Albania’s UN Ambassador to PM Berisha: Don’t take Mojahedin Khalq

In correspondence sent to former Prime Minister Sali Berisha in 2012, Albania’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Sedje Qerimaj, suggests that Albania would do better to provide financial assistance than accommodate members of the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group.
In a copy of this correspondence provided to Panorama, the UN Ambassador informs former Prime Minister Berisha about two meetings held in Geneva as part of the effort to find a solution for the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. According to this correspondence, on March 15, 2012, Ambassador Qerimaj held a meeting with Volker Türk, director of the Department of International Protection at the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in which Albania was asked to take a group of refugees, to accept their placement in a temporary base, and to give financial assistance to the UNHCR project.
In another meeting organized on March 23, 2012 by the UNHCR and attended by representatives of 30 countries of the world, Albania’s ambassador to the UN, stressed in his speech that the country was considering all options for making a contribution to finding a final solution to this problem.
At the conclusion of the correspondence, Ambassador Former Prime Minister Berisha Qerimaj suggests that the grant of even a modest financial contribution would suffice as Albania’s contribution to efforts to find a final solution to this problem. Despite this, former Prime Minister Berisha, after consultations with the USA agreed to give refuge in our country to the Iranian Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group.
FULL LETTER OF ALBANIA’S UN AMBASSADOR TO PM BERISHA
Nr.Prot.143 Geneva on March 26, 2012
Re: On the issue of Iranian dissidents, residents of Camp Ashraf
To: SH.T.Z. Sali Berisha Prime Minister of Albania
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Let me inform you of the outcome of the two meetings held in Geneva, as part of the effort to find a solution for the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq*.
(* Clarification: In June 2008, the Iraqi government decided to close Camp Ashraf, where about 3200 Iranian dissidents had lived since the 1980s. In 2011 the Iraqi government decided to extend the closure of the camp until April 30, 2012. In September 2011, after UNHCR intervention, there followed around 3246 applications for refugee status from residents in Camp Ashraf. The camp is in the process of relocating to the Airport area of Baghdad, to a former US military base, as the last stage of finding a final solution outside Iraq.)
First, on March 15, 2012, our ambassador at the UN Office in Geneva met Mr. Volker Türk, director of the Department of International Protection at the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at his request. Director Türk expressed his gratitude for Albania’s continued assistance to the UNCHR (he cited the case of receipt of those released from Gitmo) and urged considering the possibility that the Albanian 1. accept a refugee group,
2. accept the establishment of an interim distribution base,
3. grant financial assistance for the UNHCR project,
Ambassador Qerimaj assured Mr. Türk that he will convey to the Albanian authorities the UNCHR’s requirements and that the government of our country would examine all possibilities to take part in finding a final solution to this problem.
Second, on March 23, 2012, our Ambassador at the UN, Mr. Sedje Qerimaj attended the meeting held by the UNHCR to find strategies for solving the problem of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. This meeting, which was attended by Ms. Erika Feller, Assistant High Commissioner – Protection, Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, as well as ambassadorial representatives of 30 countries invited by the High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Gutierrez, was held to discuss finding a solution for the residents of Camp Ashraf.
Our Ambassador, Mr. Qerimaj, took the floor at the meeting and said that the Albanian government will consider all opportunities to contribute to finding a final solution to this problem. Only two out of 30 country representatives and humanitarian organizations participating in the meeting promised concrete support: the representative of the United States, Mr. Dan Fried pledged the assistance of 7m USD, while Italy promised aid of 300,000 Euros for the project.
In the end, Mrs. Erika Feller, Assistant High Commissioner – Protection and Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, thanked the representatives of the United States, Italy and Albania for expressing their willingness to help find a solution for the project to relocate the residents of Camp Ashraf.
In our opinion, very few countries have expressed any desire to receive refugees from this group. This is due to their previous activity, which had led to the inclusion of this group on various lists of terrorist groups.
The granting of financial assistance, even modestly, would suffice as Albania’s contribution in its efforts to find a final solution to this problem.
Thanks for your cooperation,
Ambassador Sedje Qerimaj
Panorama
Translated by Iran Interlink
 

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