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"Berisha, statesman", former ambassador Arvizu clarifies the sensational statement, reveals two conversations with Rama and the former prime minister
Written by SOT.COM.AL 21 Janar 2021
"Berisha behaves like a statesman", was this sensational statement made by former US Ambassador Alexander Arvizu in January 2011 after January 21. Arvizu explained today in "Real Story" on News24 this statement of his and the negotiations with Rama and Berisha to calm the situation and reduce the bloodshed in the following days.
Arvizu's statement in Real story
The week after January 21 was very tense for me, as we were not sure if the violence would not extend into the days that followed. The following week and January 28, and the possibility that other people might be killed. I had many meetings with Prime Minister Berisha and Mayor Rama. Neither side withdrew. Rama promised me that the homage protest would be peaceful. I reminded her that it was not like that, despite the promises of January 21, but she told me: "This will be different!". Berisha was very agitated and told me that he would organize a counter rally. I told him it was a terrible idea, but he did not back down. I also talked to other people. Phil Gordon, assistant secretary of state, and Elliot Engel were some of the people I spoke to. They got him on the phone for him to withdraw. Finally, Berisha agreed. Debby Jones, My deputy ambassador had told me that Berisha would never do that. That he would not back down because he would be ashamed in public. I did not believe this. As a result of these joint calls against this bad idea, he withdrew and when asked at a press conference I responded.
I could have simply said: "We welcome this decision of the Prime Minister". But I thought how much Berisha had suffered to make this decision and I called it a behavior like a statesman, who listened to us and withdrew. No he did not ask, it was my spontaneous reaction.
Both sides tried to influence the situation and in the case of the US, I think that because at the end of his term, the former ambassador Withers, had difficult relations with PM Berisha, and good relations with Edi Rama, had a perception that he was closer to the Socialists. Although the opposite was true, it was the perception, even at the State Department, before I arrived. I tried to give the message that, I knew there was such a perception. Many people, even when they believe a lie, it starts to look real. Thus I thought everything had happened before my arrival on December 2, 2010; I needed to strengthen the credibility of the United States to help de-escalate the situation. I need to get people to look at me, someone who does not become a partner. Of course, we work with governments,
Më kujtohet se Berisha i axhituar, ma bëri të qartë mua dhe Tom Countrymen, se nëse do kishte një përpjekje të dytë (nga Edi Rama), reagimi i autoriteteve do ishte edhe më i ashpër se në 21 janar.
E di që Berisha në intervistë në “Real Story” para dy vjetësh, ka thënë që do ta vriste Edi Ramën, por unë mbaj mend atë që thashë. I thashë se ajo që ndodhi në 21 janar ishte dite e dhimbshme për ata që humbën jetën, ditë e shëmtuar për Shqipërinë dhe se tani të gjithë duhet të ftohnin gjakrat. “Përfshirë dhe ju zoti Kryeministër”, i thashë atij direkt.
Nuk i thashë Ramës tekstualisht çfarë më tha Berisha, por sigurisht e perifrazova pa i ndryshuar kuptimin. “Ju e dini më mirë se unë, se nëse gjërat dalin sërish jashtë kontrollit, situata do të jetë edhe më e keqe se në 21 janar.”
Unë kujtoj se kishte disa zëra se pas 21 janarit, 28 janari do të ishte më keq. Se do kishte më shumë protestues. Kryeministri kishte anuluar antimitingun, por ai vazhdonte të ishte shumë i axhituar. Emocionet ishin të larta, sidomos pas vdekjes së protestuesve. Edhe jeta e Edi Ramës ishte në rrezik dhe mua më kujtohet se folëm me të, edhe për këtë.
Unë isha i ri në detyrë, po kështu edhe ambasadori i BE-së, Ettore Sequi, si dhe ambasadori i OSBE-së Volfart, nuk kishte shumë në këtë detyrë. Tani mendoj: a mund të ishte kjo një rastësi, apo disa faktorë politikë e përdorën këtë rrethanë?
Ten years later, he stands by that saying? Some people liked what I said, Berisha and his supporters liked it. He helped us at the embassy to have for a few months, a good cooperation with the government. Unfortunately, it did not last long. If I had said otherwise? Maybe yes. But there was a reason why I said it at the time. It may not have been the best paraphrase, but I stick to what I said that day