We have today much more friends

Posted in Europe | 11-Jul-04 | Author: Ilir Bocka

Ilir Bocka,
Albanian Ambassador to NATO
Ilir Bocka, Albanian Ambassador to NATO
The radical shift from the psychology of total isolation, fortified and bunkered, surrounded with foes being those real or imaginary, which was the case of Albania since 1990, into that of a real democracy, the rule of law, market economy and the active participation into the debate and the common efforts concerning regional and wider security issues, through a close cooperation with NATO and neighboring countries, this have been the main challenges in the security and defence policy of my country.

We have today much more friends and allies and less fears and dangers for the freedom that ten years ago.This is the big development in the Security Policy of the Republic of Albania and of the security environment today in Albania and in the region.

The main tasks of the foreign and security Policy of the Republic of Albania nowadays are the profound sense of responsibility for its constructive role in the region and its modern and western profile. This is continuously showed during the security challenges arising in the region as a result of old demons of primitive nationalism and aggressive politics, doomed to failure and those arising from economic backwardness, organised crime and terrorism.

Politicians, military, and common citizens in Albania are more convinced each passing day that the country is not at best served and protected by “heavy metal armies “, but by a functioning democracy, a developed market economy, and mainly by the awareness of free citizens in being able to fully realise their responsibilities inside the society and state.

“Mother Albania” statue.
“Mother Albania” statue.
This is the base and essence of the Security policy, Defence policy and military doctrine that is currently being implemented in Albania. The intensification of Defence reform through force reduction, improved training, adoption of a force structure compatible with those of NATO member countries and the increase in the capacities to actively participate in NATO led operations are the best ways to improve our Defence capabilities.

Building on its ten year experience of active membership in Partnership for Peace, Albania is making steady progress towards membership in the Alliance through the very important process of Membership Action Plan, where it participates since 1999.

NNPP: Which persons have had special attention and sympathy in your country?

BOCKA: A special place in this case, is filled to the Albanian people, who for almost a decade have demonstrated a fantastic public support towards NATO membership policy and the NATO – presence and actions in the Balkans in support of peace. In the core of this nation, as a category I would select the military in general, the ones under the uniform, who are distinguishing themselves in the realisation of the reforms, but also the former military who have endured the costs of reform by prematurely terminating their duty and facing its cost with patriotic and civic spirit.

Among distinctive persons I would like to single out the President of the Republic of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, a former military, and the first Chairman of the Albanian Atlantic Association, who has dedicated a considerable part of his life and activities supporting the policy of the integration of Albania in NATO.

NNPP: What are the main challenges and tasks for the year 2004, regarding international co-operation and security-policy?

BOCKA: The dynamics of International cooperation and those of the security environment are very closely related to each other. In this context Albania aims to insure its basic security interests through an active participation in International, European and Euro-Atlantic Organizations. A very important element of this interface is the enhanced cooperation with neighboring and regional countries. Albania aims at fostering good and constructive relations in the region as a prerequisite to greater integration of the whole area into Euro- Atlantic security structures and an enhanced security cooperation as well.

Albania believes that active participation in EAPC and PfP significantly contributes to security and stability in Europe. Moreover Albania is an active participant in the Stability Pact for South East Europe and in other regional initiatives.

In May 2003, Albania, Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia signed along with United States of America the “Adriatic Charter”. This document among other things commits its signatories to fostering peace, democracy, stability and to sustained efforts towards membership in NATO.

We remain confident that the Istanbul Summit, together with the important decisions it will adopt for the future of the Alliance will duly evaluate the progress towards membership in NATO achieved by Albania and the other MAP participants and will define a clear time frame for their membership in NATO.

Published in NATO´s Nations and Partners for Peace II/2004