Ministry of Defence

Address of Defence Minister Mrs. Mimi Kodheli on the occasion of 101st Anniversary of the Armed Forces creation

Friday, on December 04, 2013
 
Honourable former defence ministers,
Honourable Chief of General Staff,
Honourable military, employees of the Ministry of Defence,
Dear participants,

 
It is a pleasure, but also a privilege for me to address you today as defence minister, on the occasion of the 101st Anniversary of our Armed Forces creation.

After November 28, 1912, the day when Ismail Qemali along with other patriots, founders of the new Albanian state, proclaimed the independence of Albania, December 4, 1912 is the date that marks one of the major acts in the history of the Albanian state, the creation of National Army.

We are aware that every day that passes, further exalts this act of patriotism, determination and wisdom in our national memory, exalts that generation of patriots who, under extremely difficult circumstances, while the vital interests of the Albanian Nation were threatened, with unshaken belief in their patriotism created the new Albanian state, established the first Government and the first National Ministry of War, thus giving to the Albanian nation, their free state, government and its army.
Statesmen as Ismail Qemali, Mehmet Pasha Dërralla and many others, with their vision and foresight identified the defence and security as a vital issue to the newly created state.

Aware of the importance of creating defence instruments for the state, at the first meeting of the government, they announced the formation of the Albanian National Army.

The leaders of this vital organization faced two fundamental challenge of the first Albanian government: the organization and creation of the Armed Forces, and simultaneously securing and maintaining public order.

In a century of tumultuous history, like all institutions of the Albanian state, the army have faced challenges offered by time. On this special day, all Albanians are united in the acknowledgment and gratitude to the contribution of all those who laid the foundation and paved the way for the creation of a modern army, who sacrificed everything so that Albanians might live freely today, equal among equals.
101 years later, the Armed Forces Day is commemorated in completely different conditions. Country’s defence and security, for the first time in history, is guaranteed. Since April 2009, Albania is a member of the largest political and military Alliance of modern time.
Country’s defence is based on the Alliance’s collective defence. Albania, with its far-sighted policy, has become an important factor of stability, peace and security in the region and beyond. Our country is a model country for the contributions it makes to peace and security.

Dear military,

The last 23 years have been characterized by continuous efforts and commitment oriented towards reforms in building a small in number, but professional and efficient Armed Force, capable of fulfil its constitutional mission, efforts which culminated this year with their full integration into the Alliance structures.

Significant progress has been made regarding the institutionalization of a professional force, its modernization, planning according to NATO standards, training, preparation of key strategic documents, and recently work started with the implementation of the Capacity Targets.
 
On this anniversary, we praise the role and irreplaceable contribution and express deep gratitude to the U.S. government and to all allies and partners, who contributed and continue to contribute to the restructuring and modernization of our Armed Forces.

They are today one of the most precious assets of the country, with a constant contribution to the preservation of country’s sovereignty and security, as well as part of NATO-led operations, defending peace and security in the world. In the early part of the second century of existence, our Armed Forces reveal the best features of the Albanian people, as loyalty, courage and love for the Homeland.
 
On this remarkable day, I would like to thank and express my special gratitude to the contingents of the Armed Forces who have served and serve with dedication and dignity in operations led by NATO, ISAF in Afghanistan, KFOR in Kosovo and in the EU-led Operation “Althea” in Bosnia-Herzegovina, reassuring them that this government will make every effort, as never before by the Albanian politics, so they might have everything necessary to be at the height of their noble mission, at the height of service and honour toward the country.

Today the Albanian soldier, NCO, officer is more prepared, well trained and educated, better equipped with modern equipment and weaponry.
 
I am aware that much remains to be done. Our Armed Forces are further developed with clear vision based on modern and professional concepts, long-term planning and programs aiming their continuous and uninterrupted transformation.
 
I am confident that all women and men in uniform, wherever they serve, will make every effort, at any moment, to achieve the highest standards and make our Armed Force a dignified part of the Alliance.

Our commitment will enable a deep reform in the Armed Forces, in terms of doctrine, conceptual and structural prospective, aiming the increase of its professionalism and de-politicization. This reform will include a review and adjustment of the legislation and procedures, staffs’ professional development to promote best practices. Moreover, education and training are important to build capacity and transform the institutions of defence.
Despite the financial difficulties inherited, the new government has the unwavering political will to support this reform necessary for our Armed Forces. Only in this way, their history, in the coming years, will be a success story; it will be the history of the next generation. This is the highest honour we pay to all those who have contributed to bring the Armed Forces where they are today.
This is the highest honour we pay to all those who have contributed to bring the Armed Forces where they are today.

Once again, happy anniversary of the Armed Forces creation!

Thank you!

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