Report: Netanyahu cancelled trip to Albania

Albanian media report that Netanyahu was due to visit the country last month, but the visit was canceled for security reasons.

Ben Ariel ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Albanian media reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu canceled a planned visit to the country about a month ago.

According to the reports, the cancellation was due to fear of the Prime Minister being harmed and also was meant to send a hint to Albania that it should take a harder hand against Iranian activity in its territory.

The report comes a day after Albania expelled two Iranian diplomats for alleged illegal activities that threaten the country's security.

A spokesman from the Foreign Ministry said that the two diplomats were expelled for "violating their diplomatic status."

The spokesman said the move followed talks with other countries, including Israel.

Private Top Channel television said the Iranians are suspected of illegal activities related to a World Cup match between Albania and Israel two years ago which was threatened with an alleged terrorist attack.

While the reports did not identify which diplomats were expelled, US National Security John Bolton, who welcomed Albania’s move, said one of the two expelled officials was the Iranian ambassador to Albania.

“Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated. We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe,” he tweeted.

United States President Donald Trump thanked Albania for expelling Iran's ambassador and another diplomat.

In a letter to Rama, Trump thanked him "for your steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe."

Netanyahu, meanwhile, on Thursday praised his Albanian counterpart for his decision to expel the Iranian diplomats.

“Important news from Albania today. The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, expelled the Iranian ambassador from Tirana. By doing so, Prime Minister Rama has sent a clear message to the Iranian radical Islamic regime – that plotting terror attacks has a cost,” Netanyahu tweeted.

“Israel stands with Albania as it stands with every country that sees the Iranian regime for what it is: the greatest threat to world peace and security,” he added.