|Updated: 03-Oct-2008||IMS News Release|
3 Oct. 2008
Chairman of the Military Committee
TIRANA, Albania – Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola concluded his first official visit in Albania as Chairman of the Military Committee here today. During the two-day visit hosted by Brigadier General Maksi Malaj, Chief of the Albanian General Staff, the Chairman had the opportunity to meet with H.E. Mr. Bamir Topi, President of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Mr. Sali Berisha, Albanian Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Lulzim Basha, Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Gazmend Oketa, Albanian Minister of Defence.
During the visit, Adm. Di Paola exchanged views on current operations, and discussed NATO priorities. Particular emphasis was placed on the final preparations of the Albanian military forces as part of Albania’s accession to NATO. “Albania’s military forces are definitely on the right track,” said Di Paola, who confirmed great appreciation, on behalf of the Committee, for the strong and continuous effort of the Albanian forces to reform and achieve complete interoperability with NATO standards, supported by Tirana’s Government.
For their part, Albanian political and military authorities thanked NATO for the useful support on their path to full membership. “We are grateful to NATO, to the Secretary General and to all the member nations for their invitation to join the Alliance and for the encouragement and the assistance in the accession process,” said H.E. Berisha in his remarks to Admiral Di Paola. “Becoming a Member of the Alliance will be a great honour but also a great responsibility,” was the message reflected throughout their discussions.
Albania will become a Member of the Alliance as soon as the ratification process will be completed.
Through the Partnership for Peace programme, Albania has been a contributing nation to different NATO operations for more than ten years, and Admiral di Paola congratulated Albania on their continuous, and highly professional support, much appreciated by the Alliance.
The Chairman also visited NATO’s Headquarters in Tirana, hosted by Brigadier General Vasil Dimitrov. The NATO Delegation visited then the Albanian Commando Regiment, where they attended a demonstration of operational capabilities, presented by the Regiment Commandant, Col. Xhemal Gjunkshi.
Admiral Di Paola concluded his visit by expressing his personal appreciation for Albania’s warm hospitality. “Such visits are truly useful in gaining a firsthand overview of the considerable efforts being made by a future member on its road to full integration of NATO.”