this week conform my faith that we will be able to write a better story together. I believe that our friends and allies, United States, will be part of that story.

Thank you again for the warm welcome and Happy Independence Day!

Gëzuar Ditën e Pavarësisë!

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