Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Honorable Madam President, Pirc Musar,

Dear friend, Nataša,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is with great honor and pleasure that I welcome the President of Slovenia, Madam Nataša Pirc Musar, to Albania.

A year ago, I had the opportunity to visit your wonderful country. Thank you for the hospitality extended during my visit, and allow me, Madam President, dear friend, to warmly welcome you and your delegation to Albania, a land of God and hospitality, as we fondly call it.

Albania and Slovenia share a traditional friendship and maintain excellent relations based not only on mutual bilateral and regional interests but also on shared values and strategic partnerships, especially within the frameworks of NATO and our common European perspective.

Albanians residing in our friendly nation of Slovenia further guarantee our successful current and future cooperation.

I extend my gratitude for the continuous and valuable support Slovenia has shown for the European enlargement process of the Western Balkans in general, and for Albania’s EU integration process in particular. Your role within the Friends of the Western Balkans group is a testament to this commitment.

“Enlargement 2030”, emerging from the Bled Strategic Forum, stands as another solid proof of your support. We are committed to working closely to turn this vision into reality.

Our cooperation within NATO has been excellent, and I wish to express my appreciation for Slovenia’s contributions to the KFOR troops in Kosova, highlighting the role both Slovenia and Albania play in maintaining peace and security in the region.

As Albanians, a historically peace-loving people, we are vested in a peaceful, developed region oriented towards Europe and integrated within the region and the EU.

I am delighted to acknowledge that Albania and Slovenia actively participate in regional initiatives and forums, among which I would like to highlight the Bled Forum, the Brdo-Brijuni Process, and the Berlin Process.

Specifically, Slovenia’s involvement through the Bled Forum and the Brdo-Brijuni Process is crucial for us as these platforms continue to support and contribute to the European perspective of our region.

The recognition of Kosova by Slovenia, one of the first countries to take such a step, is significant. It not only demonstrates strategic maturity but also foresight in recognizing new realities. This recognition is also an acknowledgment of the people of Kosova and the Albanian factor that has consistently contributed to peace, harmony, and security in our region.

Kosova’s independence is an irreversible and non-negotiable reality.

Albanians in the region are stabilizing factors contributing to the region and have a Euro-Atlantic orientation. North Macedonia and Montenegro are in NATO. Kosova is moving towards Euro-Atlantic integration processes.

However, the Western Balkans remains vulnerable to actors driven by the past, aiming to project a future far from European and democratic values.

The unjust Russian aggression against Ukraine is another alarm signal showing how vigilant and cooperative we need to be to minimize opportunities and risks from these actors.

Our excellent political cooperation should also be reflected in economic cooperation.

I appreciate the positive developments in this field over the last five years, but there is room for more. Albania welcomes direct Slovenian investments. Our economy is dynamic and growing.

I invite Slovenian entrepreneurs to come to Albania and invest in sectors such as tourism, finance, agriculture, information technology, energy, and many others.

Additionally, we should increase contacts between our citizens. A direct airline between Ljubljana and Tirana would be a good opportunity, not only for increasing direct contacts but also for boosting the number of tourists visiting our countries.

Tourism, in particular, is an area from which we can learn a lot from you. In exchange, Slovenians could enjoy more of the mountainous and coastal beauties of Albania.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that cooperation between our two countries is multidimensional and involves many areas of mutual interest, centered around the needs and demands of the citizens of both our countries.

Slovenia remains a friendly country, and we should cultivate this relationship further, for the good of our citizens.

I wish you success in Slovenia’s participation as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2024-2025, a position Albania just vacated a few months ago.

I am also very pleased that on the second day of your official visit, you will have the opportunity to visit some of the wonderful parts of Albania’s nature and coastline.