By Zeljko Trkanjec
(EurActiv) — Former Albanian President Sali Berisha is set to sue the current US Secretary Antony Blinken for defamation after Blinken accused the former president of corrupt acts that undermined democracy in Albania.
“I am publicly designating Berisha and his immediate family members as ineligible for entry into the United States. We remain United against corruption with our partners in Albania,” he stated.
According to Berisha, Blinken does not have any immunity and his lawyer will sue him publicly in France, at the Correctional Tribunal of Pari. Berisha said that Blinken does not have any evidence against him and his family.
“I publicly authorised my lawyer to sue Mr. Blinken because he publicly offended me without any evidence. This is an unusual decision, but I was forced to take it because he said many untruths about me,” said Berisha.
“I was the president of the Republic, the prime minister of Albania. I have been responsible for my people’s dignity and I have done everything in my power to defend it. Today, I am responsible for my dignity,” Berisha added.
He said that this was a decision he had never thought he would take, but that he had to defend his dignity. Nothing is more important than Albania’s relations with the United States, Berisha remarked, adding that he will keep “the best possible relation” with the US ambassador to Albania. Finally, Berisha accused Blinken of playing “political comedy” to harm him.
The identification of Berisha by Blinken as a person barred from entering the United States for high-level corruption is based on the Anti-Kleptocracy and Human Rights Clause, as referred to in Article 7031 (c) of the Law on Funding of the State Department, Overseas Operations and Related Programs. This clause aims to fight corruption as well as support human rights by targeting foreign actors, corrupt or involved in human rights violations, who are denied US visas.