Visit of the

10 Sept. 1997

Welcoming Remarks

by the Secretary General

I am very pleased to welcome to the Council this afternoon the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Fatos Nano. Mr. Prime Minister, this is your fist visit to NATO and it comes at a very important time as your country is recovering from political upheaval and your government has the tremendous responsibilities of rebuilding state institutions and a functioning democracy. Your presence here, in itself, is an indication that Albania is on the road to recovery. We welcome your desire to reach out to your partners and friends.

Your visit here today also marks the formal acceptance of Albania's Individual Partnership Programme with the Alliance which was tailored to meet Albania's specific short-term and long-term needs.

The document we have here before us is a result of joint efforts by NATO and Albania. Under the special IPP:

NATO will help with the reconstruction and restructuring of Albania's armed forces under democratic control of civilian authorities and for that purpose, will send additional expert teams to Albania over the next few months.

NATO's assistance programme also includes various types of training activities to keep Albania engaged in the mainstream PfP programme.

Individual countries -- Allies and Partners -- will offer bilateral assistance to Albania in the areas of material assistance, equipment, technical assistance and specialized training based on consultations at the NATO Clearing House on Albania.

In 1994, Albania was one of the first countries to sign the PfP Framework Document. The special IPP we are agreeing on today is an example of the Alliance's commitment to enhancing political stability on the European continent and to come to the assistance of individual Partners according to their specific needs.

We know that you have a difficult path ahead and are ready to work with you for the good of Albania and the European continent as a whole.

Mr. Prime Minister, we are delighted to have you here.

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