17 August 2020 President Meta: The responsibility for the situation in Kakavija lies solely upon the Albanian government. I apologize on behalf of the state to all citizens who made extraordinary sacrifices
In recent days we have all been shocked by the extraordinary humanitarian situation that was created in Kakavija, where thousands of Albanian emigrants and citizens, children and the elderly, were left for days abandoned and in extremely difficult conditions.
I have always been and continue to be cooperative with the government, to become part of the awareness as well as acting and constantly appealing on the responsibility that everyone must take to overcome together, at the lowest possible cost, the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Albania.
The situation created in Kakavija has to do only with the responsibilities not exercised in due time by the Albanian government towards its citizens.
As has often happened, the government finds excuses by pointing the finger across the border while it is its primary responsibility to take all measures and care for its citizens in a timely manner.
What information and clarification has been given to people traveling abroad and in particular to those traveling to Greece?
What timely warnings and predictions has the Albanian government made?
Has there been any official announcement from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs on the quota of 700 people passing the border per day?
The responsibility is only on the Albanian government and the state.
There have been long queues even in normal situations as the crossing point in Kakavija carries a fairly large traffic load with the neighboring state, and traditionally the month of August remains overloaded, especially in this year’s extraordinary pandemic conditions, where it was required a very special treatment, through information, preparations and planning in order to prevent what happened and that shocked everyone.
The long kilometers of Albanians at the border, especially in the conditions of the pandemic, are unjustified by our authorities.
A responsible government does not react after the creation of emergency situations, but it prevents such situations that not only violate the integrity and dignity of citizens, but also endanger the health of thousands of citizens who spent days and nights in difficult conditions.
None of the institutions informed the citizens before leaving on the conditions of entry at the border with the neighboring country.
Neither for the tests in the last 72 hours, nor for the result translated into English, and no other information was given.
Moreover, the government blamed the citizens themselves for creating long queues.
This is unforgivable and unacceptable because it is just irresponsibility.
I thank the media in particular, for the extraordinary role it played in informing and raising awareness about that situation and the suffering of Albanian citizens.
I thank journalists who came to the aid of many families and in one case even thanks to their contribution the life of an 11-month-old child was saved.
We are a record country in terms of the number of immigrants, I appeal to all and especially the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, for the pandemic conditions themselves, and all the main structures must follow with priority the movement and circulation of our citizens.
They need to update and communicate daily information on movement abroad and above all the government needs to provide free tests for our citizens.
A test of 120-140 euros is unaffordable by a family with several members.
The Albanian government must subsidize the tests and take immediate measures so that the situation created in Kakavija is not repeated in the future at any border crossing point.
The country needs today, more than ever, accountability and care for all our citizens.
I apologize as President of the Republic, to all our citizens, who spent those days and those nights with extraordinary sacrifices!