Speech of Minister Kodheli held in the Parliament session of September 25, 2014

Dear colleagues,

Through this normative act, the Ministry of Defence just gets about 700 million ALL (Albanian Lek) from the Government’s investment fund, which will serve to the most necessary needs for the modernization of our Armed Forces and meeting obligations to our partners.

In cooperation with the General Staff, we have presented to the Council of Ministers the full equipment project of the 2nd Infantry Battalion with equipments according to the elite standards of the North Atlantic Alliance. This military unit was declared, year after year, as the primary objective of Albania, to offer it to NATO military structures, as deployable battalion in every possible combat scenario. But the promise was never kept.

Unfortunately, the 2nd Infantry Battalion was turned into a typical example of Albanian-way delay. The Ministry of Defence had funds, procedures were prepared and incomes were ensured for everything, but not for the core business: the creation of a professional army according to the Alliance standards. Excuses were various, but basically, nobody of the previous Government had a desire to give money to a project with which Albania, as NATO member country, should be proud; therefore, with my military colleagues, we decided to make the impossible for this elite unit of our Armed Forces equipping it with equipment, declaring it as soon as possible part of a NATO Rapid-Reaction Force. Recent developments in the eastern and southern borders of the Alliance require more attention and greater commitment by our Armed Forces, and for this reason, we are strongly sanctioning it through this normative act.

Meanwhile, Albania, as well as many of our allies, has been affected by the economic crisis. Although some of our allies’ economies are recovering, not everyone has the same pace of recovery. Most of the countries have had substantial reductions of resources given for government spending and the impact on the Defence expenditure, in the short- and long-term, is felt in almost all the Alliance partners, but the redistribution of funds allocated by the Government for 2014 will equip the 2nd Infantry Battalion with modern weaponry, according to standards. M4 rifles, pistols, light machine guns, special rifles, mortars and the whole necessary ammunition for the full equipment of the battalion. Finally, we will have a unit that will not use the Soviet Kalashnikov, the image of each guerrilla in the world.

All this procedure will be made possible by the NATO Support Agency (NSPA), and this is the first time that happens.

I just want to thank you and the Albanian Government for the support.



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