Tirana, on 19 June 2023
Following the Statement by the end of December 2022 on this issue, the Council of Albanian Ambassadors (CAA) notes with concern that the Ministry for Europe & Foreign Affairs (MEFA) and the Government in their proposing capacities are proceeding very slowly in the process of replacing nearly 50 Ambassadors of the Republic of Albania (out of the total 56 we have abroad) whose official term in office has ended up a number of years ago.
On this occasion, the Council of Albanian Ambassadors recalls that the Law on Diplomatic Service, as amended by this parliamentary majority in 2015 does clearly specify that the legal term of service for an Ambassador or Consul General is three years. After this period, he/she should be appointed either in another post abroad, or be back in Albania.
This 3- year old term has been purposely defined, so that our ambassadors would combine the stay abroad with that in Albania, to keep abreast with domestic realities, not to be excessively familiar with the state where they serve and also to provide other career diplomats the opportunity to be promoted as ambassadors, which helps establishing a corps of professional diplomats and ambassadors. This is a well-known and consolidated international practice with all other states being very strict in this respect, not permitting even a week after the legal term of office abroad!
As it was mentioned above, from 56 Ambassadors and Consul General that our country has worldwide, 50 of them have exceeded until their legal term of residence in a single country as long as three times. Whereas a couple of them have served over 15 consecutive years abroad! In this respect, we are indeed second to none to the UN member and non-member states!
Even more disturbing is the fact that over 10 ambassadors have exceeded long ago the retirement age, although there are many high-profile diplomats in our diplomatic service with an experience of over 20 years who could have easily replace them. Part of these ambassadors are staying mainly thanks to their political and nepotic connections.
Given the above-mentioned, the Council of Albanian Ambassadors welcomed last month the news on the beginning of the process of replacing 12 ambassadors who are now waiting to be decreed by the President of the Republic.
However, while going through concrete names, the Council expresses its disappointment since 10 from these 12 new ambassador candidates, who did also go through the hearing session in the Foreign Committee of the Assembly come from outside the diplomatic service – politics, other departments and areas and even from abroad.
Except for a single previous outstanding personality of the Assembly and another renowned politician, although party affiliated, who may be considered suitable for such an important diplomatic mission, all others leave room for public perceptions for these appointments to be seen much more as treats and rewards for various party services. This could have a negative impact on their future image and performance in the states where they will be accredited.
Among others, it is also worrying that in countries like the UK or in Germany, where historically speaking we have had career diplomats of a very high profile and proficiency, almost unknown persons in politics, diplomacy, economy and society are proposed to replace them.
Under these circumstances, the Council appeals to the MEFA, the Government, the Foreign Committee of the Assembly and to the President of the Republic to speed up the procedures for the appointment of the remaining of nearly 40 other ambassadors. But this should be done by avoiding the above-mentioned negative occurrences, where ambassadors from outside Foreign Service should be an exception and career diplomats should prevail.
The ambassadors from outside diplomatic service that maybe proposed should also be celebrated personalities in their areas of interest. We emphasize that such a large number of ambassadors from outside the system has not been the case neither during the single – party system nor in the first years of political pluralism.
Moreover, now we have a consolidated diplomatic corps, with experienced diplomats, both at home and abroad, with scientific degrees and high diplomatic grades, most of them women, who have devoted their entire life to their diplomatic career, who are certainly demotivated by such irrelevant appointments.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors suggests for the said appointments, that their fields of competence should be better take into consideration, sending them in states that are more compatible with our geopolitical, economic and cultural interests and requirements.
Last but not least, in these appointments one may also propose ambassadors with a rich career, who have been unlawfully removed from diplomatic service or the higher institutions where they have served with a diplomatic status. This practice, which has been also followed before, free from political and party prejudices would add to the reliability and efficiency of our diplomatic service.