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Albania

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Albania is a country east of Italy across the Adriatic Sea and touching Greece, with a population of about three million and capital city of Tirana. In 2007, George W. Bush was the first U.S. leader to visit the country, which is a close ally of the U.S. [1] [2]

Media

The BBC says of the country's media:

The public broadcaster, Albanian Radio and TV (RTSh), operates national radio and TV networks. It faces competition from private stations, which have mushroomed since the late 1990s. Political parties, religious groups and state bodies are not allowed to own private TV and radio stations.[1]

U.S./Albania military relationship

In 2003 during a visit to the U.S., the Defence Minister of Albania, Pandeli Majko, said that Washington only needs to ask if it wants to set up a military base in Albania. [3]

In 1999, Albania asked the U.S. to keep its soldiers permanently in Albania. [4]

Donald Rumsfeld visit

In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld, then U.S. Secretary of Defense, visited the country. As reported in GlobalSecurity.org, Rumsfeld "noted that Albania has signed a bilateral Article 98 Agreement by which it has pledged to protect Americans from being turned over to the International Criminal Court." He said that the U.S. government and military appreciates this. The subject of a U.S. military base in the country came up but no details were given. U.S. forces are conducting exercises of a "very confidential nature" according to Albanian Defense Minister Pandeli Majko. [5]

Albania Hires Former Homeland Security Secretary as Lobbyist

In 2006 the government of Albania hired Tom Ridge, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as its lobbyist. Ridge had headed DHS from January 2003 to February 2005. After leaving the post, he formed a Washington, DC consulting firm, Ridge Global. [6]

In June 2008, Ridge filed a lobbying disclosure form on his work for the government of Albania -- nearly two years late. Ridge signed a $480,000, one-year contract with Albania in September 2006, to help the country "develop an overall homeland defense strategy based on land, air and sea security." The contract identified Ridge as the "lead on strategic advice" for the Albanian government. Ridge's firm, Ridge Global, no longer works for Albania. [7]

A spokesperson for the firm said Ridge didn't think he needed to disclose his Albania work. But the Justice Department, which maintains a database of lobbyists working with foreign entities, thought he did. The Department contacted Ridge's firm, "after a story about Ridge's work appeared in the press." According to a September 2006 Associated Press article, Ridge's "main priority" was "to help Albania meet its goal of joining NATO in 2008." Albania began accession talks with NATO in April 2008. [7]

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Country profile: Albania, BBC, accessed January 2008.
  2. Timeline: Albania, BBC, accessed January 2008.
  3. "Albania Ready to Host US Military Base", Southeast European Times, May 18, 2003.
  4. "Albania invites U.S. troops to stay", United Press International/HighBeam, June 21, 1999.
  5. "Rumsfeld Thanks Albania for Support in Iraq, Afghanistan", GlobalSecurity.org, June 10, 2003.
  6. "The Honorable Thomas J. Ridge," Ridge Global website, accessed June 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Ridge Finally Files Albania Work," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), June 23, 2008.

Tobacco document information regarding the country of Albania

Leaders

  • Bamir Topi, President
  • Sali Berisha, Prime minister, from the centre-right Democratic Party, won general elections held in July 2005

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References


External articles

External resources

  • Albania, National Geographic, accessed January 2008.

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