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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 12, 2007


U.S. and Albania Cooperate to Destroy Munitions

The U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Albania completed a joint project destroying Albania's stockpile of its largest and most dangerous surplus munitions. Destroyed weapons include anti-ship naval mines, torpedoes, and aircraft bombs. This endeavor was completed safely and efficiently.

The destruction of these weapons eliminated a potential source of materiel that could have been used by terrorists or illegally sold to state sponsors of terror and other states of concern. As the majority of these weapons were stored in a dozen sites throughout Albania, most of which were in close proximity to homes and schools, they also posed a serious threat to public safety.

This project succeeded in destroying nearly 40,000 munitions (including fuses, detonators, sea mines, air bombs, and torpedo bodies), for a total exceeding 2,700 metric tons.

Safety was a primary consideration throughout the destruction activity. Albanian Armed Forces (AAF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams eliminated munitions on ranges and military installations approved by the Ministry of Defense. The U.S. financed training of Albanian EOD teams. Munitions were destroyed using approved Ministry of Defense procedures on designated military installations. The U.S. and Albania worked closely together to ensure that the destruction occurred in an ecologically responsible manner.

The Ministry of Defense and Albanian Armed Forces did most of the work in eliminating these munitions. It is noteworthy that many retired former AAF military personnel participated in this project.

This project was implemented by the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (http:www.state.gov/t/isn/ndf), a fund available to the U.S. Department of State to address unanticipated nonproliferation and disarmament opportunities and emergencies. The U.S. Department of State expresses its gratitude to the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Albania for our successful cooperative effort.

2007/1126


Released on December 12, 2007

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