Cakaj attends Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Washington to mark 70 years of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance

Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj attended the Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers held in Washington to mark 70 years since the founding of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Wednesday evening, the Ministers gathered in the ‘Andrew W. Mellon’ Auditorium, the hall in which the North Alliance Treaty was signed 70 years ago. The event marked the celebration of 7 decades of peace, prosperity, and security for nearly 1 billion people across the Euro-Atlantic region, as well as an opportunity to look to the future together.

The Alliance helped put an end to the Cold War, and restore peace and security in the Western Balkans. In solidarity with the USA following the September 11 attacks, NATO for the first time evoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty concerning collective protection. A number of issues, including the relations between NATO and Russia, NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism, and the Allies’ commitments to defence spending, were on the agenda of the meeting today.

The Ministers expressed their concern over Russia, including its aggressive actions against Ukraine, and its seizure of the naval vessels and their crew in the Sea of Azov. They unanimously agreed on new measures intended to enhance the level of security control in the Black Sea region, and strengthen support for the Alliance’s partners in the region, Georgia and Ukraine.

The Ministers voiced their concern over development and deployment by Russia of weapons, which are in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In the meeting on the fight against terrorism, the Foreign Ministers also addressed the Alliance’s role further on in the fight against terrorism, with a special focus on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the contribution and participation in the global coalition so as to defeat ISIS.

In the framework of the fight against terrorism, the Alliance will continue to train the local security forces so as to ensure that they become more capable and successful. The Alliance remains committed to step up its efforts to improve cooperation with the other partners in the region, Jordan and Tunisia.

The Ministers supported the US special envoy’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan, and reaffirmed their determination to stay there for as long as it is necessary. They also reaffirmed their commitment to step up their contributions to the Euro-Atlantic defence and security, and the achievement of the goals set in the Wales Summit so as to increase defence investments.

Referring to 10 years since Albania joined the Alliance, Acting Minister Cakaj underlined the importance of the Alliance enlargement, and its contribution so as to enhance security and stability across the Euro-Atlantic region, particularly in the Western Balkans. He laid special emphasis on the continued support for the region’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, and more concrete support for the European integration.

Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj underlined the importance for the Alliance to continue to put special focus into this region. Likewise, he reconfirmed Albania’s commitment to progressively increase the defence budget, and pointed out our country’s role within the Alliance, and Alliance’s contribution to collective security, including that in Kosovo, the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the Aegean Sea, and Latvia.

On the margins of the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Ministers, Acting Minister Cakaj had a meeting with the Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller, with whom he exchanged opinions about the situation in the region, the security challenges, Albania’s role in the NATO, and its further cooperation with the Alliance, with a special focus on the latter’s investments in Albania. He also had a number of meetings with his counterparts.

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