The United States has contacted Albania to provide for the destruction of Syrian weapons within its territory - this is what was officially confirmed by the Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati, during an interview with the French newspaper "Le Monde" . Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, visiting on Monday 4 November in Paris, where he was received by his counterpart Laurent Fabius, confirmed to "Le Monde" that Washington "urged" his government. "But we didn't make any decisions that day - he confirmed -. We have not even come down to the level of technical discussions ".
Several other countries urged by the United States have refused, including Norway. Albania represents some advantages, above all geographic, due to its geographical proximity and the ease of possible transport of stocks by sea. Furthermore, it has particular experience regarding the neutralization of the chemical arsenal. In the 2007, in fact, it was the first nation to completely destroy its arsenal, accumulated under the regime of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha.
Prudence of the Albanian government
In the case of the Syrian arsenal, however, the size of the stocks to be dismantled and the security conditions in Albania impose a warning of another measure.
So time is running out for Washington. The organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) announced that its inspectors, who had arrived in Syria a month ago, had reported the 1.000 stock total of tons of chemical agents and 290 tons of chemical weapons declared by Damascus.
The Board of Directors of theOPAC must establish a calendar by November 15. Officially, Washington remains optimistic about the possibility of meeting the 30 June 2014 deadline, the date by which the destruction should be completed. For now, the Albanian government has expressed itself very cautiously. We are faced with a complex equation.
As a state among the poorest in Europe, Albania needs Western supporters. But other considerations also come into play and explain the lack of public response for several days to the American question. In fact, two days after its entry into public office and in the aftermath of an electoral promise on a very sensitive issue in Albania, Edi Rama decided to ban the import of toxic, dangerous or non-hazardous waste. In November 2011, the central government on the right Sali Berisha had authorized the import of 55 toxic chemicals, infuriating the organizations that defend the environment.
Environmental associations already on a war footing
"Post-communist Albania was not so thrifty on environmental issues," explains Albert Rakipi, director of the Albanian Institute of International Affairs. It would be totally wrong to say yes today, a few weeks after the ban decided by the new government. This would create confusion among the people. Furthermore, this is not the way to grow Albania. If we consider that tourism has real economic potential, we need to be consistent. "
The Alliance against the import of waste (AKIP) has collected over 64.000 signatures (well beyond the threshold of 50.000 requests) to request a referendum on the issue of toxic waste. The Constitutional Court had considered this petition valid and the referendum should have taken place at the end of December, before the ban decided by the Rama government.
"We are now facing a greater contradiction - highlights Blendi Kajsiu, one of the representatives of theAKIP-. In Albania, governments tend to be subservient to Western allies, the United States, or European countries. They seek their legitimacy outside. But who takes into account, in this case, Albanian interests? Given the weak administrative capacity of our state and the high risk of the Syrian arsenal, there would be a recipe for disaster ".
The 15 in March 2008 an explosion in an ammunition dump in the village of Gërdec, near Tirana, killed 26 people and caused hundreds of injuries. A US company was tasked with destroying the stockpiles of old ammunition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.