Skip to main content

Minister Marjan Šarec hosts Minister of Defence of the Republic of Albania Niko Peleshi on an official visit to Slovenia

At the invitation of the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Albania, Niko Peleshi, paid an official visit to Slovenia. After being received with military honours in front of the Ministry of Defence, Minister Šarec and Minister Peleshi first had a private conversation, followed by official talks between the two delegations.

The opening part of the official talks was devoted to an overview of defence and military cooperation between the two countries. They agreed that relations between the two countries are friendly, constructive and free of unresolved issues. Bilateral cooperation is based on the 1994 Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Albania. Most of the cooperation is in the field of military exercises and training, as well as in the framework of various regional projects and initiatives in the area of South-Eastern Europe.

The two countries cooperate well in the Balkan Medical Task Force (BMTF), in which Slovenia assumed the role of lead country in July 2022. Members of the Albanian Armed Forces will participate this year in the Triglav Star exercise, which will take place in the framework of the Defender 2023 exercise. Cooperation is also taking place in the field of naval forces, in the form of the international military exercise Adrion. The Ministers agreed that cooperation can also be strengthened through the NATO Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence.

Mr Peleshi stressed the importance of cyber security and cooperation in this area as well. Albania has recently been the victim of a large-scale cyber-attack, which it defended against with the help of allied countries. It is this experience that makes Albania keen to strengthen cooperation with Slovenian experts in the field of cyber-security and defence.

Bilateral cooperation is also successful in the field of protection and rescue, where a new Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania on cooperation in the protection against natural and other disasters is being prepared. Bilateral visits by representatives of the Albanian State Agency for Civil Protection to Slovenia are also currently being arranged, with a view to providing expert assistance to the Republic of Albania in strengthening its system of protection against natural and other disasters. Like Slovenia, Albania is investing in building up its aerial fire-fighting capacity. As Minister Peleshi said, they are also planning to purchase Air Tractor fire-fighting aircraft.

The Ministers continued their talks by focusing on the security situation in the Western Balkans and Ukraine, as well as on the cooperation of the countries in international operations and missions. Minister Šarec stressed that the Western Balkans is a region of strategic importance for our foreign and security policy. "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. He assessed that the path to long-term stability and development in the region can best be paved by a credible and effective enlargement process. Ensuring a Euro-Atlantic perspective for the Western Balkan countries should remain of key importance. In this light, Minister Šarec assured his Albanian counterpart of his continued support in the European Union integration process.

Both Slovenia and Albania are NATO allies. The two Ministers agreed that the Alliance must deliver concrete results at the Vilnius Summit to deepen our practical as well as political support to Ukraine. Maintaining the unity of the Alliance is of primary importance, but we also need clear guidelines for strengthening our defence industrial production capabilities to meet the defence needs of our members and the Alliance.

In the light of the deteriorating security environment, the last part of the talks was devoted to an exchange of views on the renewal of strategic and planning documents, modernisation and investment in defence. Slovenia is currently in the process of reviewing and updating new strategic and planning documents. In March 2023, a new long-term defence plan up to 2040 was adopted by the Parliament, and a new defence strategy and a medium-term defence programme are under preparation. These documents set out priorities in the areas of development, modernisation, staffing of the armed forces and levels of ambition, Minister Šarec told his ministerial counterpart Peleshi.

A video of Minister Peleshi's arrival and the reception with military honours can be viewed on the Ministry of Defence YouTube channel.