Albanian Defense Minister pays official visit to Slovenia to strengthen cooperation



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In a bid to strengthen bilateral relations, Albanian Defense Minister Niko Peleshi met his Slovenian counterpart, Marjan Šarec, on an official visit to Slovenia this week, commencing with a grand reception, complete with military honors, in front of the Ministry of Defense, followed by a private conversation between the two ministers and subsequent talks involving their respective delegations.

The primary focus of the initial discussions centered on providing an overview of the defense and military cooperation existing between Slovenia and Albania. Both ministers concurred that the relationship between the two countries is amicable, constructive, and devoid of any unresolved issues.

“Our priorities will be focused on addressing the common challenges of hybrid threats, cyber security and military mobility, which can help strengthen resilience in the region,” Minister Šarec underlined.

Minister Šarec also emphasized the strategic significance of the Western Balkans in foreign and security policy and assured his Albanian counterpart of Slovenia’s continued support in the European Union integration process.

Notably, the foundation of their bilateral cooperation is rooted in the 1994 Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the Ministries of Defense of both nations which has resulted in military exercises, training initiatives, and participation in regional projects within Southeastern Europe.

A notable area of successful collaboration lies within the Balkan Medical Task Force (BMTF), where Slovenia assumed the lead country role in July 2022. This year, members of the Albanian Armed Forces will actively participate in the upcoming Triglav Star exercise, a vital component of the Defender 2023 exercise.

To further bolster their partnership, both ministers acknowledged the potential for increased collaboration through the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence.

During the discussions, Minister Peleshi emphasized the critical importance of cybersecurity and cooperation in Albania following a recent large-scale cyberattack which was successfully defended with the assistance of allied nations.

This incident prompted Albania’s interest in fortifying cooperation with Slovenian experts in the field of cybersecurity and defense. Additionally, a new Agreement on cooperation in the protection against natural and other disasters is currently being prepared between the two governments, including Slovenia providing expert assistance to Albania in reinforcing its disaster protection system.

Both countries are also investing in enhancing their aerial firefighting capabilities, with Albania planning to acquire Air Tractor fire-fighting aircraft.



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