Albanians Protest Effort to Make Syria Chemical Disposal Their Problem

Protesters March on US Embassy, Condemning Proposal

Albania’s government has been reported by several sources to be open to the idea of disposing of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Protesters massed at the US embassy in Tirana today, however, to make it clear that’s not their position.

Yes, we can say no” was the theme of many of the banners, reflecting how controversial it is for modern Albania to even consider refusing a US proposal.

Norway and Lebanon already turned down proposals to take in the Syrian chemicals, and locals see it as a huge undertaking, and an environmental nightmare that isn’t Albania’s problem in the first place.

“Love Albania like the PM loves the US,” one sign declared, while activists argued that deciding on such an undertaking was a matter of sovereignty, and not something the international community ought to simply throw Albania’s way.

Prime Minister Edi Rama confirmed he has “discussed” the possibility with Secretary of State John Kerry, but no deal has been made yet. At the same time he has dismissed protesters as uninformed, and his hope to get his nation into the EU could mean pleasing Western nations will trump local wishes.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of