Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Donald Lu at the U.S. Presidential Election Breakfast

Honorable President Nishani, members of parliament, young friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me start this morning by offering our thoughts and our prayers for the victims of this terrible flooding that has been happening in Albania these past days.

And, let me continue with a confession. I have several different versions of the speech today. And I think that is a wonderful thing about democracy. It is unpredictable, it is exciting and it is something that both America and Albania share.

If you look around this room, you’ll see that we quite intentionally invited lots of young people to be with us here to celebrate the election of a new American President. So why would we ask so many young people – and when I say young, I mean young in age and young in heart – why would we ask so many young people to join us here today. Because you are truly the future of this democracy.

Democracy is one thing that binds us all together as Americans and Albanians.  It is messy.  It is complicated.  And, often filled with conflict and controversy — as it was this year in the United States.  But in the end, democracy guarantees us the freedoms we hold so dear.

The United States has elected the 45th President of the United States – Donald J. Trump.  This election was a vote for change in the United States, but it does not mean change in the relations between Albania and the United States.

The United States and Albania have had close relations through both Republican and Democratic administrations.  We are NATO allies.  We are partners in Afghanistan.  We have stood together against Russian aggression in Ukraine and in favor of Kosovar independence.  I am confident our relations will remain close under the Trump Administration.

One of the most important things in a democracy is vigorous and sometimes contentious debate.  In this election cycle, we have seen the candidates, the media, and supporters on all sides discuss issues – big and small – that affect our country and the world.  This morning you heard from President-elect Trump what truly defines a democracy – a peaceful transition of power and moving forward together as a nation.

As America ends this political campaign season, Albania is entering hers.  As we begin to heal the partisan divide between people on the right and on the left in America, Albanians will be beginning a long debate that will culminate in elections this June.

As two great democracies, let me offer the hope – on behalf of all of the Americans here today – that the Albanian people will make wise choices.  That they will debate about issues of consequence.  And that they will continue to embrace the democratic values that bind Albania to Europe and Albania to the United States of America.

Faleminderit shumë që keni ardhur. Faleminderit.