Updated: 18-Jul-2003 July 2003

17 July 2003


North Atlantic Council visits Albania

16/07/2003 - NATO
North Atlantic Council to visit Albania on 16/17 July 2003
Low resolution photo of the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Albania

NATO Ambassadors and Secretary General Lord Robertson visited Tirana from 16 to 17 July for two-day talks on Albania’s efforts to join NATO and defence reform.

The North Atlantic Council is NATO’s senior decision-making body. It is made up of permanent representatives of the 19 NATO members and is chaired by the Secretary General. Representatives of the seven countries expected to join NATO next year now also take part in Council sessions and visits.

The Council met with top officials, including the Senior NATO Representative in Albania, General Tozzi, President Moisiu, Prime Minister Nano, ministers, parliamentarians and representatives of the international community.

Road to membership

Discussions focused on Albania’s desire to join the Alliance. The Council reiterated the message that NATO’s door remained open and Albania remains under consideration, but that it must press on with key reforms.

Ambassadors praised the progress made so far, but pointed out that certain issues still need to be addressed. These include key non-military areas, such as the fight against corruption, organized crime, and reform of the judiciary.

“The Council visit is not only a proof of NATO’s commitment to Albania reform and defence programme but also a way to get a better understanding of progress and difficulties being faced in this process,” said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.

Successful initiatives

The Council praised in particular Albania’s participation in the recent Ohrid regional border management conference, and its programme to reintegrate discharged military personnel into civilian life.

Albania has been a NATO partner country since 1994 and is a member of NATO’s membership action plan, designed to help partner countries prepare for membership.