Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Speeches, Speeches

Remarks by the President of the Republic, H.E.Mr. Bajram Begaj at “Defender Europe ‘23” exercise

Two years ago, when we started working on Defender Europe 2021 exercise, we knew that the challenge was too great for our country’s capacities.

And yet, we managed to show that we know how to responsibly rise to the task, and that our little Albania, in fact punches above its weight.

Dear General Wickman,

I am very glad that we are meeting again in Albania, to reconfirm our unwavering support and the readiness of our country to always intensify cooperation in the field of defense and security.

Defender Europe was born as an exercise to increase the defense capacity of the alliance in case of conflict or threat.

Following the unjust Russian aggression in Ukraine, today’s geopolitical reality is completely different from that of two years ago, and the security situation has become much more complex.

These changes have significant effects even in our fragile Western Balkan region, where malicious actors who do not share the same values with us, try to expand their influence.

Therefore, the importance of this exercise, today is more tangible than ever and its continuity more than necessary.

Albania is committed to its mission as a stabilizing factor in the Balkans and an exporter of security in the region and beyond.

Undoubtedly, the credit for this goes to each of the men and women in uniform who serve in our Armed Forces, and honor and raise the flag of Albania every day.

You are an important pillar of our society and our gratitude for your commitment and professionalism cannot be emphazised enough.

I am proud to have been one of you; and in my position as Commander-in-Chief, I encourage the government to increase even more the support for the Armed Forces and Albania’s contribution to NATO.

Every investment towards the strengthening of defense capacities is an investment towards stability; it is an investment to guarantee a peaceful future for the younger generations, who never have to deal with the devastating consequences that conflicts bring.

The time to take our responsibilities is now and the reaction must respond to the current challenges.

Thank you all for your dedication.

When we meet again in two years for Defender Europe 2025, I only wish for the global security situation to be calmer, because I have no doubt that Albania will always continue to protect the values of peace and unity, always standing side-by-side, alongside the United States and other NATO allies.

God bless Albania and our friends!