This joint exercise establishes and consolidates friendship and cooperation between our two armed forces.

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The President of the Republic of Albania, Bujar Nishani, gave a speech during his visit at the “Albanian Lion” exercise.

Minister Imami, Minister Çeku, Ambassador Cannon Distinguished participants, Mrs Kodheli, Generals, Admirals General Davis, Commodore McAlpine, Royal Marines, sailors, military personnel, ladies and gentlemen

I am especially pleased to be in the presence of British, Dutch and Albanian military personnel on Her Majesty’s ship “Illustrious”, a key component of the joint exercise “Albanian Lion 13”.

I am aware of the fact that this is the biggest exercise of this magnitude that the British forces have conducted recently in the Mediterranean region.

I would like to emphasize on this occasion that our two countries and our armed forces have a long history of cooperation as part of the Alliances, starting with World War Two until present day as NATO allies, sharing common values of respect towards freedom and peace.

I believe that the biggest benefit of this joint exercise is indeed the establishment and consolidation of friendship and cooperation between our two armed forces.

Joint exercises forge higher professional standards, most valued by our militaries, especially today as member country of the Alliance (NATO). I also believe and hope that the experience and the background earned during the joint exercises of recent years will serve for other exercises of this kind until the establishment of a sustainable tradition in this regard. The joint exercise “Albanian Lion 2013” is being conducted in an especially tumultuous time in the eastern shores of the Mediterranean region.

The aggravated humanitarian situation is a great concern for all the international community.

Although we are living in a turbulent time, we do have clear ideas and a joint will. We are together side by side defending our common values.

The violation of human rights in Syria and the threat to peace and freedom in the Region of Middle East and beyond constitute the current challenge that we should face together. This situation is obviously of great concern to the NATO Alliance.

The exercise is also a meaningful indicator of the solidarity that exists between allies.

I avail myself of this occasion to assure you of the support and continuous commitment of the Republic of Albania in continuing the excellent cooperation between our two countries, our allied armed forces within NATO and bilateral frameworks.

Thank you and I wish you every success