AMBASSADOR DEL MONACO: “I understand the interest the media and people rightly have in your questions. But what kind of answer do you expect from me? I met several times the Director General of the Albanian State Police, I have met several times the hierarchy of the Albanian State Police, I have met several times police officers, because I took part in their training – the training that the OSCE offered on the eve of the elections to better prepare the Albanian State Police on how to handle security around and during the Election Day. We offered training to more than 6,000 Albanian police officers. Mine is a message of trust, institutional trust: trust in the institutions.”
Ambassador Del Monaco was on Wednesday in Elbasan, where he met the Mayor, the local police director and representatives of religious communities. After the meeting with the Mayor, he give the following doorstep interview to journalists.
AMBASSADOR DEL MONACO: “Thank you very much, first of all, for your kind attention. I was very well received here by Mr. Mayor. This is my first official visit to an Albanian municipality except Tirana. With Elbasan we have a long-standing co-operation. As the mayor already said, we discussed thoroughly the Local Safety Council and the contribution to the political, socio and economic life of the city of this important consultative body. We also discussed the importance of including younger people into our security-related debates. Youth is a priority for the work of the OSCE Presence because that translates into a more inclusive, a more just society and it has also an impact on the governance of the municipalities starting from Elbasan. We also discussed the role of women. I was very happy to learn that the occupation rate of women is very high here in Elbasan. Women empowerment is a priority for the OSCE Presence in Albania.”
QUESTION: The opposition claims that there was electoral crime in these elections. What is your comment?
AMBASSADOR DEL MONACO: I think that we all read the interim report published by the OSCE/ODIHR. When it comes to the complaints about the electoral process and about other criminal events that happened during the electoral process that is not up to me to express any sort of judgement. I fully trust the Albanian judiciary authorities. You clearly remember that the day after the murder that happened in Elbasan before the elections we issued a very clear statement, and we fully trust a swift investigation and that the judiciary will do what needs to be done. This is the way it works in democracy.
QUESTION: After the completion of the electoral process, how close is Albania to the European Union?
AMBASSADOR DEL MONACO: “As you know, I was born and raised in one of the funding countries of the European Union, but I am not here in the capacity of Head of EU Delegation or ambassador of an EU member state. This is a question that you should ask to my EU colleagues, not to me. What I can tell you is that we are here to support Albania. When you read the mandate that represents the constitution of the OSCE Presence in Albania you will see that there are a number of priorities, starting from rule of law, democratization, electoral processes, which are, in my opinion, very conducive for the achievement of the main strategic priorities of Albania. But without confusion of roles, I am very proud to represent the OSCE in this country.”
QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador, given that you mentioned security: how motivated and determined do you find the Albanian police in fighting electoral crimes and guaranteeing public order and security? During the last three weeks crime hit Elbasan three times and claimed three lives.