Until When Will Albanians Astonish the World?

By Ilir Keko

Alternativa Social Demokrate

September 29, 1993

Roland Bimo, the Albanian Ambassador in the USA, has been seen for several days walking the streets of Tirana. This fact makes an impression, when at least half of the state’s senior government officials (Deputy Prime Minister Kopliku, Minister of Foreign Affairs Serreqi, Minister of Finance and Economy Ruli, and Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Konda), top leaders of the ruling party (head of the Democratic Party and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission Selami, Chairman of the DP Parliamentary Group Spahia) and several senior officials (Governor of the Bank of Albania Hoti, Director of the Bank Xhyheri, Director of the International Relations Department Fullani) are visiting the USA these days. So, it sounds strange, and is a diplomatic act not frequently practiced. The ambassador, responsible for accompanying senior Albanian officials and participating in official meetings as a member of the delegation, is actually in Albania, while they are accompanied…

Who is accompanying the Albanian senior officials these days in Washington and New York?

An employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who accepted “to speak” with the condition of not mentioning his name, because he is married and has a wife and children to care for, said that … Idriz Konjari went to the USA one week ago …

That is all he could say. Pushed by the curiosity of a journalist, we managed to identify who Idriz Konjari is and the reason for his trip. We decided to make these facts public not for the sake of this case but as a work principle…

Idriz Konjari – a mechanical engineer, who worked the past two years as a driver at the American Embassy in Tirana (the second driver for Ambassador Ryerson), was recently appointed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assigned to study South Korea…  But the study didn’t last long. Another assignment of special importance made him leave South Korea for America. His mission: “Be in charge of the embassy until a second order.”

And that Idriz Konjari, who had listened of America only in the American embassy, is actually the head of the Albanian embassy in the super-state of the world and at the center of world politics. He organizes the visits and meetings of Albanian officials and authorities with American officials and authorities; advocates for Albania’s foreign policy at the high American institutions and exchanges ideas about the possibility to develop relations and collaborations of mutual interest with diplomats having a consolidated career in Washington!

Misters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs do not put in a bad position the people (your employees), who with their limited knowledge of diplomacy cannot even go to Djibouti.

America is not a place to organize guide trips to learn diplomacy …

And remember! Albania is perceived through these people. Are they the adequate representatives of Albania? And should Albania develop its image through them? Mr. Serreqi can provide an answer to that, when he comes back to Albania, if he considers it appropriate.

The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot deny the fact that on September 29, 1993, the Albanian Ambassador to the USA, Roland Bimo, walks the streets of Tirana. While the person in charge of the Albanian embassy in the USA, newly assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, walks the streets of Washington.

In addition, Albanians already used to abnormal appointments, are not impressed by such matters. However, we would kindly advise the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to try not to reveal the ignorance of the institution they represent to foreigners. It is not fair that because of one person’s or several persons’ wish, foreigners laugh at Albania. For those who behave in a way to be laughed at and don’t feel ashamed, then let them be like that (i.e. a clown). But they should leave Albania in peace because Albania owes them nothing. On the contrary, it is these people who owe Albania a lot and who can never pay it back, because of their frequent misbehavior.

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About Fred Abrahams

Author of Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy (NYU Press, 2015)

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