TIRANA – Albanian Defense Minister Olta Xhaçka has suggested to her US associate, James Matiss, that NATO should establish a military base in Albania.
We believe that it is time for the United States to establish its presence in Albania … This presence in the United States or NATO would be a very clear demonstration that the Allies did not forget the region” Xhaçka said.
In her statement to reporters, she stated that she proposed the construction of a maritime base on the Adriatic Sea, run by the United States and Albania, which would be under “umbrella” of NATO.
“We are worried about increased threats that our region faces and we think it is very important that NATO and the United States give a bit more importance to what is happening in the Balkans”, Xhaçka said.
Among these threats, Xhaçka mentioned Russia, which she said, is trying to boost its influence, while she also mentioned China, Iran, and even Turkey, as reasons for the concerns of Albania’s leadership.
According to the ATA, Matiss expressed his support to Albania, which, according to him, significantly contributed to the NATO alliance.
Xhaçka also added that Albania’s operational commitment to NATO is one of the largest in the alliance, considering the population of Albania.
As for the modernization of the Albanian army, she stated that in the last two years Albania has increased its military budget.
“We have replaced old Chinese weapons with NATO standards,” Xhaçka stated.
N.B. – The United States presently has a NATO base in occupied Serbian province of Kosovo, known as Camp Bondsteel. The proposed site in Albania is only several hundred kilometers from Camp Bondsteel, making it at first glance may seem redundant. However in military strategy unlike economics duplication and redundancies are often a strength.