Ilir Meta as Berisha's only point of contact with the West

12 Prill 2023, 02:00Op-Ed Mero Baze

Gabriel Escobar, the Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans, is spending 24 hours in Tirana after the start of the local elections campaign, in order to let the government and other political parties understand the interest of the United States regarding the integrity of the candidates as well as the standards of the elections.

Following meetings with Prime Minister Edi Rama and President Bajram Begaj, on Wednesday Mr. Escobar will be meeting with representatives of the Democratic Party as well as Ilir Meta, leader of the Berisha-Meta coalition. As a matter of fact, the meeting with Meta is the only political news, since he is the highest Albanian official who has had problematic relations with the US during his term as President of the Republic and Speaker of Parliament.

During the 2021 parliamentary elections, Ilri Meta made several unacceptable statements against the United States, including his paranoid claims that the Americans were going to execute him. However, Meta’s past does is not of much importance as is his future. He is the formal leader of the coalition with Sali Berisha in the upcoming local elections. Therefore, he has sheltered the most anti-American political party in Albania’s history and he has condemned Berisha’s designation as non-grata by the State Department.

For Ilir Meta and Sali Bersha this electoral campaign is an opportunity to prove to the United States that they are still an important political factor in Albania. Obviously the news here is not that Gabriel Escobar is seeking to talk to Berisha and Meta, but that he is taking advantage of the fact that Meta is not under US sanctions in order to send a message to the anti-American part of his coalition.

This is a huge favor for Ilir Meta, since not only it erases his anti-American past, but also seals the fact that the only way forward for Berisha’s group is to accept Meta as their leader. Not only does this make the rhetoric of Berisha’s and Meta’s opponents more convincing, but it gradually divides the opposition into two clear factions: the anti-American group led by Ilir Meta and Sali Berisha and the rest, which can organize itself under the Democratic Party’s logo and maintain the West-ward orientation.

Therefore, the only hope for Sali Berisha and his MPs is to hold tight to their alliance with Ilir Meta as the only point of contact with the West. It would be quite similar to how the Taliban would have an office in Qatar as their point of contact with the US.

Lini një Përgjigje