Albania Protests – Ex FBI agent points out Russian link

Tirana, Albania | 22 Feb 2019 (Tirana Echo) – A former FBI agent has pointed out Russia may be behind the latest wave of opposition protests, accusing former PM Berisha of being Putin’s puppet in the Adriatic.

Former FBI Mark Rossini, who played a role in trying to track al-Qaeda before its attacks against the US on September 11, 2001, tweeted during Thursday’s protest in Tirana that Russia wants to disrupt Albania’s accession into the European Union and hopes to get access to its warm Adriatic sea waters.

Here in Albania, protests going on now called by Russian influenced Sali Berisha. He and his family have lost power. If SB gets back power, Putin will steamroll through Kosova and Albania and get warm water port access in the Adriatic,” tweeted Rossini.

The former FBI agent whose reasons for visiting Albania’s capital Tirana during a massive opposition led protest is yet unknown, has suggested that Russia wants to disrupt Albania’s EU accession, months before the small Balkan country hopes to open membership talks with Brussels.

Rossini later tweeted from Tirana that “Albania is the last country on the Adriatic to join the EU, which is the goal of Merkel and Rama, and what all Albanians want.  Putin wants to destroy the EU and Albania in the EU denies his warm water port. Why is Berisha, Putin’s puppet?”.

Rossini’s mysterious intervention comes as Albania’s opposition parties DP and LSI have called for nationwide protests against the socialist government of PM Edi Rama, accusing him of links to corruption and organized crime.

Earlier in the week, Speaking at a Democratic Party internal meeting, former PM and historic leader of the democrats Sali Berisha said everything possible must be done in order to topple Rama’s government from power, sparking fears of destabilization efforts in Albania.

We have to undertake any action which brings Rama down. If we manage to give Albanian back their free right to vote, we would have made a righteous historical decision. If not, we remain a mere facade,” said Mr. Berisha.

Following another massive protest on Thursday, all opposition MPs formally gave up their parliamentary mandates, in what is seen as an unprecedented and highly negative development for Albania’s prospects of opening EU accession talks.

The United States and EU member states have condemned the hard-line and called on individual opposition MPs to reject their party leadership line arguing the extreme decision would “undermine the basic principles of democracy and subvert the important progress Albania has achieved on rule of law and responsible governance.”

European Union leaders agreed last June to start membership talks with Albania and Macedonia within 2019 if both small Balkan nations show substantial progress in their crucial rule of law reforms under way.

The Balkans is seen by Washington and Brussels as an economically deprived area of Europe where western interests clash with increasing foreign influences from the east, notably from Russia, China and Turkey.

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