The 29th Summit of the Heads of States and Governments of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance was held in NATO’s new headquarters, on 11-12 July 2018. As a member state, Albania was represented by a delegation headed by the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, and staffed by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati and the Defense Minister, Olta Xhaçka.
The Summit met the pre-existing expectations, as it was mainly characterized by open and upfront discussions about how crucial it is for NATO members to fulfill the decision taken in the Wales Summit four years ago, when the Allies stated their intentions to increase their defense spending to 2% of their GDP, until 2024. Despite the differing opinions the Allies had concerning various issues, the Summit reconfirmed NATO’s solidarity and unity. Thus, the Alliance will continue guaranteeing and safeguarding the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.
In order to adequately address the serious and complex safety threats and challenges from the East and the South, the Alliance took important decisions to further strengthen the collective defense and to discourage, display stability, and fight against terrorism in the Euro-Atlantic area and its surroundings. The Summit paid close attention to the support and help it will offer to its partners in the Middle East and North Africa, in order to train them in facing the current security challenges. The Allies approved the initiation of NATO’s new non-combat training Mission in Iraq and set the new aid packages for Jordan and Tunisia.
In this context, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, participated in the special meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the states participating in the Global Coalition against the so-called “Islamic States”, established by the United States of America. “Fighting terrorism in all the shapes it can take, by focusing on preventing and addressing the ideological factors, remains a crucial objective for all our countries and a challenge to the stability of the region”- stated Minister Bushati. Furthermore, the Summit also focused on deepening the cooperation between NATO and the European Union. In order to reconfirm their commitment, the two organizations signed a common declaration in which they highlighted their strategic partnership and their collaboration in a number of domains concerning defense, security, facing hybrid threats, cyber challenges, and facilitating the transport of troops and military equipment in the whole Euro-Atlantic area.
The Summit reconfirmed the strategic importance of the Western Balkans for the Alliance’s security and Albania’s increasing significance. In this context, Albania will increase its contributions to NATO’s operations. In addition, it will further engage politically by participating in the Alliance’s decision-making and policy-setting process, especially when it comes to issues concerning the region and the Open Doors Policy.
The reconfirmation of NATO’s Open Doors Policy was one of the Summit’s most crucial elements for our region. NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, represented the Alliance when he handed the official invitation to initiate the membership talks to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, following the recent significant agreement to change Macedonia’s name, between Skopje and Athens. During the Summit, the leaders of the Allied countries met the Presidents of Ukraine and Georgia and reconfirmed their full support to further strengthen the cooperation between the Alliance and these partners.
The Summit reconfirmed NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan, concerning the training, counseling, and assistance provided to the National Afghan Security Forces (military and police), including the financial contributions of the countries participating in the Mission “Resolute Support”.
Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
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