The remarks of the President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta at the 10th anniversary of Albania becoming a NATO member country

The remarks of the President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta at the 10th anniversary of Albania becoming a NATO member country

I could not begin these greeting remarks without inviting you all to applause the NATO Air Forces, that not only honored this parade today, but especially for what they did on March 24th, 1999.

Albania’s accession into in NATO 10 years ago marks one of the biggest events in Albania’s and the Albanian nation history.

A special gratitude I would like to express to all those men and women in uniform who led, worked and realized this transformational and integrative project of our Armed Forces throughout the years.

On this historical anniversary, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to all the allied and friendly countries that strongly supported Albania’s NATO membership and contributed in a comprehensive manner to the modernization of our Armed Forces.

Special thanks go to the President of the United States, George W. Bush, who through his unforgettable visit to Tirana inspired the joint efforts for the final realization of this major goal.

The extraordinary support of all the Albanian people and the entire political spectrum of all different governments to this major strategic project serving the national interests as no other project remains invaluable.

A few days ago we remembered the 20th anniversary of NATO’s historic decision to militarily intervene in Kosova, by ending genocide and ethnic cleansing not only there, but once and for all throughout our region.

All Albanians are always grateful to the United States and NATO for this crucial intervention that not only saved an innocent people, but also strengthened the peace and security in our region.

In this 70th anniversary of its founding, NATO unites the free wills of the 29 member states, and soon it will welcome its 30th member, the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

NATO’s expansion towards our region has, as ever, strengthened the security of the Adriatic-Ionian axis, has expanded the alliance’s security’s perimeter and provided an indispensable guarantee for peace and security in the Balkans.

Albania has assumed its responsibilities to reform and modernize the Armed Forces, to meet its budget commitments and to actively participate in joint operations alongside allied countries in international missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Mali, Aegean Sea, and wherever it was asked and required to do so.

Strengthening and powering our national security infrastructure remains an undisputed priority.

Kuçova’s selection as the location of the modern NATO air base is an indication of the confidence and appreciation that the Alliance has for Albania and its contribution to the security of the region.

It is a strategic investment both for our national security as well as for the regional one.

In the capacity of the President of the Republic I will continue to strongly support and encourage any initiative, every effort and any project that serves the Alliance’s strength and cohesion and national commitment to fulfill any obligations.

I am convinced that budget growth for the coming years will remain a priority, as it is not only a burden to our commitment to the Alliance, but also a commitment to respond proactively to new security risks.

The fight against international terrorism, violent extremism, illegal immigration and cyberattacks are new threats, which require even closer co-operation between our countries.

Albania is committed to further strengthening NATO in the strategic and military aspects.

Meanwhile we are ready to share with the Alliance every responsibility that will be required in the future as well. Let us not forget that the most important and irreplaceable contribution that Albania can and should give is just continuing to act a stable factor for stabilization, cooperation and integration in our region through following a coherent and credible foreign policy.

Happy 10th anniversary of Albania’s membership into NATO to our Armed Forces and to all the Albanian people!