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Last week I was in Albania and had the opportunity to meet with their 33rd Prime Minister, Edi Rama.
I learned that prior to becoming the Prime Minister, Rama was the Mayor of Tirana, which is the largest city in Albania and has people living there from all over the world, including everybody who works at Diplomatic Embassy Offices. Tirana has a population of about 418,000, so having been the Mayor of Tirana, Rama understands that community very well.
We had a 2-hour lunch meeting at his official residence which is 4 hours from Tirana where I thanked the Prime Minister for his continuous support for the Jewish people. Prior to my lunch with Rama, I had a different perception about him, but came away very impressed.
During my previous trip, I met so many Balkan leaders, all of whom were likewise impressive. And Albania itself is quite impressive, as it is largely a very safe place with no religious turmoil. I think American businesses would be wise to get involved in Albania and help create jobs and economic opportunities over there, because there is some real growth potential in Albanian markets and helping a U.S. ally become stronger helps the United States’ long-term interests in the region.
Rama won the Albanian election in June and was re-elected as Prime Minister of Albania and has pledged to fix the Albanian justice system. He shared with me his visions for education reform, healthcare, improving the life of every Albanian, creating job opportunities, improving infrastructure, and improving law and public safety, all of which seemed very in tune with values that we here in America hold dear. There is no room for corruption in Rama’s Government.
This is why I think President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson would be wise to work with Rama. Albania is an extremely important ally and friend that America needs to be able to trust, and with Rama – who is an intelligent man who thinks outside the box - I believe the U.S. government has a leader they can easily work with.