Tirana, Washington resume relations

Issue 

Tirana, Washington resume relations

By Peter Annear

PRAGUE — After 52 years without diplomatic contact, the United States agreed to restore full diplomatic relations with Albania on March 15. Talks on resuming ties were virtually completed last September, but the Bush administration stalled, claiming human rights abuses were continuing in Albania.

The US government has taken a more guarded view of the regimes in Albania, Rumania and Bulgaria (where the former Communist regimes have led the reform process) compared to the Eastern European states in which Communist Party governments were overthrown.

Diplomatic ties between Washington and Tirana were severed in June 1939 after Italy's invasion of Albania. Talks on resuming relations began in 1945, but did not proceed. In fact, in the early 1950s the United States was actively involved in a paramilitary plot to overthrow the Albanian government.