Stoltenberg praises Albania’s role in strengthening stability in Western Balkans
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Albania’s strong commitment to NATO in a visit to Tirana on Thursday (10 December 2015). After talks with Prime Minister Edi Rama, Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Albania for its continued contributions to the Alliance’s missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and for its efforts to build the defence capabilities of NATO partners Georgia and Ukraine. Highlighting Albania’s key role in the Western Balkans, the Secretary General added that Tirana’s cooperation with its neighbours makes “a valuable contribution to the security across the region.”
The Secretary General praised Albania’s support for NATO’s Open Door policy and the integration of the Western Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic family. He noted that the Alliance’s decision to start accession talks with Montenegro reflects NATO’s commitment to keep its door open. “It reflects our commitment to stability in the Western Balkans, and our commitment to complete our vision of a Europe, whole, free and at peace,” he said.
“Our security is being challenged from many different directions, and NATO is responding,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. He underlined that the Alliance is increasing the readiness of its forces, and working to provide more support for partners to the east and to the south.
Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed Albania’s contributions to the Global Coalition against ISIL, noting that all Allies play a role. He stressed that “this is not a conflict between Islam and the West; this a conflict between extremism and open societies. And we need to stand up for our values.”
During his visit to Tirana, the Secretary General is also meeting with President Bujar Nishani, Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, and Defence Minister Mimi Kodheli.