NATO has no “concrete plans” to build another military site in Albania, apart from the Kuçova airbase, and the Albanian government will receive several Black Hawk helicopters as part of developing and strengthening its military capabilities.
It was Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana Lt. Col. Erol Munir who confirmed these important developments during an interview on Euronews Albania.
Describing “Defender Europe 2021” exercises as “a huge success”, Colonel Munir noted that many important NATO generals have visited Albania in the last few years to see opportunities for investment.
“Currently, there are no plans to build any new NATO bases in Albania, but what I can tell you is that last week we’ve had 3 four-star generals visit Albania for the “Distinguished Visitor Day” at the port of Durres. One of those generals was General Wolters, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of US-European command. He also brought three of his four-star generals, chief of the army and chief of the navy in Europe. What they did agree to do was an assessment of Albanian infrastructure, so what we are going to do is take a look at your bases and see if there is potential for future investment of future activity, but at this time there are no concrete plans to build anything beyond the activity in Kucova, which will be led by NATO and we expect the construction in Kucova to begin this year”, said Lt. Col. Munir.
Colonel Munir said that Patriot missile launchers, high-tech US military equipment, were placed at the Kucova airbase to highlight the strategic equipment that would be deployed at this airbase.
The US Colonel told Euronews Albania that armed forces from 26 different states participated in the military drills, adding that there were also twelve Black Hawk Helicopters during the exercises, while Albania will soon have two of its own delivered by 2023.
“Albania will receive 2 “Black Hawk” helicopters of its own in 2023”, stated Lt. Col. Erol Munir.
“We will continue to help the Albanian armed forces to increase their capabilities”, he added.
The Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana said Albania was selected as the country to conduct the military drills due to several reasons, namely geography, its geostrategic position, but also because it is a highly “pro-American” country that has the capacity to host military exercises of such proportions.
He also explained that the plan of the North Atlantic Alliance is to be ready for any situation, or specific crises, taking place in Europe.
The US official confirmed that Albania has offered to host Defender Europe 2023, as well as 2025, and described it as “just the beginning.”
“We are excited that US soldiers will come to Albania regularly in the next several years to train here”.
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