From the event

19 Oct 2007

Further reform necessary in Albania,
says NATO Secretary General

The President of Albania, Bamir Topi, visited NATO Headquarters on 19 October to discuss with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Albania’s reform process and its NATO membership aspirations.

Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said NATO members were looking at the reform process. He stressed the importance of implementing reforms, including non-military areas, and that Allies remain ready to help and assist Albania in this process.

Further reforms are of great importance,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer told reporters, “The invitation tickets are not punched yet.

Mr. Topi expressed his country’s determination to deepen reforms, including in the electoral or the justice systems and to focus on the fight against organised crime and corruption. He highlighted the necessity for all the Albanian political forces to collaborate in these efforts.

The Secretary General praised Albania for its contribution to NATO’s operations, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the logistical support to the naval counter-terrorism Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea.

Albania is one of the three countries in the Membership Action Plan, the NATO programme of advice, assistance and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the Alliance.

At the November 2006 Riga Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government declared that the Alliance intends to extend further invitations to countries that meet NATO standards to join NATO at the next Summit, in 2008