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Did Albania’s prime minister call the US ‘one of the three evils in the world’?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama shake hands during their meeting in Tirana, Albania, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama shake hands during their meeting in Tirana, Albania, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Armando Babani
Copyright AP Photo/Armando Babani
By James Thomas
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A video circulating on social media claims to show Prime Minister Edi Rama labelling the US, Soviet Union and Israel as the world’s three “evils”.

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Prime Minister Edi Rama is known for his straight-talking, and his comments often serve as great fodder for headlines and social media posts.

He previously called the EU “a big mess and a disgrace” in 2022 after the bloc put Albania’s accession negotiations on ice, and who can forget his joke about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged role in the death of Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin?

New claims have emerged that he described the US as “evil” and a “devil”, yet his words have been taken out of context.

This post on X claims to show a video in which Rama discusses the world's three main evils.

It’s been seen over 4 million times as of the time of this fact-check and liked and reshared around 100,000 times altogether.

The video's caption takes Rama's words out of context
The video's caption takes Rama's words out of contextEuronews

The video begins with Rama immediately describing “three major devils”: the United States, the Soviet Union and Israel.

The post points out that the video is particularly striking because Rama makes the comments while addressing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Rama goes on to specify that these evils particularly refer to “American imperialism, Soviet social imperialism and Jewish Zionism”.

The prime minister did indeed say all these things, but the post on X contains a cropped video that has taken his words out of context.

He actually made the comments while speaking about Albania’s view on world affairs during its communist dictatorship era in the mid- to late 20th century.

The speech comes from a press conference held by Rama and Blinken in Tirana, Albania, in February, which can be found on the US Department of State’s official YouTube channel.

The remarks in question come from the end of the presser when the pair are responding to journalists.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama shake hands after a joint press conference in Tirana, Albania, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama shake hands after a joint press conference in Tirana, Albania, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.Armando Babani/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

One reporter notes that Albania recognised Palestine in 1988 before asking Rama whether he thinks a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine is still possible with the current Israeli government and how he and the US think this is achievable.

Rama recalls that when Albania was a communist dictatorship, the country’s leader Enver Hoxha was one of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s “closest friends and allies”.

During the Hoxha years, Albania was first an ally of the Soviet Union and then openly rejected it for China over its alleged failure to adhere to Marxist beliefs.

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At the time, the Balkan country was often pegged as the “North Korea of Europe” for its strict isolationist and contrarian politics.

Rama said at the press conference that, back then, the Albanian regime was also “very viciously against three major devils” before listing the US, the Soviet Union and Israel.

He then went on to describe how Albania welcomed and protected Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. 

Famously, Albania was the only European country where the Jewish community was bigger after World War II than before the pogroms and the Holocaust.

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Rama confirmed that he still sees a two-state solution as the only way for Israel and Palestine but notes that this will require huge political will and reform from the countries involved and the international community.

He finishes by saying he doesn’t envy Blinken’s position at all, striking a friendly tone that confirms his country’s positive relations with the US — a far cry from viewing it as “evil” or a “devil”.

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