NATO Secretary General visits Western Balkans
The Secretary General visited the Western Balkans on 7 and 8 May. He first travelled to Croatia and Slovenia, before making its way to Albania and the the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ on 8 May.
In Croatia he met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Ivo Sanader, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Gordan Jandrokovic, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Branko Vukelic and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Vladimir Seks.
In Slovenia he met with the President, Mr. Danilo Türk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Samuel Žbogar and the Minister of Defence, Dr. Ljubica Jelušič. He also visited the High Command of the Armed Forces where he had the opportunity to attend an Explosive Ordnance Disposal demonstration.
In Albania he met with President Mr. Bamir Topi, the Prime Minister, Mr. Sali Berisha and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lulzim Basha. In Albania he also received a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the University of Tirana.
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ he met with the President Mr. Branko Crvenkovski, the President-elect Mr. Gjorgje Ivanov, the Prime Minister Mr. Nikola Gruevski, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Antonio Milososki and the Minister of Defence, Mr. Zoran Konjanovski.
The Euro-Atlantic integration, the situation in the region and current NATO agenda were the recurring themes of discussions held by the Secretary General in all four capitals.
As the Secretary General said in Tirana at the meeting of the Adriatic Five: “I have long been convinced that Euro-Atlantic integration offers the only feasible way for Southeast Europe to move forward. That is why, throughout my tenure as Secretary General of NATO, I have been a very firm supporter of NATO’s “open door” policy. And why I was very pleased that, at our recent NATO Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, we were able to welcome Albania and Croatia as full members of the Alliance.”
“This is a huge success for these two countries, who have worked hard to turn their aspirations into reality. But it is also a success for the entire region. It should serve as an example of what can be achieved and, I hope, it will provide further encouragement for those other nations in this region who share the same objective of joining the Atlantic Alliance as full members”, he added.
1. Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name