Updated: 02-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


2 Dec. 2003

Partnership role in Defence reform - from Prague to Istanbul

Intervention of HE Pandeli MAJKO,
Minister of Defence of the Republic of Albania

Honorable Chairman,
Distinguished colleagues,

I am honored to share today with you my opinion on the role of Partnership in Defense Reform. I am confident that this exchange of ideas will contribute to further enhance and make more operational the Partnership for Peace initiative.

Defense Reform of the Albanian Armed Forces has witnessed a remarkable progress. An Implementation Plan is on the right track. Defense Reform contributes to achieve the strategic goal of the Republic of Albania for the full integration with Euro Atlantic structures.

A packet of laws is being developed to support the legal bases of strengthening the civil control over Armed Forces. A number of priority units are defined and we are working to manning them with personnel and complete their equipment and infrastructure. Special plans and programs are taking plabe on the modernization process.

The establishment of an efficient system for the human resource management is a fundamental issue of Defence Reform. The military education system will achieve new qualities with the establishment of the Defence University next September. The English Language Programme is being improved to further support the interoperability with NATO.

The goal of Armed Forces for the MAP cycle 2003-04 is the consolidation, deepening, enlargement and keeping the pace of the reorganization and restructuring process. Albanian Armed Forces will keep going the active participation in the PfP program and activities, and contribution in the Alliance missions and structures. Albania will continue to make available to NATO its aero-port facilities, air space and communication lines.

Defence Reform of the A banian Armed Forces is oriented toward making it capable to operate together with Allied Forces. This was the PfP aim from the very beginning. Albania have managed to become involved substantially in NATO-led operations, such as SFOR and ISAF, becoming a contributor in fulfilling the military task of NATO along with continuation of the political support for the Alliance.

The upsizing of our units in NATO-led PfP operations and in Peace Support Operations in the fight against terrorism is a priority. Albanian Armed Forces have manned 9 units to participate in partnership missions in the framework of SEEBRIG and the work to prepare them is going on. The enlargement of partnership with NATO and partner countries in operations taken in the fight against terrorism is a new experience for Albania. It is useful that Partners keep closely in areas such as assessment of aspects of terrorist threats.

Improving interoperability of the Albanian Armed Forces is in the core of our Defence Reform. In order to achieve this, we try to better implement the already successful PfP tools. This effort includes the continuation of our involvement in PARP, as a central element of the PfP. As a result, important steps have been done in our force planning. It is important to ensure that cooperation in this area becomes more practical and active. A priority of our Armed Forces is the inclusion of Partnership Goals closely related to the fight against terrorism in our PARP document.

Further participation in NATO/PfP and "In the spirit of PfP" exercises have improved the interoperability of priority units. Albania is working to host two PfP exercises in 2004. Closer routine working relationships are being established between the Albanian Armed Forces structures and those of the Alliance, in preparation for exercises and operations. Extension of the scope of current assignments to appropriate levels of NATO's military structures is being considered for that.

The intensification of bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation have facilitated the rapid integration of partner and aspirant countries. The Republic of Albania is an active participant in the "Adriatic- 3 Charter" signed last May between Albania, Croatia, FYROM and the US. A significant progress has been achieved so far. High level visits, border control related information exchange and joint exercises and have taken place between the Armed Forces of our countries. This cooperation is very important to share experiences and responsibilities, learn NATO working procedures and achieve its standards.

The next round of NATO enlargement will consider to issuing invitations to other partner countries. Albanian Armed Forces are trying to make improvement to achieve NATO standards and become prepared for invitation. For that, they are focused in well-defined objectives, reflected also in our last Annual National Programme (ANP), the fifth in which Albania is participating in the framework of the Membership Action Plan.

Commitment of Albania to join Alliance remains unaltered and unshaken. This is baped on the massive support of the public opinion and the consensus of the all political spectrum. The desire to meet NATO standards and join the Alliance of democracies has been an important motivation and vehicle in this process.


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