New interior minister should actively fight organized crime, Lu says
TIRANA, March 15 – U.S. Ambassador to Tirana, Donald Lu, said Wednesday that he expects from the newly-appointed interior minister, Fatmir Xhafaj, “to actively fight organized crime and act impartially as the country prepares for the parliamentary elections.”
In an interview for Voice of America, Ambassador Lu was asked to comment the recent cabinet reshuffle and the shakeup in the ministry of interior affairs, one of the institutions targeted by the opposition. He underlined that “new energies are needed for fight against organized crime and narcotics to succeed.”
“If Mr. Xhafaj undertakes an aggressive approach against narcotics and organized crime, he will have our full support,” Ambassador Lu said noting that the embassy has been collaborating with Xhafaj during the process of judiciary reform. “We have worked closely with Mr. Xhafaj when he was chair of the parliamentary committee of laws and in regards to the justice reform.”
Xhafaj is one of the four new ministers that have joined Edi Rama’s cabinet this week.
Earlier this week, the opposition considered Xhafaj’s appointment as a provocative act.
In a televised interview, the chairman of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, said that Xhafaj “had dragged the reform for over a year and a half and served to the agenda of Prime Minister Rama for capturing the judiciary system.”
Basha blamed Xhafaj for the “exclusion of the opposition from justice reform.”
In addition the opposition says as a communist-era former prosecutor, Xhafa should not be in public life at all, let alone having a powerful cabinet seat.
A photo of young Xhafa with communist dictator Enver Hoxha went viral on social media after his appointment became public.