John Bolton is one of the most prominent figures in the Republican Party and former US ambassador in the United Nations. Known as one of the “hawks” of President Bush, he was one of the possible candidates to be named as Secretary of State and National Security adviser, today is one of the most closest mans to Donald Trump. Invited tonight on Top Story of Sokol Balla, he talked about the US, Russia, the Balkans, Soros, justice reform and to answer the question if Washington policy in Tirana will change.
“I am here to stay with the Iranian opposition to celebrate the Iranian New Year, Sultan Nowruz. It’s my first trip to Albania and it is my pleasure to visit the country”, he said, adding the role of Albania in adminiting with the refugee status thousands of Iranians was more then welcomed.
He also spoke about the Balkans, as a region he has knowledge. “It is part of a bigger issue involving Russia, USA and NATO. I have been a big supporter for Albania to join NATO and I am pleased it happened. I think security in the region depend on weather Moscow realizes it can no longer exercise its influence in it”, he said.
“There are public reports in US that prove Russia has tried to interfere in the elections there. Not by supporting any candidate, but by just undermining the belif Americans had in their institutions. If Russia will try to intervene also in the Balkans, including Albania, I think there will be consecuences. People do not want to return under the Warsaw Pact. US will be more vigilant through NATO and bilateral agreements for this not to happen”.
Asked what could happen in the region in a moment where the general perception is US is not so focused in the region as before, Ambassador Bolton said the Trump administration knows the Balkans is a difficult situation. “We know Russia wants to return to the Soviet Union era and possibly expand its sphere of influence. This risk, together with radicalism and terrorism exists for the region, but the US has given the European Union more freedom of movement. I know Albania and other countries would like to be part of EU, but stability and peace comes through NATO and not EU”, Bolton said.
Asked about some concernes expressed lately from some republican senators about billionare George Soros, Bolton said there are many people who see his acitivites in Central and Eastern Europe as concerning. “I do not believe so much in conspiracy theories. But anyway he was part of the Obama dministration chain and with time passing, some things will change”, Bolton Said. “The new administration requires some time to tace in control many aspects of the American policy, because it is very complicated and perhaps we will need to make transition as smoother as we can. But in any case we need to be patient because change will come”.
Some of the opposition and other political factors in Albania hope the Trump administration will have a different approach towards the country, firstly because Prime Minister Edi Rama criticized Trump during the campaign, and because he is considered as an element supported by Soros. But Mr Bolton said: “I am not here as a representative of the Trump administration and I hope to talk to people from both political spheres. But I can say many people in the world criticized Trump and American foreign policy will not be based on such things.