NATO Press

29 May 1998

NATO opens NATO/Partnership for Peace Cell in Albania

As agreed by the North Atlantic Council and the Albanian government, NATO will open a NATO/Partnership for Peace (PfP) Cell in Tirana, Albania on June 1, 1998. The Cell will play a direct role in the overall coordination and effective implementation of Albania's specially tailored Individual Partnership Program (IPP) within PfP for 1998.

The opening of this office signals the Alliance's interest in developing closer relations with the Albanian authorities in the implementation of PfP activities. It is the first of its kind and represents NATO's commitment to carry out the special IPP within the unique circumstances found in Albania.

The Cell will be initially manned by one civilian member of NATO's international staff, an officer and a non-commissioned officer.

The 1998 cooperation programme for Albania contains activities to assist the Albanian authorities in addressing the possible consequences of the crisis in Kosovo, including possible assistance in communications, border control and refugee matters. Six expert visits have been made to Albania so far in 1998 under this IPP. NATO expert teams will continue to assist Albania to set up guidelines for unit structures, as well as crisis management. In close coordination with ongoing national programs, NATO will continue to assist in finding practical solutions to problems at existing armament storage sites and to develop infrastructure improvements.

National assistance programmes, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and equipment, are essential to the rebuilding and restructuring of Albania's armed forces. The NATO/PfP cell will coordinate closely with those responsible for these bilateral activities. Effective coordination of national training and assistance programmes in particular will be a priority of the NATO/PfP Cell.

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