Interview of Defense Minister Xhaçka for News 24

 

Madam Minister, the Army hit the streets after 1:00 PM. How long will it stay there, and what is the number of military forces deployed and that of armored vehicles? 

Being in a state of emergency, I see in this task the very real fight of what this situation is today, therefore we are mobilized with all our forces. We are on the streets on several fronts, also assisting the State Police in stepping up  patrols to prevent the movement of vehicles beyond the stipulated hours, to patrol neighborhoods to ensure that all residents comply with the measures taken by the government, which are in fact the measures taken by all the other countries where emergency situation is very real and the losses are enormous. We do not want to have scenarios like those we are seeing in friendly and neighborly Italy, with such a painful balance of loss.

It is very important for all citizens to understand that if we do not break the chain of infection, which can be broken only by staying at home, only by socially distancing ourselves, not having contact with people, we will not be able to defeat this invisible enemy. 

Therefore, all military and police forces have been mobilized today to ensure that measures, which for the sake of truth are very restrictive, are being adhered to, because this is the right thing in every war. The war is fought to guarantee the right to life and all the other rights needed to enjoy the life, and we love our country, we have to raise our children and that is what we want to guarantee today.

It is undoubtedly an unprecedented situation. The Army is committed all over Albania, engaged in a humanitarian operation distributing aid to those families with disabilities, or to those with economic assistance. Today we have been close to families who still suffer the aftermath of the earthquake by living in tents. We will stand by all the families in need. Citizens must understand us, they must respect the measures taken, stay at home, stay socially distant, have no contact with other citizens, respect the distance, take all protective measures, because this is the only way to take care of their own health, their families, and also everyone else's. The others have no obligation to anyone that are irresponsible and do not respect these measures, and prefer to live life as if nothing has happened.

The markets and department stores were full today, the citizens are not respecting the social distancing, and on the other hand even Prime Minister Rama raised the tone saying that the law of war will come into force if after 5.00 PM citizens' gatherings occur. Is the military allowed to react against citizens? Does the Army have permission to react against citizens, and is there any law if the situation is to be repeated at the same way these days?

It will certainly react; it is not just about the safety or health of a person. It is about safety, and the life of many citizens of this country. I believe you know, because now nothing is discussed except the pandemic, which has taken over the globe and the whole world at this point, what the consequences are, how painful they are, and that this is an invisible enemy that we don't see, we do not we know we can transmit it. A large number of infected people are asymptomatic. They do not know at all if they have the virus and they may transmit it very easily if all the restrictive measures we are taking will not be observed.

We are not the only ones, all other countries are being taking these measures, we have even seen it from the Police and the Army, acts of force or authority, far more rigorous than we are seeing here. But from now on, without question, we will take all measures to ensure that everyone respects the restrictive measures taken, pondered by doctors, which are also the measures taken by the Government and Police. As far as the military is concerned, it will do everything in its power to ensure that the measures are implemented. Because this is the key to securing the lives of our citizens at this critical moment in facing this situation.

You mentioned earlier that food packages were sent to families in financial assistance. What about other families that were not in financial assistance, but have had salaries, and nowadays have lost their jobs and are already facing the challenge of food shortages?

You have followed that Prime Minister has just introduced a pretty ambitious financial plan, to make a relief package for both, those who lost their jobs and those businesses that do not pay wages. Moreover, an essential fund for those we call a humanitarian operation distributing aid in the terrain. 

A special inter-institutional structure, ran by Ministry of Defense and Civil Emergencies, with many stakeholders has been set up, both at the center and at the prefecture-level, municipality and mini-town hall level, up to the implementation unit in the terrain. Every family in financial assistance, or in hardship will be assisted as well as any retiree who does not have close family members or children nearby and who may be also the household or living by himself. We will help them at home, so they don't need to go out, cause retirees, or third age, are the most vulnerable category of this virus. We will do our best to take care of them and treat them at home, either for their own expenses or for the medicines they need. To achieve all of this, we have made a very ambitious organization, a system of patronage that will not leave anyone in the spotlight. 

This has begun. Yesterday, it was displayed in the official notebook the entire mechanism of patronage at the central level up to the implementation units in the terrain. We are identifying all the needs. Distribution has started in the terrain. The issue of two, three days becomes fully operational.

 

In which cases will water cannon, tear gas be used, as it is mentioned by the Prime Minister?


We have taken some restrictive measures; we said that after 1.00 PM no citizen without authorization should be on the street. It is predicted that there will be fines, sanctions, so there are some administrative measures for all those who will be found not to comply with the rules. The authority of the Armed Forces and State Police will be displayed, because this is the only way to protect the health and the right to life of everyone, not just those who refuse to respect and irresponsibly endanger others.

We assure the right to live for all citizens of Albania!

 



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