To the editor:
I am responding to a letter from Valentino Lumaj, which was published by Illyria on October 29. My text draws on an official statement issued by the Biden Campaign ten days ago titled “Joe Biden’s Vision for Albania and Kosova.” The statement, which can be found on the Biden Campaign’s official web site, describes Biden’s track record on Albanian issues. It also asserts what Biden will do when elected President.
What Joe Biden Has Done:
- As Senator, Joe Biden was a preeminent voice in Congress standing up to Milosevic’s aggression. He defended the interests of Kosova when the world’s focus was elsewhere:
- Joe Biden introduced the 1999 resolution authorizing President Clinton “to conduct military air operations and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro.)” He mobilized support for the NATO air campaign and for the humanitarian response to Milosevic’s massive ethnic cleansing of Kosovars as the campaign unfolded.
- Joe Biden supported – and has staunchly defended – the independence of the Republic of Kosova, which is irreversible and in accordance with international law.
- Joe Biden has demanded justice for war crimes, including a full accounting of missing persons, and repeatedly pressed President Vucic for progress on the Bytyqi Brothers. He also has consistently pressed the region’s political leaders on the need to combat corruption.
- Joe Biden has maintained high-level U.S. interest in Kosova, visiting twice as Vice On a 2016 visit, Joe and Jill Biden, along with other family members, joined Kosova officials for the dedication of Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III National Highway honoring Joe’s late son, Beau, who served as a legal adviser in Kosova.
What Joe Biden Will Do:
- Reverse the Trump Administration’s imbalanced approach toward Kosova and Serbia, restoring fairness and equity in the relationships and working toward greater cooperation.
- Work in partnership with the European Union to revitalize the dialogue between Kosova and Serbia with the goal of facilitating a stabilizing, just, and comprehensive settlement between the two countries that respects Kosova’s territorial integrity and achieves full mutual recognition.
- Insist that justice for war crimes be pursued without fear or favor and demand full and swift accountability of all missing persons, including the Bytyqi Brothers.
- Support the NATO-KFOR mission, making decisions about U.S. troop deployments based on American security interests, not political calculations.
- Encourage the EU to make good on its promise to grant visa liberalization for citizens of Kosova and to take other steps to advance Kosova’s EU integration, including through the Stabilization and Association Agreement.
- Strengthen the U.S.-Albania relationship by growing our defense relationship to ensure Albania remains a strong NATO ally, expanding economic and trade relations between our two countries, and having honest conversations to hold each other accountable when we fall short of our democratic ideals.
- Support Albania on its path to EU membership. That means helping Albania to make the difficult reforms — including on rule of law, anti-corruption, and judicial and election reforms — required to move forward. It also includes working to make sure the EU’s doors remain open to countries like Albania when they are ready.
- With European partners and allies, help the region’s devastated economies recover from the pandemic and build a more secure economic future.
Albanian-Americans need an administration in Washington that supports Albanians. Vote for Joe Biden!
David L. Phillips
Friend of Albanians and Biden supporter