US embassy cable - 97TIRANA3065

BIOGRAPHY OF ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SABIT BROKAJ

Identifier: 97TIRANA3065
Wikileaks: View 97TIRANA3065 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tirana
Created: 1997-12-31 09:55:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINR PGOV PARM AL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 310955Z DEC 97
FM AMEMBASSY TIRANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4457
INFO AMEMBASSY ROME 
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
DIA WASHINGTON DC
AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS 
COMSIXTHFLT 
CIA WASHDC
SECDEF WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
USMISSION USVIENNA
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L TIRANA 003065 
 
STATE ALSO FOR EUR/SCE - LUNDBERG AND DRL - BIGUS 
 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  12/30/07 
TAGS:  PINR, PGOV, PARM, AL 
SUBJECT:  BIOGRAPHY OF ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SABIT BROKAJ 
 
(U)  CLASSIFIED BY CHG ROBERT F. CEKUTA FOR 
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
 
BIOGRAPHIC MATERIAL 
------------------- 
 
1.  (U)  PERSONAL DATA:  SABIT BROKAJ WAS BORN 
JANUARY 7, 1942 IN VLORA.  BROKAJ IS MARRIED AND 
HAS TWO CHILDREN. 
 
2.  (U)  EDUCATION:  BROKAJ GRADUATED FROM THE 
UNIVERSITY OF TIRANA FACULTY OF MEDICINE IN 1969. 
HE TRAINED IN CARDIOLOGY FROM 1974-76 IN TIRANA. 
HE TRAVELED TO FRANCE TO STUDY CARDIOLOGY IN 1979 
AND ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY IN 1982.  HE ALSO HAD 
ADDITIONAL COURSES IN GERMANY IN 1989.  HE 
COMPLETED ADDITIONAL STUDIES IN MEDICINE IN 
TIRANA, 1982, EARNED HIS DOCTORATE IN MEDICINE IN 
TIRANA IN 1989, AND WAS GRANTED THE TITLE OF 
PROFESSOR IN 1990. 
 
3.  (U)  PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  BROKAJ WORKED 
AS AN ASSISTANT DOCTOR/MEDIC IN A SUBMARINE, 1959- 
1964.  HE WAS BRIGADE MEDICAL CHIEF IN SHIJAKU 
1969-1972 AND CARDIOLOGIST AT THE MILITARY 
HOSPITAL, TIRANA, 1972-1984.  BROKAJ TAUGHT AT THE 
UNIVERSITY OF TIRANA FACULTY OF MEDICINE 1984-91, 
BECAME DEPUTY DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF MEDICINE 
1987-89 AND DEAN 1989-91. 
 
4.  (U)  POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  BROKAJ, A MEMBER 
OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY (PS), HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF 
THE PS PRESIDENCY SINCE JUNE 1992.  HE WAS 
MINISTER OF HEALTH, FEBRUARY-DECEMBER 1991, AN MP 
1991-92 AND 1992-96, AND RE-ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT 
IN 1997.  HE WAS APPOINTED DEFENSE MINISTER IN 
JULY 1997. 
 
5.  (U)  LANGUAGES:  BROKAJ SPEAKS SOME ENGLISH, 
FRENCH, RUSSIAN, AND ITALIAN. 
 
COMMENTARY 
---------- 
 
6.  (C)  BROKAJ COMES ACROSS AS A KINDLY 
GENTLEMAN, ALTHOUGH HE IS REPUTED TO BE FORMER 
PRESIDENT SALI BERISHA'S MOST DETERMINED ENEMY. 
BROKAJ IS ALSO FAMOUS AS BEING ANOTHER OF HOXHA'S 
PERSONAL PHYSICIANS.  HE WORKED WITH BERISHA IN 
THE CARDIOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF THE TIRANA HOSPITAL 
WHERE A VICIOUS RIVALRY DEVELOPED BETWEEN THE TWO. 
WE ARE TOLD THEY ARE NOT ON SPEAKING TERMS. 
 
7.  (C)  AS DEFENSE MINISTER, BROKAJ HAS LEFT 
SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED.  THE DEFENSE MINISTRY 
NEEDS A STRONG MANAGEMENT HAND AT THE HELM, TO 
HELP QUICKLY REBUILD AND REINVIGORATE THE 
COUNTRY'S ARMED FORCES WHICH COMPLETELY 
DISINTEGRATED IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR.  ALTHOUGH 
BROKAJ'S LEADERSHIP MAY BE SUSPECT, HE SAYS THE 
RIGHT THINGS TO HIS FOREIGN VISITORS AND HAS 
SOUGHT FOREIGN ADVISORS FOR HIS OFFICE.  QUESTIONS 
ALSO REMAIN AS TO WHETHER HE TELLS VISITORS WHAT 
HE THINKS THEY WANT TO HEAR OR WHAT HE REALLY 
BELIEVES. 
 
8.  (C)  BROKAJ IS CONSIDERED A MEMBER OF THE "OLD 
GUARD" WITHIN THE SOCIALIST PARTY.  FOR THE RECENT 
ARMED FORCES DAY, OBSERVERS NOTED THE ELABORATE 
DISPLAYS OF SOLDIERS AND WEAPONS REMINISCENT OF 
THE COMMUNIST-ERA CELEBRATIONS WHICH HAD NOT BEEN 
SEEN SINCE THE BEFORE THE FALL OF COMMUNISM HERE. 
 
 
CEKUTA 

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