December 21, 2012
The United States established diplomatic relations with Albania in 1922, following its 1912 independence from the Ottoman Empire. U.S.-Albanian diplomatic relations were ended in 1939 due to Albania’s occupation by Italy (1939-43) and Germany (1943-44) during World War II. After the war, Albania saw 40 years of isolation and underdevelopment under its Stalinist leader, who died in 1985. With the 1991 fall of communism, the Albanian Government sought closer ties with the West in order to improve economic conditions and introduced basic democratic reforms. Diplomatic relations between the United States and Albania were reestablished in 1991.
The United States has been a strong partner and friend to Albania as it has made progress to consolidate democracy, to open up its economy, and to provide opportunity for all its people.
Albania and the United States have signed and ratified a number of agreements, including a treaty on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the promotion of defense and military relations; the Adriatic Charter on Euro-Atlantic integration; and an agreement regarding the non-surrender of persons to the International Criminal Court.
The United States supports Albania’s European Union membership goal, as it did Albania’s pursuit of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership.
Albania has contributed to regional and global security. Albanians credit the 1999 NATO intervention against the then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with saving thousands of Kosovo Albanians, and supported United Nations mediation efforts in Kosovo. Albania has supported the U.S. policy of expanding the number of countries extending diplomatic recognition to Kosovo.
Within the Adriatic Charter, Albania has acted as a mentor to new NATO aspirants. It has provided military troops for U.S.-led actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts by freezing terrorist assets, shutting down non-governmental organizations with possible links to terrorist financing, and expelling extremists.
U.S. Assistance to Albania
U.S. Government assistance aims to help Albania strengthen democratic institutions and rule of law; promote sustainable, broad-based economic growth; and integrate the country into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. A fact sheet on U.S. assistance to Albania can be found here.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Trade with the United States accounts for an insignificant part of Albania’s trade volume, focusing on a narrow range of goods and products. Major imports from the U.S. include food (mainly meat), transportation equipment (vehicles), machinery, and computer and electronic equipment, while the main exports to the United States are agricultural products, footwear, and textiles. Albania is eligible to export certain products duty-free to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences program. The United States and Albania have signed a bilateral investment treaty.
Albania’s Membership in International Organizations
Albania and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Albania also is an observer to the Organization of American States.
The U.S. Ambassador to Albania is Alexander A. Arvizu; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’sKey Officers List.
Albania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1312 18th Street, NW, Floor 4, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-223-4942).
More information about Albania is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: