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HELSINKI COMMISSION LEADERS DEPLORE VIOLENCE IN ALBANIA

WASHINGTON –Leaders of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) today expressed their deep regret that protests in the Albanian capital of Tirana have left at least three people dead and dozens injured. 

“The injuries and loss of life seen today in Tirana, simply and sadly, did not have to happen,” said U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Commission Chairman. “I deplore the violent tactics that some people today have chosen amid the heightened political rhetoric.   They chose to ignore the call by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana and others for peaceful political expression. As the embassy rightly stated, the people of Albania deserve better than this.”

“After overcoming so much, it is deeply disappointing that some in Albania, for their own political ends, are willing to risk the country’s strong and shared aspirations for European integration and a democratic, prosperous future,” said Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL),who has followed the country’s affairs for more than a decade and visited to observe the 2009 elections. “Only if political leaders in power and in opposition engage each other with a greater deal of decency and respect for human rights and the rule of law can the country truly move forward on needed reforms.  They need to do that starting now.”

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