The Centre of Excellence for the phenomenon of Foreign Fighters, Poland supports Albania

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Albania will soon have the Centre of Excellence with the aim of studying the phenomenon of Foreign Fighters, where one of the experts will be from Poland. The news was announced during the meeting that Defense Minister Olta Xhaçka had with the Minister of National Defense for Poland, Antoni Macierewicz during his official visit in Tirana.

During the bilateral meeting, Minister Xhaçka praised the support that Poland has given to Albania on the road to NATO membership and now on the road to European Union membership. “We discussed our initiative to finalize the establishment of the Centre of Excellence, with the aim of studying the Phenomenon of Foreign Fighters” said the Minister during the joint press statement.

Minister Macierewicz expressed the readiness of the Polish Government to appoint the Polish Military Attaché in Tirana as soon as possible, as well as the Polish assistance to the functioning of the Centre of Excellence with the aim of studying the phenomenon of Foreign Fighters that will be hosted in Tirana.

"We decided to strengthen the cooperation between us, which can bring tangible results for the European security. Therefore, in this context, we will support the establishment and functioning of the Centre of Excellence, where we will have one of our experts” said Minister Macierewicz.

The Defense Minister Olta Xhaçka also informed the Polish counterpart for the latest decision of the Assembly, the adoption of the normative act about the increase of 2017 Defense Budget.

“I also informed my colleague Macierewicz about the increase of 2017 Defense bUdget, and the positive trend agreed upon until 2024. Four hundred million Lek (new) will enable us to have a significant increase in the defense budget reaching 1,15% of GDP. This money will be used to modernize the Armed Forces, fulfilling NATO capability objectives for joint air defense. But most importantly, it is the national dimension of using this money. In cooperation with our strategic allies, the United States of America, we have decided to install radar for surveying the airspace of our country” said among other things Minister Xhaçka.

The Polish Minister honored with the “Polish Campaign Stars” medal two Albanians Lieutenant Colonels: Silvana Lahi and Dritan Muka, an award that is given by the Polish President for foreign military personnel that becomes part of the Polish personnel in missions abroad. Lieutenant Colonel Silvana Lahi has served in the Afghan Ministry of Defense as Adviser for Special Operations. Lieutenant Colonel Dritan Muka served at the Special Operations Headquarter in Afghanistan. Based on the domestic legislation of the Republic of Poland, their Polish superiors and colleagues in the mission proposed the decoration.

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Press statement by the Defense Minister Olta Xhaçka:

Honorable participants,
I am genuinely pleased to have received today the Defense Minister of Poland, Mr. Antoni Macierewicz, with whom I had the opportunity to hold a meeting, which, besides being important, I can say with conviction that it was fruitful as well.

This is the first visit of a Defense Minister of Poland to Albania, and of course such a fact itself is significant both for the level of cooperation so far and the prospect of enhancing it in the future.

I thanked my colleague Macierewicz for his visit to Tirana, also thanking him for the support that Poland has given to Albania on the road to NATO Membership and now on the road to European Union Membership. I expressed him the special gratitude for the support that his country has provided for Kosovo as an independent state, and for the important presence of Polish military members, not just as a contribution to the security of Kosovo but also for the security of our region, which however remains fragile.

During the meeting, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions and share attitudes mostly related to security challenges, threats, and dangers which both of our countries and our common Alliance - NATO.

I informed my interlocutor about the developments in the Armed Forces, particularly about the intention to modernize them. We talked about the Albanian contribution to the missions and operations of the Alliance as well as those of the European Union, including the added attention to address hybrid risks, particularly regarding the fight against terrorism. We discussed our initiative to finalize the establishment of the Center of Excellence, with the aim of studying the Phenomenon of Foreign Terrorist Fighters.

I also informed my colleague Macierewicz about the increase of 2017 Defense Budget, and the positive trend agreed until 2024. Four hundred million (new) Lek will enable us to have a significant increase in the defense budget reaching 1,15% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This money will be used to modernize the Armed Forces, fulfilling NATO’s capabilities objectives for joint air defense. But most importantly, it is the national dimension of using this money. In cooperation with our strategic allies, the United States of America, there has been approved the installation of the radar for surveying the airspace of our country.

The Polish colleague and I shared the same opinion on the security environment, which has become more and more unpredictable and associated with several threats and risks coming from the eastern and southern borders of our Alliance.

I assured my Polish colleague that Albania and its Armed Forces will continue to assume responsibility and contribute within the Alliance, so as to face with security and defense challenges in the new geopolitical context and, in particular, as regards destabilizing acts on the eastern borders of NATO.

In conclusion, let me say that this visit, undertaken at the right moment, gives a fresh impetus to the intensity of cooperation between the two Ministries and our Armed Forces. Our staff will continue to be in constant contact to materialize the areas of cooperation through concrete plans. Cooperation is an alternative that guarantees success, and success of co-operation among the allies is a guarantee for a safer world.

Thank you!



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