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Joint press point with the NATO Secretary General and the President of Albania

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

18 Sep. 2012

Joint press point with the NATO Secretary General and the President of Albania

Opening remarks by the NATO Secretary General

Good afternoon.

President Nishani, I am very pleased to welcome you at NATO Headquarters.

Albania is a valued Ally. You are committed to our collective defence and to our operations. And you are making important contributions to our missions in Afghanistan and in Kosovo. We thank you for your steadfast support. And we thank your troops for their courage and professionalism.

Our mission in Afghanistan is challenging, but our strategy is set, and we are making steady progress. With our support, Afghan forces are on track to take full responsibility for their own security by the end of 2014. And we appreciate Albania’s efforts to pool training resources together with Croatia and partner countries from the region within the Adriatic Charter.

In Kosovo, NATO has been a guarantor of security and stability for over a decade. We have enforced our United Nations mandate for the benefit of all people in Kosovo. We will not let those gains be undermined.

Our Chicago summit made clear the importance that NATO continues to attach to the Western Balkans. Euro-Atlantic integration remains the most effective way to bring lasting stability to the region. And as a young member of our Alliance, Albania can be an example for the whole region.

NATO’s door remains open. We urge all countries aspiring to membership to demonstrate political commitment. A track record of reform and responsibility. And a new resolve to settle old disputes. There is still work to be done, but the future of the entire region is in the Euro-Atlantic family.

We have also discussed how we can ensure our security in a time of economic austerity. I congratulate you for your efforts to turn several of the Smart Defence projects we endorsed in Chicago into reality. You are also pursuing regional approaches to cooperation.

So Mr President, I appreciate Albania’s continued regional leadership, and I look forward to working with you.


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