President Bush’s Trip to Albania
Relations between U.S. and Albania
...............................MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros.
QUESTION: On Albania, Mr. Casey, the citizens of the Greek town (inaudible) in the recent days are subjected to unrelenting question by the Albanian authorities to abandon their properties and their homes. Has the Department of State briefed the President on the precarious situation of the Greek minority in Albania since he's going to speak this coming Sunday in Tirana?
MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros, I'm sure that the President will raise a variety of bilateral and regional issues when he goes to Albania. I'm not aware of the specific instance that you're referring to. Again, Albania has a democratically elected government. It is a government that can speak for itself in terms of how it might be handling any internal disputes or internal issues within the country.
QUESTION: One more on Albania?
MR. CASEY: One more on Albania, okay, and then we've got to go back to this woman who's been waiting very patiently.
QUESTION: What role did Tom Ridge, who's stationed (inaudible) in Albania play in arranging the visit by President Bush to Albania? Did he consult with the Department of State or did (inaudible) --
MR. CASEY: I'm sorry, did --
QUESTION: -- with the Department of Justice for his representation of Albanian interest in this time?
MR. CASEY: I'm sorry, Mr. Lambros, did who arrange the visit? The visit was arranged by --
QUESTION: Tom Ridge, Tom Ridge. He's stationed in Albania and was going to be (inaudible) Department of State.
MR. CASEY: He's stationed in Albania as what? He's stationed in Albania as what?
QUESTION: Excuse me?
MR. CASEY: He's stationed in --
QUESTION: In Albania, yes, correct.
MR. CASEY: As what?
QUESTION: As PR man, as -- I think.
MR. CASEY: I have no idea what Mr. Ridge is doing. I have no idea whether he's in Albania or not. I do know that we have strong relations with our good friend and ally, Albania, and that the visit of the President of the United States represents that; and you can talk to the White House in terms of the greater specifics of it. But last time I looked, you know, PR companies aren't the representatives of sovereign governments either in the United States or Albania or any other place.
QUESTION: Thank you.