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September 5-6, 2003
Mr. Pandeli Majko
Minister of Defense of the Republic of Albania

Dear colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I would like to thank the Center for Study of Democracy for giving me the chance to participate in this very important conference for our region.

We all agree that the stability in our region is improving every day. This is first of all thanks to the common efforts of our countries. Many initiatives, institutions and organizations are giving their contribution to enhance the cooperation amongst our countries.

I would like to emphasize the role of the transatlantic relationship that has enormously contributed to the improvement of the security in the region. The presence of NATO, EU and US in the Balkans is the very factor of this every day improving stability.

Let me remind you the management of the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the EU led mission ' Concordia' in Macedonia. The Stability Pact itself has involved important international organizations such as UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and NATO. Further more, international financial institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Bank, etc, are giving their contribution for the development of the region.

The transatlantic relationship has a crucial role in facilitating the cooperation amongst countries of the region, to create a peaceful and friendly climate. The political, human and financial investment of EU, US and NATO together with the efforts of the countries of the region have promoted the stability in the SEE. Albania is very active to give its modest contribution to the stability of the region. As an aspirant country Albania is heavily involved in the process of integration. The Adriatic Initiative, through the Adriatic Charter, is another engagement together with Macedonia and Croatia to move towards NATO integration by investing on their strengths to recover their weaknesses.

We encourage Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania in their way of becoming full NATO members. We see them as another positive factor to promote stability. These countries are encouraging the other countries of the region to increase their efforts and accelerate the reforms.

Let me return to the Adriatic Initiative, because I see this initiative as the best example of the cooperation. We, the three Ministers of Defense of the respective countries, have had since last June two trilateral meetings. Next week the three of us will meet again in Tirana to sign a Joint Statement. The three ministries of foreign affairs of the three countries are preparing another meeting which will be held very soon in Macedonia to examine the progress made since the signing of the Adriatic Charter.

Dear participants,
All of us are aware that there are no national isolated problems. The problems we face such as terrorism, organized crime, border control, corruption, and clandestine trafficking are all regional and transnational. The fight against these problems must have a regional and transnational response.

This conference was a worthwhile effort in trying to find solutions to harmonize the efforts and to share responsibilities in ensuring the progress of the promotion of security in the region. Thank you for your attention.
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