Yuri Kim in «V»: Geography is what matters – That’s why Greece and Albania are important countries
The US Ambassador in Tirana, Yuri Kim, participated in the 5th Southeast Europe Energy Forum 2021 together with the US Ambassadors in Greece, Jeffrey Payat, to Northern Macedonia, Kate Mary Byrnes, in Bulgaria, Herro Mustafa, and in Serbia, Anthony F. Godfrey.
In her speech, Yuri Kim noted that energy production in Albania comes almost exclusively from hydropower plants and although it is a renewable energy source, it depends mainly on the weather conditions and in particular on the amount of annual rainfall, which makes a country with a shortage of electricity that is not enough to meet the ever-increasing needs of consumers. In this light, the American ambassador referred to a series of projects that have American support and aim to make Albania a «consistent producer of green energy», as she characteristically stated.
Some countries prefer Albania outside the European Union and NATO
Speaking to Viadiplomacy, he said that Tirana has made great progress in the process of joining the European Union, with many of them being painful and very, very difficult. «Some people really do not want this to happen, but the US Embassy and I are moving forward, holding hands,» she said.
Asked by «V» if there are any difficulties in this perspective, he said: «Yes, some countries prefer Albania not to be in favor of Europe and in favor of America and we know which countries are traditionally. Fortunately in Albania because they have their own their history with these countries and because of experience, they know the truth.»
Important countries Albania and Greece for the USA
Regarding the American presence and the importance of the port of Durres, he noted that «in 2021, some activities took place in Albania but also in Greece, where 26,000 troops were involved (referring to the Defender exercise) from 28 countries and then 13 countries which did other activities. Albania has been the host in most of the activities and that is very important. It is the largest and most multifaceted American exercise in the Western Balkans ever conducted since World War II.
For Albania we had 3 generals with 4 stars who came for the exercise. This never happened again. In fact, on Tuesday another General will come who wants to consider how to work in and for Albania. It is simple. Look at the map, the history. Geography is what matters. This is why Greece and Albania are important countries. Albania may not be big, but it is in favor of the Americans and if you look at the region, the eastern Mediterranean and the American strategy, the new strategy and Albania can be part of it and I think Greece can also be part of it. . »
We support the Open Balkans Initiative
Regarding the Albania, Northern Macedonia and Serbia «Open Balkans” Initiative, Yuri Kim said, “We support any initiative that provokes great cooperation in the Eastern Balkans. The open Balkans are now being criticized because three countries are participating and three countries are not participating from the Western Balkans. We hope the other three countries will participate. And we know that these countries do not participate by choice, not because the other three said they are excluded. We hope to create an appropriate condition for these 3 countries to participate. It is useful, it will help towards a full integration into the European Union.»