Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs attends the 55th Session of the “Munich Security Conference”, 15-17 February 2019, Munich

Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj attended the proceedings of the follow-up session of the Munich Security Conference, which for several years now constitutes an important and independent arena of global leaders to hold informal discussions about the most current security challenges. The 55th session of this conference was one of the most important of the last 10 years, with the largest participation of globally high-ranking personalities, but also because 2019 will be the year of proof for international developments in the field of security.

The central topic of this year’s Conference session was to maintain the current international order, the situation in trans-Atlantic relations, the Western Balkans and its integration prospects, as well as the current world crisis zones (Syria, Yemen, Saheli, Venezuela). At the marginal of this activity, the acting Minister Cakaj also held a series of bilateral meetings with several European Foreign Ministers, representatives of the EU, the OSCE, NATO and high personalities present in this conference.

Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj, held a meeting with Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Director for Europe and Russia at the White House National Security Council, Fiona Hill. Collaboration within strategic partnership with the United States of America, interaction on challenges of global security, regional co-operation and European integration, were among the issues addressed in the meeting.

Cakaj expressed appreciation for the US’s valuable support for democratization processes and conducting reforms in the country, as well as the strategic partnership between the two countries. He reassured Albania’s commitment to continue as a devoted partner to the United States for stability, peace and prosperity in our region and beyond, as well as facing of global security challenges. Hill praised Albania’s contribution to its ranking alongside the United States in addressing global security challenges, and expressed US support for Albania’s reforms and the European integration path.

At the meeting that Minister Cakaj had with NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller discussed the political views and respective standpoints on issues of geopolitical sensitivity in the region and on the Euro-Atlantic security framework, a few months before the next meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NATO countries, to be held on April 3-4, 2019, in Washington. Minister Cakaj particularly appreciated the role and weight of the Alliance as a guarantor of peace and security in the region. Likewise, he praised the role of KFOR in Kosovo as an anchor of stability for Kosovo and beyond. For her part, NATO Deputy Secretary-General Gotemoeller praised Albania’s inherent role and contributions as an ally country, both in the context of the region and in the transatlantic security framework. Regarding the region, she reiterated NATO’s well-known stance on recent developments in the region, such as the accelerated progress of the Republic of North Macedonia towards full NATO membership and support for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue as the only way to bring peace and stability to the region.

Minister Cakaj also held a meeting with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger. The Secretary-General after congratulating the Acting Minister on his duty, expressed his appreciation for Albania’s commitment to taking the OSCE Presidency in a hard and challenging time for security and stability in the OSCE area and beyond. Further, the Secretary General assured the Acting Minister of establishing close cooperation and full support of the Secretariat to the Albanian Presidency in order to successfully fulfil this commitment. For his part, the Acting Minister, Cakaj, praised the full support of the Secretary General in the consensus approval process of Albania’s candidacy for the OSCE Presidency in 2020. Albania, he said, is fully committed to providing input in the joint efforts of all participating countries, to establish a constructive dialogue and building of trust in addressing current and future challenges in the OSCE space. Further, the two interlocutors exchanged views on strengthening the role and capabilities of the OSCE to address common crises with a view to full utilization of the Organization’s potential to cope with them. During the meeting was also discussed about Albania’s engagement as a member of the Troika and the current chair of the Mediterranean Contact Group.

Minister Cakaj had a meeting with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and thanked her for her contribution and that of Bulgaria during the EU Presidency, as well as for their full support to Albania on the path of integration and opening of membership negotiations. The interlocutors emphasized the need for increased economic co-operation, as well as in the field of tourism and culture. Minister Cakaj praised the increased presence of Bulgarian business in Albania and assured for his readiness to further this cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Minister Zaharieva assured Minister Cakaj of Bulgaria’s determination to support with all possibilities the progress of the integration process and the opening of negotiations for Albania’s EU membership.

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