Published on: 17 November 2017

Joint statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Croatia and Montenegro

Speech of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati

Good morning everyone.

First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues from Croatia and Montenegro, Marija and Srđan for this second meeting of the Adriatic trilateral. We established this as an initiative last year, when had our first meeting in Split. It aims to promote better cooperation. It encourages not only to exchange views on security challenges in the Adriatic space and to foster various projects of interconnection, projects in the field of tourism, energy, but also to benefit as much as possible from each other, due to the flexible format. This because Croatia is a member of the European Union, Montenegro is a candidate country and the most advanced country in this regard compared to all Western Balkan countries. Albania is as well a candidate country which is taking steps to open EU accession talks. On the other hand, our three countries are members of NATO.

When we met last year, Montenegro was making the final preparations towards NATO membership. This year, we are three NATO member states. We have the opportunity not only to cooperate with one another, but also to come to joint positions within NATO's scope. We can possibly contribute together in terms of security not only within the Adriatic space or the countries of the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe, but also in other areas of the globe, with the modest impact that our countries have in this regard.

We also approved today a joint statement, which will be in your disposal.  In order to maximize the time, I would like to say once again, before I welcome our Croatian colleague Marija and Montenegrin colleague, Srđan. It is clear that this trilateral platform is not a platform which substitutes the main forums, main platforms and the impact that NATO and the European Union have on this corner of Europe.

It is a platform that has emerged as a need to further coordinate projects and efforts. These might be in the field of interconnection or projects that relate to the development of tourism and the transformation of the Adriatic basin into a development opportunity for our countries and other countries which despite their lack of access to the sea, can take advantage of these projects.

There are some ideas that are being developed within the framework of the Berlin process from which our countries benefit. We also took into consideration the security environment of our space, the Adriatic Sea, and the steps that we will be able to propose to colleagues from other countries or partner institutions with which we cooperate to face security challenges.

I would like to thank once again both counterparts for the support they give to the the process of accession of Albania to European Union, which is reflected in the joint statement. Croatia is our closest country, in the political sense and of the tradition we have cultivated in the past. It is also one of those countries which we take as an example as regards the transformation process that has taken place there in the path to European integration.

We would like to benefit even more from its experience in this transformation. We think that the role of Croatia in the Western Balkans, regarding the European integration process, is very important.

On the other hand, Montenegro is a forerunner country in this process. We had excellent cooperation when Montenegro was joining NATO. Today, we have a great opportunity not only to work together but also to benefit from its experience in the the difficult process of the accession talks to the European Union.

Therefore, by concluding and thanking both colleagues, I would like to say that there are many things that unite us. This is a platform, which we hope will be productive and will further foster regional cooperation, which is indispensable for us.

 

Speech of the Minister of Croatia Marija Pejčinović Burić

Thank you very much Ditmir,

First let me thank for the great hospitality for this meeting. We are really working on, building upon the first meeting of this trilateral that took part in February in Split and we believe that as the name of the trilateral suggests, Adriatic is the sea that links us.

When someone would ask why this format, I think it’s pretty obvious and the themes we touched upon today and the last time, which certainly will continue to be covered in our upcoming meetings, are all somehow linked with this important theme. That is important for our countries, important for our industries, especially for tourism industry, but it is also important in the terms of environmental protection.

Secondly, I would like to greet now again, officially our colleagues from Montenegro because is the first time since the meeting in Split. In between, what happened is that Montenegro became full member of the NATO.

I think that makes our trilateral even stronger now, but that is also the difference from the first meeting which took place in February. I think that together, we worked on three pillars today. First pillar is the defense and security cooperation, where this membership of the three countries in the NATO, is an added value. Certainly as we discussed we are probably countries not able to outreach all the global issues of foreign policy. However, we are certainly in a position to discuss the issues that pertain to the region of South East Europe where this trilateral has an added value.

The second pillar is of European cooperation especially on European integration of the Southeast Europe and particularly of Albania and Montenegro.

The third pillar is built upon these two. After security and stability comes prosperity and that’s what in fact we would like to work most. As Ditmir mentioned, infrastructural projects that we can work together, which certainly are beyond the borders that certainly are important for all of us.

This interconnection, and especially energy security and energy supply, have been important issues we discussed. Also tourism is an emerging economic sector which creates development opportunities for our entire region. Croatia this year recorded the best tourist season ever, since we were independent. So we believe that we can share some of our experiences with you. They complement our tourism industries and one of the proposals is that our Ministers of Tourism meet and discuss in more details, possible areas of cooperation in a separate meeting.

Finally I would like to say that we discussed the situation in our region. We, Croatia are supporting all the members of Southeast Europe to join the European Union and Euro-Atlantic path. In that respect we really support all the Southeast Europe countries in the enlargement towards EU. We support all the countries of Southeast Europe in their efforts to join the EU and in this regard we fully support the ongoing process which is taking place in Montenegro. Montenegro is well progressing in all and is opening almost all the chapters of the talks. We believe that Montenegro is doing well and we will certainly support this approach in the future.

Regarding Albania’s path we believe that next year will be an important year for Albania, as Albania is working hard to meet the requirements of some areas that are important for reforms. We believe that in the first half of next year, every month, an important message will come from Brussels to reach the summit phase which will take place in May, in Bulgaria. We believe that Albania will make these additional steps and that these efforts will be well deserved and will result in opening negotiations. Croatia will fully support Albania’s opening of negotiations provided that everything be done on time. We believe that Albania is on a very good track in doing so.

As regards, membership in NATO, we are here full members, but we think that for the countries of the region, for stability and security of all of us, is important that other countries advance of course as much as they wish and want. Not all the members, not all the countries in the region want full membership in the NATO, but those who are willing to do so, we are very much supportive. For those who wish to have membership action plan, we are also supportive. We hope that together we can make further progress in that respect, because it is not only in the interest of those countries concerned, is in our national interest, but also as trilateral, I think we see common interest on that.

Thank you very much!

 

Speech of Minister of Montenegro, Srdjan Darmanovic

Thank you!

Excellencies, honorable colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to be today here in Durrës and to participate in the second foreign ministerial of the Adriatic Trilateral and of course to have the chance to meet and talk with my my dear colleagues Marija and Ditmir. As it is the first meeting of the trilateral after Split, first meeting after Montenegro, became a full NATO member, let me just say a few words about this. Montenegro's membership in NATO, definitely and irrevocably, made a final step to the West and Western democracies. During our motivation process, we are honored to have you, our two good neighbors, with us in every step we have made. So, thank you for that.

Your support has been extremely important for the successful outcome in this process we are really grateful.

Accession to NATO brought immediate benefits for us. It also had stabilizing effects in Western Balkans in many ways. Our success story is an encouragement to other regional aspirants who follow the open door policy and thus completes the security architecture of the region. At the end the whole Mediterranean coast is now under the NATO umbrella. As a NATO ally, we will continue working on promoting security, stability, democracy and economic prosperity that comes with the integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. In this sense, we continue to promote open door policy within NATO and want all regional aspirants to be invited when they have met the necessary criteria and standards as our case was.

The main topic of today's meeting was the current political security situation in the region. We exchanged views on designing stability, combating terrorism and violent extremism and control immigration. We assess that the continuity of the dialogue is based on the trust and good neighborly relations of our countries resulting in a meaningful cooperation in the previous period and represents an excellent basis for its further development.

As we agreed for the joint group, should be deepened and improved in order to maintain and promote peace, stability and good neighborly relations as rather economic co-operation in our region. In this regard, we exchanged information on the current problems of the implementation of cross-border cooperation projects and emphasizing the importance of infrastructure development. The good connectivity in the region is a prerequisite for the development of economic co-operation.

The common foreign policy goals open a significant space for mutual cooperation and regular communication. In that sense, today, we emphasized the importance of joining the EU for the Western Balkan countries and, as we are helped, we are still getting a lot of help from Croatia, as advanced countries in this process, we are ready to help and support Albania in this ray and to open negotiations and to follow us successfully in this region.

Euro-Atlantic and European integration of our partners and friends are the best national interests and we believe they are in the best interest of the region. We agreed that European integration is one of the main fields where concrete trilateral cooperation should be advanced in the future. Once again we are grateful for Croatia for the generous help it provided before and during the accession talks and as I emphasized before, we are willing to assist Albania and other candidates in the same way that Croatia has helped us. Thank you once again for your kind hospitality, here in Durrës and thank you for your attention.

Minister Bushati: Thank you Srđan, thank you Marije for the encouraging words and the support you have given us in this process.

 

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