TIRANA, Albania (AP) – The President of Albania has accused the US Ambassador of interfering in the internal affairs of a small European country by supporting his Prime Minister in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
President Ilir Meta spoke harshly about Ambassador Yuri Kim during a television talk show on Friday night, urging the US diplomat to “stop supporting (Prime Minister Eddie) Rama, who is rigging the election.”
While the show aired on Syri Television, Kim texted Meta on Sunday about the election on Twitter, responding to a warning from Meta this week that Albanians would take up crosses and other tools if The Prime Minister will try to manipulate the vote or the results
“It is unacceptable for anyone to threaten that citizens will take ‘khachkars’ on April 25, or if they do not like the election results,” the ambassador wrote. “These threats deserve condemnation. Those who incite violence will be held accountable for their words and actions. Stop! ”
Albania’s two largest political parties are bitter rivals in the elections. Clashes between supporters of the Rama government and “opposition” culminated on Wednesday with the death of a leading supporter of the ruling Socialist Party. Police said the victim was allegedly shot dead by a member of the opposition Democratic Party during a dispute involving members of the opposite camp.
Meta condemned Rama on charges of running a “kleptocratic regime” that concentrated all legislative, administrative and judicial powers under the Prime Minister. He accused Rama of complicating Albania’s epidemic response and delaying the country’s integration into the European Union.
The president holds office without party affiliation. Meta previously led the Left Socialist Integration Movement, which is now led by his wife.
During a talk show Friday night, Metan called Rama a “gangster” and a “mentally ill man.” He was visibly irritated 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 led by Serbia.
“There are corrupt circles. “Lobbying is being carried out by Serbia, there (in the United States) and other countries that are using American representatives against Ilir Meta,” he said.
Meta claims that Kim told her during a phone call. “We know some things about you.”
“I told[Washington]that if you have a problem with me, please let me know, because I know you can even kill me,” he said. Meta added that he would go to the nearest mountain and then “you can fire a rocket at me so that I do not harm other people.”
The US Embassy in Tirana did not immediately respond to a request for comment.