Written evidence submitted by the Embassy
of the Republic of Albania
The Republic of Albania, the Albanian Government
and all Albanian Political spectrum, appreciate as inalienable,
the role of North Atlantic Alliance towards the strengthening
of the security, peace and stability in the region. This realistic
approach is based as well on the radical change of security situation
in B-H, as a result of NATO presence, and stopping the genocide
in Kosova, thanks to the NATO military intervention in 1999.
The Albanian stand for the indefeasible role
of NATO in the region is confirmed to the highest forums of the
Alliance, as recently at the EAPC countries Summit of Istanbul.
It is also manifested with the support given to the Istanbul Communique
of the Heads of States and Governments of NATO countries. The
Albanian stand is clearly and firmly expressed in the annual documents
of Albanian MAP towards
The above mentioned political Support is materialised
also with the active participation of our country in the forums
and mechanisms that NATO has incited to strengthen the security
and stability of the region.
Washington Summit, 23-24 April 1999, gave a
clear evidence on showing how important are for NATO, the developments
in the region of SEE and particularly in Kosova, as well as further
commitment of NATO, supporting SEE Countries in their efforts
towards the democratic societies, peace and stability in the region.
Reflecting to the new developments and challenges,
the Washington Summit, inspired and set up the foundations for
many institutions, initiatives and instruments, helping the countries
of the region to join the European trend.
After the establishment of NATO initiative for
SEE, which included a wide range of programmes and initiatives
for the regional cooperation and long-term stability in Balkan,
Albania, has been one of the first countries as member of SEEGROUP
(derivate of SEEI), steering actually this forum during 2004.
The value of SEEGROUP, consists not only on
the strengthening of cooperation and leadership of the countries
in the region, but also on the inclusion of Serbia & Montenegro
and Bosnia-Herzegovina (as members of this group without being
partner countries to North Atlantic Alliance) in common programmes.
The continuity of NATO presence in the region
may be treated as well in a bilateral corner-sight from out-in
and vice-versa. The contribution of NATO presence in the countries
mentioned by the British Commons Foreign Committee, despite the
respective specifics, will stimulate and speed up the materialization
of reforms and the fulfilment of necessary obligations by each
country that aims to be a NATO member or partner.
The materialization of reforms and obligations
fulfilment creates a more stable framework, allow the implementation
of essential political processes and strengthening of the institutions
and open the road towards membership. The effect of NATO presence
in the region, is related to the fact that the trust of the people
to NATO troops for the security and stability, is much higher
than the presence of other International Organisations (the previous
experiences support this fact).
Further more, a NATO presence in the region
is a key factor for the foreign investments, which bring in the
same time an increase of economic prosperity of a country.
The speed of materialisation of these respective
aims in this reciprocal relation state-NATO, is mainly conditioned
by the achievement of obligations by each country, the success
of democratic standards, and the accomplishment of reforms, not
only in the defence field.
Keeping in mind that this is a long term process,
the role and the presence of NATO in the region remain of a very
EU, INCLUDING THE
European integration is today the main strategic
objective of Albania society. This objective has on its basis
the full support of the social and political forces, aiming at
tying Albania to the European values and developing Albanian society
according to democratic principles, rule of law and market economy.
Having clearly expressed its will to join the
European family, Albania has been working with determination and
passion since the early 1990s to turn this aspiration into reality,
although through periods of progress and regress.
A new impetus to the whole process of getting
closer to the EU was given in 1999, when after the violent conflicts
in our region over the past decade, the EU established a new political
and strategic vision for the five countries of South Eastern Europe,
including Albania: the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP).
This process will remain the framework of our European Course,
the way to our future accession.
During this five-year dialogue with the European
Union, set up firstly with the EU-Albania HLSG and later with
Joint Consultative Task Force, Albania has been committed to carrying
out the reforms required by the process of moving closer to the
EU. Since 31st January 2003 Albania has been negotiating with
the European Commission the Stabilization and Association Agreement,
which will be the framework for the deepening of the relationship
between Albania and EU. Through a series of political and technical
rounds of negotiations, the first reading of the text of the agreement
has been completed, thus approaching the conclusion of the negotiations
and paving the way for the implementation of the agreement.
Meanwhile, it has become ever clearer to us
that the most suitable strategy for a sustainable development
of Albania and the entire region should be based on two main pillars:
European integration end regional integration. In the framework
of its policy of regional cooperation, Albania, and the other
countries of western Balkans, elaborated and presented a coordinated
position at the Thessalonica Summit, which marked the beginning
of a permanent political dialogue between the European Union and
the SAP countries.
The Thessalonica Summit aimed at enriching the
SAP with new elements from enlargement experience. Albania welcomed
this message of support; in particular adoption of elements of
the pre-accession strategy to the Western Balkan countries, such
as the European Integration Partnerships, the opening of the community
programs, enhanced cooperation in the areas of political dialogue
and CFSP, etc.
The offering of a more clear European prospect
acts as a stimulus for progress in the required reforms. The successful
process of the recent enlargement with 10 new member States contributed
to the consolidation of peace, stability and democracy in Europe.
We are aware that substantial progress of reforms
determines Albania's progress in the SAP. We are convinced that
these reforms, as well as European integration itself, are in
the first place in our own interest, as they contribute to the
country's economic and political development.
The clear perspective that the EU has opened
to Albania is a considerable contribution to keeping the peace
of reforms undertaken by the Albanian Government in the political
and economic aspect. The integration process and required reforms
in this framework are necessary for the overall development of
the country, not least for its integration into European structures.
The identification of these short and medium-term
reforms is the main purpose of the EU's European partnership and
the Albanian Government's Actions Plan, recently adopted.
In the framework of the cooperation with EU,
Albania would ask for the support of the UK, as a member state,
in restructuring the CARDS Program. An increase in the financial
support to the SAP countries, within the 2007-13 Financial Perspective,
would be a clear message of the European future of these countries.
A message of this sort is the inclusion of SAP countries in DG
Enlargement of the new Commission.
A review of CARDS Program should aim at striking
the right balance between financial assistance for institutional
reforms and for the needs of economic and social development.
It is vital for the development of the region as a whole the improvement
in the infrastructure sector.
We also think it is necessary to advance in
concrete terms the issue of the progressive liberalization of
the EU's visa regime for the SAP countries through the submission
by the EU of a list of concrete steps to be taken, so as to have
a positive response from the union. The liberalization of the
visa regime is the point of the Thessalonica Agenda where no progress
has been made.
Since January 2004, Albania aligns itself with
positions of the European Union in Common Foreign and Security
Policy. This is an expression of Albania's willingness to cooperate
closely with the EU in all areas including CFSP, in compliance
with the Thessalonica Agenda for the Western Balkans. In the framework
of our cooperation in the area of security, the Albanian Government
has expressed its willingness and readiness to participate in
the military mission "ALTHEA" of the EU in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The relations between Albania and Kosovo
Relations with Kosovo are characterized by a
constructive spirit of cooperation, in compliance with the UN
Resolution 1244 and Constitutional Framework of Kosovo. Albania
has already intensified its economic, social and cultural relations
with Kosovo and to facilitate the free movement of people, goods
For this purpose:
During this year, 33 high level visits
have been paid, especially the visits of President H.E. Mr. Alfred
Moisiu and Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Fatos Nano in Kosovo and the
visits of UN Special Representative Mr. Holker and the Speaker
of Kosovo's Parliament Mr. Daci in Tirana. These political contacts
have been of a very special importance for the coordination of
the stands and actions on behalf of the stability in Kosovo and
in the region as well.
A visit of Kosovo's President Rugova,
took place this summer and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr.
Kastriot Islami will visit Kosovo as well.
About 12 bilateral Agreements and
Memorandums of Understanding have been signed referring the Free
Trade Agreement and boosting the cooperation in different fields,
especially education, health, transport, trade, sports, etc We
foresee that in the near future to sign the Agreement for the
Elimination of Double Taxation between our country and Kosovo
and three other Memorandums of Understanding.
To intensify the cooperation against
cross-border crime and smuggling, the General Police Director
of Albania has already visited Kosovo and is on going process
an agreement related to the cooperation between the Police Forces
of Albania and UNMIK. Five border crossing points exist between
Albania and Kosovo and another is expected soon. These are serving
to the intensification of the economic cooperation and exchanges
between two countries and will prevent the illegal border crossings.
We have started the proceedings for a normal function of the customs
services at the actual cross-border points. In January 2004 the
Albanian Government made the decision to open a new cross-border
The transfer of competences and responsibilities
While appreciating the important role and support
given by International Administration in Kosovo, we support the
reorganization of UNMIK structure. If we really wish to have progress
and to create responsible and effective governance in Kosovo,
is the right time to give more power and responsibilities to local
institutions and authorities and better involvement of these institutions
to the reserved competencies. Taking these measures is the proper
action to progress. The Government of Kosovo does not posses actually
the proper means and the necessary information to act effectively.
Standards and status
We reconfirm our help and support towards the
implementation of the policy of standards and the plan for their
implementation as a main base for the future of Kosovo, which
will contribute to further increase the stability and the security
in the Western Balkans region, and to intensify the spirit of
cooperation and mutual integration. We believe that the discussions
for the status of Kosovo parallel to the standards that means
following a policy "standards with status" will bring
a real progress not only to the political process of Kosovo but
also a further normalization of the situation in the region.
Albania appreciates the commitment of EU and
NATO for the general security situation and for the progress of
political process in Kosovo. We congratulate the creation of the
Support Group for Kosovo as an important step to intensify the
cooperation among Western Governments-EU-NATO-UNMIK-Kosovo's Government,
especially in this moment when the need to speed up the implementation
of the standards is emergent. We wish and believe a real contribution
of this group for the implementation of the standards. We think
that a better coordination of international factors would help
to further improve the progress of political and economic processes
In principle, we support the efforts made for
the decentralization of local authority in Kosovo which must not
consist and not bee understood as an ethnic territorial division.
We emphasized that:
The implementation of this plan should
be materialized in due time.
This should be done in accordance
with the vision for a multinational and multiethnic Kosovo and
not to allow any kind of disintegration or partition on ethnic
To consist on the agreement of understanding
between institutions of Kosovo and different ethnicities, especially
between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo (not out if it).
We are for the decentralization but we think
that discussions about this process should not avoid or derail
the joint commitment of international and local institutions towards
the fulfillment of standards.
We express our commitment to encourage the leaders
of Kosovo for an intra-dialogue within communities, keeping in
mind that the March events have considerably damaged the inter-ethnic
confidence in Kosovo. We support the dialogue at political and
technical level between Prishtina and Belgrade as well.
Albania is for good relations and constructive
dialogue with its neighbors where Albanians are present. This
dialogue and cooperation plays a good role in the actual stability
of the neighboring Macedonia. The statement of Macedonian officials
that Kosovo does not poses a threat for Macedonian stability and
their commitment to open a Liaison Office in Prishtina is welcomed.
Albania is also committed to develop the progress and dialogue
with Serbia in order to create a good and constructive climate
between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo and in the region, because
this will also serve to the regional integration.
We think that Kosovo should be included as integral
part of the common aspiration towards regional and European integration,
as it was supported by the international community and materialized
at the EU Thessalonica Summit.
The Serbian Government Plan is prepared for
internal political effects and its aim is to export the crises
situation from Serbia to Kosovo. It is more of a political character
than of a practical one. This way of the decentralization based
on ethnic grounds, will create more problems rather than generating
democracy and harmony. That means "division" of two
main ethnic groups of Kosovo, deepening the disagreements between
them, which are against the principles of multiethnic coexistence
and the European integration.
It seems a paradox the fact that even in the
Resolution 1244 Kosovo is quoted as a part of former Yugoslavia,
which now means the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the plan has
been approved only by Serbian Parliament and has not yet passed
for approval to the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro.
We believe that the assignment of Mr Soren Jessen
Petersen, as the new Special Representative of UN in Kosovo, will
positively affect the progress of political and economic processes
there. In accordance with the actual circumstances, the reorganization
of the UNMIK administration is indispensable, and a permanent
unified support and a clear orientation from the international
community is adequate.
Albania remains committed to positively influence
the Albanian political factor and other political factors as well,
to encourage the democratic and integration processes in Kosovo.
We fully support the close cooperation with UNMIK, KFOR and international
community for the implementation of standards and the consolidation
of comprehensive institutions, the creation of a multiethnic society,
the encouragement of political dialogue with Belgrade, strengthening
of a stable market economy, the prevailing of the rule of law
and the openness toward regional cooperation.
The events of 17-18 March
We reconfirm our decisive stand against violence
and violent acts, despite the motives which incite them.
We have condemned the distraction of the religion
and cultural objects expressing that such actions are against
the progress that has been achieved towards the strengthening
of the peaceful coexistence between different ethnicities, the
development of further dialog, the consolidation of institutions
and the fulfillment of the standards.
We welcomed the measures taken by the Government
of Kosovo to repair the damage and to bring before the justice
We fully supported the Special Representative
of UN in Kosovo and KFOR and have requested from political leaders
and from the people of Kosovo to restrain and act in a mature
way, to cooperate with legal local and international authorities
to restore the order.
We have appreciated the immediate intervention against
the violence of the important international factors, especially
UN, EU and NATO, which influenced to calm down the situation.
We express our confidence that the recent events,
even they were difficult; will not interrupt the progress of democratic
processes, which is good for a multiethnic Kosovo with its place
Embassy of the Republic of Albania