Ministry of Defence

Defence Minister Kodheli received from her counterpart Avramopoulos

14 January 2014

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b_210_140_16777215_00___.._images_galeria_2014_Janar_14a_05.jpgThe Minister of Defence, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, following her two-day visit to Greece, held a meeting with her counterpart, the Greek Minister of Defence, Mr. Dimtris Avramopoulos. At this meeting, they discussed with enthusiastic tone about the cooperation between our two countries in important areas and with great impact for citizens of both countries. The topics discussed at the meeting dealt with cooperation in the field of defence, as well as the indisputable support to the Albania’s path towards the EU. Both sides shared the view that today’s meeting gives a new dimension to the cooperation between our two countries.

As Prime Minister Samaras, Minister Avramopoulos expressed the belief that under the leadership of the government Rama the future of Albania is secure. “It is a modern and visionary politician, and Albania is lucky to have such a politician, that enhances the values of the country”, - stated Mr. Avamopoulos for Prime Rama.

Later the agenda of Mrs. Kodheli continued with a tête-à-tête meeting with her counterpart. At the end of the meeting they gave together a press release. At the press release, Mr. Avramopoulos took care to emphasize that this is a new chapter in bilateral cooperation. According to him, the cooperation will be very valuable for the restructuring of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania, where Greece will provide all its support. “This meeting is a message of peace and stability in the region and beyond, in view of good neighbourliness. We will strongly support you on your path towards EU membership”, - said the Greek Minister of Defence.

While Minister Kodheli, among others, highlighted that, “With Minister Avramopoulos, we shared the same stance on the opportunity to further deepen our relations in the field of defence, to make them more productive for our Armed Forces.” She thanked her counterpart on behalf of the Albanian government for the indisputable support given to Albania towards EU.
 
Earlier, on the occasion of her visit to Athens, Mrs. Kodheli was honored with a very special ceremony, the first of its kind for an Albanian minister, at the Sindagma Square, where she placed a wreath at the monument of the “Unknown Soldier”.

Press release of Defence Minister of Albania, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli and Minister of Defence of Greece, Mr. Avramopoulos

Defence Minister Avramopoulos:

Today, I’ve had the special honour and pleasure to welcome here, at the Ministry of National Defence, my counterpart and good friend, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, Defence Minister of the friendly country of Albania.

Greece and Albania, as it is known, are two neighbouring countries with very strong, historical ties which date back many thousands of years. Greeks and Albanians have been living together peacefully since the ancient times. They still live together today, through the presence of the Greek Minority in Albania, as well as with the hundreds of thousands of Albanians who live, work and prosper in Greece.

Our relations are mostly based on mutual respect, solidarity and friendship. And both we and the new Albanian government wish to enlarge and reinforce our cooperation in all areas.

Minister and my dear friend,

Your today’s visit to Athens is very important and marks a new beginning; it inaugurates also a new chapter of cooperation between our two countries in the field of defence as well.
Today we have had the opportunity to present you a briefing on the Greek defence system and to tell you that it is one of the best and most reliable defence systems in Europe.

Our aim, the primary cause we definitely have to serve is the integrity and independence of our country. But, at the same time, we have also received the messages of our times. And we are both, allied NATO state-members, determined to promote peace, stability, cooperation and friendship not only within our bilateral relations, but all over our region as well.

In this spirit, today, we decided to open a new chapter in our bilateral relations in the field of defence.

During the talks we had shortly before, we searched, investigated all possible manners to further reinforce our bilateral cooperation. We have the experience, the know-how, the infrastructure and we believe that cooperation between us would be very useful for the defence system of Albania, especially at a moment when you have prepared and you apply a new reorganisation plan for the Albanian Armed Forces.

This is the message we want to send today to everybody. It is a message of peace and stability for our neighbourhood, South-eastern Europe and throughout the Balkans, and also a message of our determination to cooperate closer and deepen, enlarge and reinforce our bilateral relations in the field of defence and not only.
Finally, I would like to thank you personally and the delegation that accompanies you for the really useful and fruitful talks we have had today. We talked to each other with honesty and confidence. I am sure that these two principles are very important in the relations between states, and even more important in the relations between two neighbouring peoples who have gone through many difficult situations in the past, but now we are united by our common European prospect.

Once more, on the occasion of Mrs. Kodheli’s visit, I would like to express our country’s full support to the European path, the European prospect of Albania.
I wish to believe that an invitation for talks to start as soon as possible will be sent to Albania soon. Albania has a special place, not only in the wider region of South-Eastern Europe, but in Europe in general, where we will meet to continue our common way.

I am convinced that reinforcing our bilateral relations and contacts opens new prospects to security and prosperity not only for the people of our countries, but for the people of the wider region of South-Eastern Europe in general.

Minister, my dear friend, Mimi Kodheli,

I welcome you once more to Athens. Thank you for the exceptional cooperation we started some months ago, mainly after my visit to Albania while accompanying the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Papoulias, and for the significance we have given to the framework of our cooperation.
We will meet again soon, hopefully in late August to update and enhance our old defence cooperation between the two countries, and as we had the opportunity to agree today, we will proceed to signing a new one.
And this signature will also be the stamp which will ratify and confirm the decisions we made today and mostly it will open a new prospect for our bilateral relations in the field of defence.

Defence Minister Kodheli:

Thank you. Good evening to all of you. Mr. Avramopoulos, I would like to thank you for your hearty welcome and for the effective talks we just completed.

Although this is the first time I officially visit Athens, I had had the pleasure to meet my colleague, Mr. Avramopoulos, in Brussels, during the Defence Ministers’ meeting, and in Tirana during the visit he paid last November.
I have also had the pleasure to meet Mrs. Gennimata last October in Slovenia. This clearly points out the importance our countries dedicate to the bilateral cooperation.

I would also like to refer to the intensive high-level meetings for the bilateral cooperation, especially after Albania’s new government took office which demonstrates that Greece remains an important partner for Albania.

Since this visit came shortly after Greece assumed the Presidency of the European Union, I want, on this occasion, to wish the Greek government to have a successful Presidency, and to express our gratitude for the support it provided and provides us in Albania’s effort to join the European Union.

During the meeting with Minister Avramopoulos we had the opportunity to discuss several issues of bilateral defence cooperation, among which I would like to refer to our forces’ training, to the participation in common exercises within NATO, as well as in bilateral exercises, to the participation of our forces in NMIOTC exercises, to the participation of Greek officers in Albanian Schools, to their teaching the Greek language to Albanian officers.

Along with Mr. Avramopoulos we stressed the importance of reinforcing the cooperation between the Armed Forces. I am glad to notify that 35 Albanian students attend supreme military academies in Greece and that two Greek officers completed the supreme defence and security academy in Albania.

And I believe that this trend will be maintained in the future, apart from our cooperation as NATO member-states, in the context of regional initiatives, such as the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial, where Albania supported the South-eastern Europe multinational force, which will be based in Greece until 2017. We commit ourselves to continue the cooperation with Greece in the future and this is the reason why I am here.

I particularly appreciate the fact that Mr. Avramopoulos in all meetings appeared ready to support the Armed Forces of Albania always and everywhere.
This is what he offered until now in every position he assumed. He is a valuable friend and supporter of Albania and I hope I have found the right words to express my deep gratitude for everything he has done and he does, for everything he has offered and offers as Greece’s Minister of National Defence.

Thank you very much dear friend and colleague.

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