Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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News, Statements

Statement from the President of the Republic of Albania, H. E. Bajram Begaj, during the joint press conference with the President of the Republic of Croatia, H. E. Zoran Milanović


First and foremost, I would like to again extend my gratitude to the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Zoran Milanović, a friend of mine and the Albanian people, for accepting our invitation and honouring us with his presence in Albania.

I’m delighted to welcome President Milanović, his spouse, and the accompanying delegation. This visit allows me to reciprocate the hospitality I received during my state visit to Croatia.

This visit follows many exchanges at the highest levels between our two countries this year, clearly demonstrating our mutual desire to enhance our political dialogue further and expand our nations’ already excellent relations of strategic partnership.
President Milanović’s visit to Tirana is critical, especially for the Western Balkans region, where Albania and Croatia are active and vital in ensuring peace and stability.

We had an extensive and amicable conversation, recognising our excellent political cooperation and discussing emerging opportunities for bilateral collaboration, with a particular emphasis on economic cooperation.

I highlighted the unique role made to the historically friendly relations between our countries by the Arbanasi of Zadar and the new Albanian diaspora in Croatia.

I thanked President Milanovic for the significant support that he and the Croatian institutions have given to the European integration process of Albania and other Western Balkans countries.

I underlined that Croatia remains our role model on our journey towards the European Union.

I highlighted that the current geopolitical developments have made the E.U. enlargement process with the Western Balkan countries a strategic necessity. I expressed confidence in Croatia’s steadfast support for the enlargement process in this context.

I assured President Milanović that Albania remains a reliable partner of the European Union, especially regarding foreign and security policy.

Moreover, we emphasised the need to enhance our economic and trade collaboration beyond our excellent political cooperation. The data indicates an optimistic trend, but joint efforts are required to promote further and encourage economic and trade exchanges between our two countries.

In line with the Berlin process’s goals, I emphasised the importance of enhanced communication and cooperation between our countries, which would benefit our two countries and the region. Establishing a direct airline route between Tirana and Zagreb and passenger transportation links between our two countries’ main ports would have a significant economic impact, especially in tourism.

Given Croatia’s experience and expertise in tourism, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture, I noted that more can be done to encourage investments in these areas.

I welcomed the recent agreements reached between our countries regarding social insurance and health, which enhance citizens’ access to social and medical support and security.

I also expressed gratitude for Croatia’s support for Albania’s candidacy for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council for 2024 – 2026. I assured my friend Zoran of Albania’s commitment to fulfilling this new international responsibility.

Additionally, I confirmed President Milanović Albania’s support for Croatia’s candidacy for the U.N. Security Council for 2030-2031, thanking him for Croatia’s support to Albania for 2022-2023.

Regarding human rights, I believe Albania and Croatia have an excellent track record in this respect, especially in treating minorities, which sets a standard for other countries in the region to follow.

In this context, I informed President Milanović of the challenges faced by the Albanian minority in the Presevo Valley, highlighting that Albanians have every right to be treated following European standards, just like minorities in our countries and Kosovo.

Indeed, we paid particular attention to regional developments. We condemned the dramatic events in northern Kosovo and the terrorist and criminal attack on the police in Banjskë on September 24th.

I expressed to my friend my concern about the preparations and heavy military armament used by the terrorist group. I highlighted the European Union’s need to exert more pressure to conclude investigations and determine responsibilities, directly impacting the peace and security of the entire region.

I also highlighted that, following recent terrorist acts by Hamas against Israel, it becomes even more imperative for the European Union and NATO to discourage Serbia’s provocative attitude towards Kosovo strongly.

I highly value Croatia’s support for Kosovo and President Milanović’s persistent calls for its international recognition, NATO membership, and adherence to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We agreed that dialogue remains the only path to normaliserelations between Kosovo and Serbia, leading to mutual recognition. In this respect, I pointed out that following the terrorist attack on September 24th in Banjskë, Serbia must end its provocations and adhere strictly to the 2013 Brussels Agreement.

Furthermore, we discussed the role of Albania and Croatia in the Berlin Process and shared our perspectives on the region’s future.

Finally, I express gratitude for the outstanding hospitality and warm atmosphere that prevailed during our discussions. I reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening Albanian-Croatian ties and fostering regional collaboration.

On a personal note, I cordially invited President Milanović and his spouse to enjoy Albania’s beautiful landscapes and our people’s traditional hospitality.

Thank you!