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President Begaj’s Address on the Occasion of the United States Independence Day

It is a special pleasure to address you today on the occasion of the United States of America’s Independence Day. This date stands in human history as a monument to the commemoration and honoring of the values of freedom, democracy, and human dignity. In 1776, the founders of the United States of America made a bold declaration: “All men are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Albania has been deeply inspired by American principles of freedom and democracy. The relationship between Albania and the United States is a testament to the enduring power of these principles and their profound impact on shaping the fate of a nation, our nation. Our historical friendship is based on mutual respect, shared values, and joint commitments to peace and prosperity.

Albanians have maintained their sacred code of friendship, gratitude, and trust throughout the centuries. They never forget those who have helped them, stood by them, and offered a helping hand in difficult times. The United States was there for us at the beginning of the 20th century when Albania sought to become “sovereign, free, and independent.” President Wilson was a strong advocate for the Albanian right to self-determination and preservation from dismemberment. His stance was crucial for the Albanian state.

This support and friendship did not end there. After half a century of isolation, America was the first to support, guide, and assist us in establishing a new, free, democratic, and pluralistic system. America was there again for the Albanians in the spring of 1999.

NATO, led by the United States, stopped the Serbian genocide and paved the way for the creation of the second Albanian state, the Republic of Kosovo. The intervention of the United States was vital for the liberation of Kosovo. This decisive action brought not only peace to the region but also reinforced the principles of justice and human rights.

The United States has strongly supported Albania’s membership in NATO and the process towards European Union integration. This support has been crucial in strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, promoting economic development, and enhancing our security. One of the most significant contributions of the United States to Albania remains the justice reform, essential for the health of our democracy and the path to European Union integration.

Albania, under the light of history, strives to maturely analyze the present to better orient its future. Albania remains deeply committed to energizing our strategic partnership with renewed momentum and concrete results—from close political coordination, strengthening the rule of law, expanding our trade ties and mutual investments, enhancing security and defense cooperation, to intensifying educational and cultural exchanges.

Dear friends, today, in a world filled with uncertainties and challenges, the relationship between Albania and the United States is more important than ever. The global landscape is characterized by a series of crises, the war in Ukraine, and the situation in the Middle East, geopolitical tensions, economic instability, and threats to freedom, democracy, and human rights. In such an unstable world, our strategic partnership serves as a pillar of strength and shared security.

The recent visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Tirana was a testament to the strength of this partnership. The Secretary of State reiterated the importance of our relations in the face of geopolitical changes and underscored Albania’s role as a key partner for stability in the Western Balkans.

Albanians value the friendship with the American people. At the heart of this friendship is both the old and new Albanian community in America, our Diaspora.

On this special day, we join you in commemorating your rich history and enduring principles. Let us honor the friendship between Albania and the United States, a friendship deeply rooted in shared values and a common vision for a just and peaceful world.

Happy Independence Day!