Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, Albania was struggling to leave behind its years of repression, dependence, and deprivation, a period when it was a North Korea clone. Now, Albania is a democracy with elected representatives who engage in open debates within a vigorous civil society.
Albania is a member of NATO that continues to contribute troops to the International Security Force in Afghanistan and participated in the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq, and it now aspires to have membership in the European Union.
In contrast to the atheist dictatorship it left behind, today, Albanian churches and mosques are full. Similarly, Marxist economics has been replaced with an expanding market economy. America needs to be especially grateful to the Government of Albania and to the Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, who has been a steadfast and courageous ally of the United States.
Recently, when the U.S. needed countries willing to provide asylum to members of the MEK now stranded in Iraq, Prime Minister Berisha agreed to accept 210 members of that group--far more than any other country. That was a sign of good faith and friendship for America. It will not soon be forgotten, and it took real courage on the part of President Berisha to make this generous offer. We will not forget his friendship.