EDI RAMA, Prime Minister of Albania, said vaccination, masks, hygiene and physical distancing are the weapons with which to fight COVID-19. Half of Albania’s population is now vaccinated, with all citizens expected to be immunized in 10 months’ time. Albania supports the establishment of a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response that would bring countries together, dispel the temptation of isolationism and nationalism, and address challenges to peace, prosperity, health and security.
Having successfully chaired the OSCE in 2020, Albania will as a Security Council member for the term 2022-2023 bring to the table the perspective of a small country, with a constructive foreign policy that is not in conflict with any other State. Its pledge to host a large contingent of Afghan refugees reflects its long history of tolerance, coexistence and openness to other cultures. He echoed calls for the universalization of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and its early entry into force, alongside all other non-proliferation and disarmament instruments.
Albania recognizes the serious threat posed by the outflow of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria and Iraq, and it is working with others not only to repatriate their family members but also to ensure that their responsibilities are legally dealt with, he continued. The Government recently implemented a plan to receive Albanians returning from conflict zones and it believes that rehabilitation, reintegration and deradicalization are key. On climate change, he said that Albania plans to submit, during the Glasgow climate conference, a revised commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 as per the Paris Agreement.
Noting the European Council’s decision in March 2020 to open European Union accession talks with Albania, he said that the countries of the Western Balkans have entered a new phase of cooperation and are working to establish a regional common market based on freedom of movement, people, services and capital. He reiterated his 2019 invitation to those Member States which have not yet done so to join the other 117 countries which recognize Kosovo as independent. By doing so, they will acknowledge the new realities in the Balkans and correct the errors of history. Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which Albania supports, would lead to a legally binding agreement between Pristina and Belgrade, their mutual recognition, Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations and European Union, and fair treatment of Kosovo’s minorities, he said.
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