Prime Minister Edi Rama used the press conference meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday (13 July) to call for the inclusion of neighbouring Kosovo in the alliance’s Partnership for Peace programme.
Following the NATO summit in Madrid, Stoltenberg has been meeting with the leaders of member states to discuss the current security situation and avenues of cooperation.
Kosovo is not a member of NATO, although it has repeatedly expressed its desire to join. In May, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti said he intended to apply for membership in the Partnership for Peace programme, considered a precursor to full membership. Its path remains complicated, however, as membership requires consensus from all member states, which it cannot achieve due to a lack of recognition from Spain, Romania, Greece, and Slovakia.
“I have again had the chance to mention the need to consider the involvement of Kosovo in the Partnership for Peace Programme although I understand there are some political constraints,” said Rama, referring to the need for a consensus before such membership can be granted.
“But still, in the times we are living in, in my humble view, it should be reconsidered,” he added.
Rama also spoke of the need to involve Serbia in matters relating to regional security and in combating the influence of external and harmful forces, even though Belgrade is not a member of the alliance.
The prime minister also reiterated his offer of the “blank sheet” naval base for the use of NATO, referring to Porto Romano in Durres. Plans to turn the existing port into a naval site were first mentioned at the start of July. The adjacent Durres Port is set to be revamped through a large concession with an Emirati company.
This comes in addition to the Kucova airbase which is currently undergoing work to be transformed into a NATO air field and logistics hub.
Stoltenberg took the opportunity to thank Albania for its continued support and alignment as well as its deployment of troops in Kosovo, Latvia, and Bulgaria. He also congratulated the country for being one of the first to ratify the accession protocol for Sweden and Finland following their official application to join the alliance.
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