250518 GT and President MetaOSCE PA President George Tsereteli with the President of the Republic of Albania Ilir Meta, Tirana, 25 May 2018TIRANA, 25 May 2018 – Concluding a working visit to Albania, his first to the country and the South Eastern European region as President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) said that “this region is of special significance for the OSCE” and reaffirmed the OSCE’s commitment and determination to continue its engagement with Albania and the whole region.

President Tsereteli and OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella held meetings over the past two days in Tirana with President of the Republic of Albania Ilir Meta, Speaker of the Assembly of Albania Gramoz Ruci, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania Ditmir Bushati, as well as the leaders of the country’s main political parties and members of Albania’s OSCE PA delegation.

Among topics of discussion were the deepening of the co-operation between the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Albania, as well as the challenges the country faces in the implementation of decisive reforms.

“Albania is not only a recipient of OSCE support, but an active contributor to our security community,” said Tsereteli. “Addressing cross-boundary challenges like migration and terrorism require unprecedented collective action and so I’m pleased to have this opportunity to further strengthen the co-operation that our organization already enjoys with Albania.”

Tsereteli expressed appreciation for the active involvement of the Members of the Albanian Delegation to the OSCE PA in the Assembly’s work, noting in particular Fatmir Mediu’s substantive contribution to the work of the Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism.

The President also reaffirmed the high importance the OSCE PA attaches to South East Europe, including through the work of its Special Representative Roberto Battelli (MP, Slovenia) who closely follows all regional developments.

Meeting with Speaker Ruci, President Tsereteli and Secretary General Montella welcomed the collaboration of the Assembly of Albania with the OSCE Presence, and stressed the central role of the Assembly in the oversight and co-ordination activities of the political actors in the implementation of the reform agenda.

Tsereteli also praised the valuable work of the OSCE Presence in Albania headed by Ambassador Borchardt, saying that “it testifies to the important contribution that the OSCE can offer in assisting Albania accomplish its ambitious goal.”

250518 GT RM FM BushatiOSCE PA President Tsereteli, OSCE PA SG Montella, Head of PiA Amb. Borchardt meeting with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, Tirana, 24 May 2018Throughout the meetings, President Tsereteli noted the remaining challenges that need to be tackled in the processes of justice and electoral reform, as well as in the fight against corruption, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime. In this context, the President emphasized on the Assembly’s willingness to accompany Albania in the achievement of its goals by providing expertise and appropriate tools. He highlighted the need for enhanced co-operation between the different political forces in this process.

Meetings were also held with Lulzim Basha, Chair of the Democratic Party, and Monika Kryemadhi, leader of the Socialist Integration Movement Party. The President and the Secretary General also met with Arta Dade – former Head of the Albanian Delegation to the OSCE PA – to compare notes on the political developments in the country.

Challenges facing Albania and the South Eastern European region are expected to be debated at the OSCE PA’s Annual Session in Berlin on 7-11 July.

Photos from this week’s visit to Albania are available for public use on Flickr.