Statement by the Albanian Minister of Defence, Mimi Kodheli
following the meeting with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels
I had the pleasure to welcome in my office General Bartels, the Chairman of the NATO’s Military Committee.
The visit of General Bartels speaks about the excellent relations between Albania and NATO, and about the mutual willingness to further strengthen them in the future.
During the meeting with General Bartels, after reaffirming our unwavering stance to remain dignified members of the Alliance meeting our obligation by participating and contributing to the missions and operations led by NATO, I informed the Chairman of the Military Committee about the priorities of the Ministry of Defence for 2014, with the progress of defence reform, issues relating to regional cooperation, etc.
Besides the achievements, until today, in the process of reforms in the field of defence, focusing on the fight against corruption, implementation of Strategic Defence Review document, I also highlighted the detailed plans for the achievement of certain capacity objectives for our country, as well as the completion of the strategic documents, mentioning here the Military Strategy and Long Term Development Plan of the Armed Forces.
Regarding contribution to NATO peacekeeping operations, we are proud, not only for the significant number of the troops deployed in mission, but also for their quality, passing from support forces to forces engaged in combat and training ones.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize that we will be an integral part of NATO when needed. Likewise, in accordance with the objectives of the transition process at the end of ISAF mission, I would like to express once again the readiness and willingness of the institution I lead for being part of the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan.
Regional cooperation is another important issue for which we are determined to deal with priority.
As a member country of NATO, we are ready to play a greater role in the region, because we are convinced that political stability, security and economic prosperity is possible only through cooperation.
I want to emphasize that, for us, cooperation with the countries of the region is of special importance. In this context, I wish to express the commitment of Albania, as chair of A-5 Initiative, to give a new dimension to this cooperation and make it more oriented towards NATO.
Albania assesses and supports the admirable progress of the Kosovo Security Force. The agreement of April 2013, between Kosovo and Serbia, is the indicator of a new and constructive approach, as well as of the political will for a better future of both countries.
Our talks also focused on the preparations of an important event to NATO, this year NATO Summit, in Wells. This summit, which coincides with another important event, withdrawal from Afghanistan, will address a number of important issues, among which “Post ISAF 2014”. The maintaining of the readiness of NATO declared forces, keeping the level of defence capabilities and defence spending are significant for the unity of the Alliance, which hopes to be reconfirmed at the summit.
Finally, I would like to inform you that under the auspices of the Prime Minister Rama, Albania will be the country that will welcome on May the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, an important event for the preparation of which we are highly committed.
Thank you General.