Updated: 05-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


5 Dec. 2003

"New Threats, New Missions - The Role of Partnership"

Address to the EAPC Ministerial
by His Excellency, Mr, Luan Hajdaraga
Acting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Albania

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me at the outset, reiterate our deepest appreciation for the work carried out by the Secretary General, Lord Robertson, and renew Albania's commitment, as a aspirant country, to cooperate closely with the Alliance in the face of the new challenges it has taken on.

The Alliance remains the cornerstone of the Euroatlantic community and the most viable institution of collective security. Its transformation agenda, laid out at the Prague Summit, ensures that it can adapt to meet the radical changes in the current security environment.

Terrorism represents today one of the major threats to world security as does ethnic strife and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are all acutely aware of the dangers inherent in the collusion between the organized crime, illegal traffics and terrorist elements.

The fight against terrorism has joined together in a common front the members of the Alliance and Partner countries, illustrating the enhanced unity and tangible cooperation, as well as the inherent political will, despite a country's size, in promoting security and the implementation of common goals. Moreover, the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism adopted in Prague has focused the efforts of the EAPC countries through establishing the necessary framework for the cohesive interplay of mechanisms and instruments in the fight against terrorism.

As a Partner country aspiring NATO membership, our motto: 'Think, plan and act like an ally" informs our actions, as an expression of our political will and engagement to be an active contributor and share in the responsibilities and costs. Albania continues its progress towards the implementation of the comprehensive reforms towards European and Euroatlantic integration. The goal of the defense reform for the restructuring of the Albanian Armed Forces is interoperability and deploy ability, with special emphasis on identifying and developing niche [nic] capabilities. Albania has unfailingly put its air, sea and land facilities to the disposal of the Alliance, has participated in NATO-led operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, supported NATO actions in Kosova and send commando troops to Afghanistan. We are very proud of the excellent record of performance of the Albanian special forces as part of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq.

Our efforts in the joint endeavors to address the challenges of the new century comprise both internal and foreign policy activities, which include the strengthening of the democratic institutions within the country, the judicial reform, the fight against corruption, as well as good neighborly relations and closer regional cooperation with the countries of Southeastern Europe in the fight against organized crime and illegal trafficking of people, drugs and weapons, on border security etc.

I am pleased to inform you of the Senior Level Meeting of the SEEGROUP that took place yesterday in Tirana, with Albania taking over the chairmanship of this important initiative for the coming year.

Given its membership, SEEGROUP offers the unique possibility of working together by enhancing regional cooperation in the field of security and the opportunity of launching joint projects and initiatives that serve the overall goal of strengthening the stability and security in the region and thereby having a direct positive impact in the Euro-Atlantic security.

Furthering the Euroadantic integration of our countries, based on the respective Membership Action Plans, remains a principal incentive for regional cooperation, as borne out by the Albania-Croatia-Macedonia initiative. This is the basis of the US-Adriatic Charter, whose Partnership Commission had its first successful meeting in Washington on November 13th and of an enhanced relationship with the three regional NATO members, Greece, Italy and Turkey.

As the Alliance positions itself towards facing the new threats and embarking on new missions requiring new capabilities, the role of the partner countries will be important. With a very strong political and public opinion support, Albania will continue to give its contribution to NATO operations, as the country strives towards deserving full membership in the Alliance.

Thank you.

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