"More US Engagement Needed"
Albanian Daily News
Published November 30, 2017
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs has started a working visit to Washington D.C. He and his Western Balkan counterparts will attend a conference on regional cooperation and security, organized in the framework of the Atlantic Council's Future Europe initiative.
During his visit to the US, he attended an activity organized by the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) with the topic "View of Albania on Regional Security, Energy and Atlanticism in the Western Balkans". Invited to this panel presented by Janusz Bugajski and Peter Doran, at the presence of an audience of analysts and diplomats in Washington, Bushati introduced a view of the challenges of security that the Western Balkans is facing.
Minister Bushati estimated that the Western Balkans constituted a complex region regarding security challenges, ranking a series of elements that require added attention and increased cooperation not only among regional countries, but even by the EU and US.
"This added attention becomes even more indispensible if we consider that our region, which has not recovered yet from the nationalist reminiscences of the past, is easily exposed and threatened by the influence of third actors, but even by terrorism, radicalism and foreign fighters engaged in the conflict in Syria," declared Bushati.
Speaking about major energy projects, like TAP Pipeline and perspective for its expansion along Albania, Montenegro, Croatia in the project for Adriatic- Ionian Pipeline, he underlined the strategic importance of the region regarding the EU in its challenge to diversify energy sources and reduce dependence.
Focusing on Albania's role in the region, Minister Bushati pointed out that Albania has a long-term strategic interest to contribute to peace and stability of the region and in this frame it has used all international platforms to promote this position. More concretely, he referred to the support that Albania has given to the Euro-Atlantic integration of Western Balkan aspirant countries for NATO membership, stressing that this approach has been materialized even in the regional cooperation, where Albania, Montenegro and Croatia are working in a three- lateral platform to offer added contribution not only to platforms of regional security but even to promote inter-connection and social development in the Western Balkans.
The Albanian Foreign Minister held a meeting with the Congressman from Florida, Matt Gaetz with whom he discussed the recent developments in Albania and region. On his part, Congressman Gaetz said that the government has a clear mandate to govern and it has full support of the US for state-consolidating reforms undertaken by them. He underlined that the US is particularly interested in reforms in the field of rule of law and the potential that these reforms may release for the Albanian economy. The American Congressman pointed out the interest of the US in the reform to the energy sector in Albania.