US Relations, Senators Chris Murphy and Gary Peters, an exclusive interview for A2 CNN

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A2 CNN: I indicated at the start of the conversation that you are both familiar with the situation in Albania. What are the thoughts of two American senators when, in the recent elections, two people deemed “non grata” by the Secretary of State for massive corruption and undermining democracy headed the campaign for two parties? One leader of the opposition and one majority supporter?

Senator Peters: Of course, it is critical to ensure that the government battles corruption and eradicates it from Albanian politics. People must have faith in the system and think that those who represent them are not corrupt in any way in order to build a strong democracy. So Albania must continue its journey to develop democracy, as we all do, and as we in the United States of America do all the time. Democracy is not something you can just acquire; it is a constant challenge. You must always ensure that you are fighting for the principles of a free and democratic society. Finally, it is up to Albanians to demand that corruption be removed from the system in order to enhance democracy in the country.

Senator Murphy: Albania has made tremendous success in its anti-corruption efforts. Of course, there are still reforms to be implemented, but for the time being, we have seen significant development in the legal system, with those who were inside the system and wanted to gain from their positions departing, and this is a clear indication that this country is determined to fight corruption. Senator Peters is correct, we all have challenges, don’t we? The United States of America can’t go around the world pretending to be flawless. Our democracy, too, has flaws. So, one of the reasons we’re here is to work on common issues, so that more people vote in elections and abusers are punished as harshly as possible.

A2 CNN: Prime Minister Rama has declared that he expects a gift from the United States for his birthday on July 4. Do you have any ideas what it could be?

Senator Murphy: I’m not sure; we’ll talk about it with our colleagues when we go back and see what we can accomplish. Of course, while adhering to your ethical standards. The good news is that support for Albania is a patriotic issue in the United States of America. It is neither a Democrat nor a Republican issue. Both parties strongly support Albania. We’ll go back and talk with our Republican colleagues about what kind of bipartisan gift we can give.

A2 CNN: Prime Minister Rama is cited multiple times in the McGonigal trial in the United States. His political opponents in Albania accuse him of leveraging his links with the former senior FBI official to target them. Are you concerned by the relationship between the Albanian Prime Minister and Mr. McGonigal, and how does it effect relations between Washington and Tirana?

Senator Murphy: Of course, I am not concerned about Albanian relations. They have never been better. These are serious allegations, but they are already part of a criminal investigation that is currently ongoing. As members of the United States Senate, we are usually very careful not to comment on topics that are still under investigation, whether for US citizens or people of other nations. We are monitoring the situation and waiting for it to conclude.

A2 CNN: Senators, thank you for your time!

Murphy and Peters: Thank you kindly! It was an honor!

CNN A2: Thank you very much!