ATA News

Opening ceremony of NATO air base in Kuçova, Begaj: Albania, strategic importance for the Alliance

TIRANA, March 4 /ATA/ President of the Republic, Bajram Begaj, said on Monday that the revitalization of the Kuçova air base marks a new chapter in the history of the defense and security of the country and our entire region.

During the opening ceremony of the NATO air base in Kuçova, the President assessed that “this base is the result of cooperation, solidarity, coordination between allies and the attention that Albania pays to security and defense.”

“From this base, we send across a strong message of peace and prove that NATO is determined to protect the freedom and security of allies, guaranteeing collective defense,” he said.

The Head of State expressed his gratitude to all NATO allies, especially the strategic partner, the USA, for the invaluable support they have given to Albania in the Euro-Atlantic journey.

“The obligations deriving from NATO membership and the EU accession process are also Albania’s strategic interests. NATO’s tactical airbase, established in Kuçova, where history meets modernity, epitomizes a bridge where the past and the present join together to ensure a secure future. This development is not only a military attainment, it is a clear symbol of our commitment to protect the country, and the democratic principles and values that we, as NATO allies, share together,” he added.

According to the President, “Albania and Kuçova were not chosen by chance. This proves the appreciation and trust that the allies have in Albania, as a worthy and dedicated partner. NATO, through this investment, shows that Albania has a strategic importance for the Alliance. It is an investment to strengthen the capacities, plans, resources and infrastructure of the alliance.”

Likewise, Begaj underlined that “for Albania and our Armed Forces, this is a strategic investment in the field of security and defense, much needed and welcomed over the years.”

“This investment takes on a special importance, especially when security in the Euro-Atlantic area is at risk. Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East and other regions, terrorism, as well as other threats pose challenges to the interests and values represented by the Euro-Atlantic community. Political-military confrontations risk escalating. This was seen last September in the terrorist attack in Banjska, Kosovo. That attack showed how fragile security is in our region and proved that there are still local actors who are trying to project the future through the lens of a past that should not repeat itself,” the President emphasized.

In this volatile global security situation, the Head of State stressed that “we must always be on standby to defend ourselves, and to contribute to the Alliance guaranteeing peace, security and stability.”

Therefore, according to him, “the Kuçova base has a defensive and deterrent mission, an important center for NATO operations, to counter today’s and tomorrow’s threats.”

“Albania will continue to play its constructive role in the region and beyond. Increasing the defense budget, modernizing our armed forces, increasing defense capabilities and strengthening human capacities are a must. I support every initiative that the government has undertaken for the social support of the Armed Forces personnel because being part of the Armed Forces is not only a profession, it is national pride, it serves the homeland and the high cause of peace and security,” President Begaj said.