Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Jardine at the American Chamber of Commerce & Monitor Magazine Debate of Candidates Running for Tirana Mayor

Thank you very much. I also just want to take a few words.  I know you’ve been here all morning and I don’t want to take up any more of your time.  But I just want to say a few words on behalf of the U.S. Embassy to thank Mark Crawford, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce, board members of the Chamber and all those who made this happen.

Of course I want to thank Edmond Leka and the Monitor magazine, for this initiative.  I think this was a historic initiative where we had a chance to see some of the key candidates for Mayor here in Tirana and we got to see them, we got to hear from them directly: what are their policies, what are their ideas?

For the U.S. Embassy this is an important initiative, it is an opportunity for the voters to be better informed, and it is similar to some other efforts we’ve been doing around the country.  For instance, Ambassador Lu was just in Shkoder last week, I was also in Fier last week, participating and joining the YWCA and their efforts to have debates in those cities.

And we hope that there will be more such exchanges, more such efforts to get the information out to the voters, more such exchanges of ideas.  From the U.S. Embassy’s perspective, it is important that the voters be informed voters and they that have an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates.

And so, in closing, again, I want to thank everyone who has played a role in this.  And just to the Albanian voters, to the citizens out there: duhet të votoni!

You should be informed and you should vote.

So thank you all again very much for this initiative.