Remarks With Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 20, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good morning, everybody. It’s my pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Bushati of Albania, and particularly to do so because Albania is, first of all, a very strong friend and NATO ally. Beyond that, they’ve been really deeply involved in working with the United States and our partners on a number of different fronts. And today, we will have the pleasure of signing the U.S.-Albania – or Albania-U.S. Strategic Partnership, which is an effort to cooperate even more fully on our mutual interests against counterterrorism, for security in the region against ISIL, and other initiatives.

I had a chance in Wales at the summit last year to meet with Prime Minister Rama, where we discussed many of these issues, and now today we’re going to follow up on it. Albania has also been very helpful in terms of relocation of the MEK folks and other issues. We support their accession to the EU as soon as possible, and they’re on the road to do the things necessary for that accession. We’re also very pleased that Albania has agreed to host one of the follow-on ministerial meetings on the Countering Violent Extremism. And this is critical, obviously, to everybody’s interests, given the daily headlines and news with respect to what ISIL is engaged in. And finally, we are working very closely on the overall regional counter-ISIL efforts. Their cooperation on that has been, as a member of the coalition and a partner, absolutely essential.

So a lot of security issues. There will be, additionally, discussions with respect to other matters. Particularly in the EU accession, there’s a lot of economic and domestic reform efforts – rule of law, other kinds of issues – where we’re working together.

So Ditmir, happy to have you here. Thank you very much for taking time to be with us, appreciate it. Welcome.

FOREIGN MINISTER BUSHATI: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I’m so happy to be here with you today. Albania and the United States are strategic partners and allies both in NATO and other international organizations. We are working closely together in Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently on the fight against global terrorism and violent extremism. If our region is nowadays at peace and is looking towards EU membership, it is largely due to constant engagement of U.S. And I’m here today to discuss with Secretary Kerry also about the ways on how to further streamline our strategic cooperation on strategic sectors between Albania and the United States. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you.