Joint Statement Issued by the U.S. Ambassador in Tirana, the Head of Delegation of the European Union in Tirana, and the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania (18/01/2012)

18 January 2012

21 January 2011 was a painful day in Albania’s recent history, with violent demonstrations in the Albanian capital.  On that tragic day, four protesters were killed and dozens of others were injured, including other protesters, bystanders and police officers.  We would like to again express compassion for the family members of the victims of this senseless and inexcusable violence.

It is necessary to shed full light on the 21 January events through a credible judicial procedure, including a comprehensive, independent investigation free from political interference.  The Albanian people rightfully expect justice to be delivered.  In that context, we believe the Albanian General Prosecutor’s Office is the appropriate organization to conduct this investigation, and that institution has our full confidence and support.

Ensuring respect for the rule of law is an essential element of democratic societies and a prerequisite to move forward on EU integration.  This is also part of the aspirations of Albanian citizens.

21 January 2012 should be more than a day of remembrance.  It should also be an occasion for all Albanian citizens to look to the future and for political forces to reinforce their political dialogue, cooperation on EU integration and the reform process.

We therefore encourage political leaders to give precedence to the country’s interests and those of its citizens over partisan considerations and focus on working together on concrete steps to decisively take Albania forward on the reform path in 2012.