Albanian Daily News
Senior parliamentarian supports permanent Nato bases in Albania

Feb 07, 2000

TIRANA - A top Albanian parliamentarian said on Friday that parliament should support the establishment of permanent NATO military bases in the country as a factor for stability in the case of any imminent threat of conflict in the area.

The chairman of the foreign parliamentary committee, Sabri Godo of the opposition Republican party, said in an interview on Friday that the still explosive situation in the region with Albania’s northern neighbour, the small Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, trying to break away from Serbia, and the efforts of the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to undermine Podgorica’s attempts towards more Western reforms, made it necessary for the country to ask for support from the Euro-Atlantic structures.

"For the time being the establishment of NATO military bases in Albania poses not legal problem, as they are moves made within the framework of the (NATO) partnership, but if the issue of establishing permanent bases should be raised, it should be supported," said Godo.

"Albanian political forces should offer all the facilities to this end."

Godo confirmed reports that NATO will very shortly establish in Albania a group of senior officers, that will be followed by another group to help Albania’s defence authorities repair and maintain the military infra-structure in the north-west of the country.

The senior parliamentarian said that 12 NATO officers are planned to be deployed in Albania at the beginning of February at a NATO base in Durres, used by troops of the Communication Zone West, part of KFOR troops in Kosovo.

"This (deployment) has been clearly confirmed, also by the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering, during his visit at the KFOR contingent in Durres," said Godo, adding that NATO’s presence in Albania should be long term "as the danger hovering over the Balkans, especially Albania, from the Milosevic regime is well known."

Original article