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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > May

Remarks at the Article 98 Signing Ceremony

Secretary Colin L. Powell
With Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano
Tirana, Albania
May 2, 2003

MODERATOR: Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and US Secretary of State Colin Powell will sign the Agreement between the Republic of Albania and the United States of America on the cooperation modalities between our two countries in relation to the International Criminal Court.

PRIME MINISTER NANO: What we did today is a further step toward strengthening strategic partnership with the United States, but in the meantime a new step towards Europe and Euro-Atlantic standards and institutions. I believe this is an important event in parallel with another tri-lateral with the US as a leader again: treaty we will sign for regional cooperation towards the same values, institutions and goals. So, I feel really commotional on behalf of the Albanian people that look towards continued partnership with the United States as one of the mainstream interests of their future.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. It's a great pleasure for me to be here in Tirana and have this opportunity to sign this Article 98 Agreement between our two nations. As you said it does show the closeness of the relationship that we enjoy, relationships that will grow even closer in the months and years ahead.

A little bit later on, we will be signing the Adriatic Charter, which will align the United States with the three other nations that will be signing the Charter in a partnership that we hope will improve the possibilities for economic, and political and social development and move the three countries in the direction of eventual membership in NATO and the European Union.

Article 98 Agreement was an important one for us. We are not signatories of the Rome Treaty any longer, and Albania is, but this was a case where we came to an understanding of our mutual interest and our needs were such on the Article 98 Agreement, which is consistent with the Rome Statute. So Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you for your understanding and for this expression of friendship toward the United States, and pleased to be able to reciprocate. Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, why was Albania chosen for the Charter signature, taking into consideration, it was first planned Washington. And, to the Prime Minister, how did you react to this step?

SECRETARY POWELL: If I understood the question is why was Albania considered? It seemed an appropriate place to do it, and an appropriate moment to do it.

I am on a trip that covers both Europe and moving into Syria this evening. And it was something I have been wanting to do for some time, to visit Albania and we knew that the Charter was ready, all of the differences that had been discussed over the months have been resolved, and so it was an excellent document, and I could think of no better place to do it than Albania. So I rearranged my entire trip so that I could come here and join with leaders from Croatia and Macedonia and sign the Charter here. And I think it is an expression of our friendship toward Albania, as well as to Croatia and Macedonia.

PRIME MINISTER NANO: Well, I believe Secretary Powell has rewarded Albanian political, social and institutional efforts to this huge transformation from consumer of stability to reinforcer of regional and global stability as we have shown in Bosnia, Afghanistan and actually in Iraq as members of the coalition of the willing. So Albania is becoming definitely a reliable partner to co-share the same Euro-Atlantic values.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, what is this visit of yours going to bring in the processes of integration for which Albania has spent all its energies? Anita Hoxha from Albanian Public television. And for you Mr. Prime Minister, could you please tell us some more details of your tête-à-tête meeting with the Secretary Powell?

SECRETARY POWELL: When I consider where we were just, say a dozen years ago - when it was still the Cold War and I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces, and I still looked across an iron curtain - to where we are now, when I am here as the Secretary of State of the United States of America. I have seen the Cold War come to an end, and I have seen the iron curtain go away, and I have seen the integration of Europe into a new Europe that is whole, free and at peace, to quote from President Bush’s speech that he gave a couple of years ago in Poland.

We have a vision of the Europe that is whole, free and at peace, that is linked in the great transatlantic community that includes the United States and Canada. The piece that still remains to be done is here, in Southeast Europe. So with the Charter signature today, with the kind of cooperation we have received, especially from Albania in our war against terrorism and our efforts to free the Iraqi people, with Albanian soldiers on the ground in Iraq helping us, with Albanian soldiers in Afghanistan helping us, it is all indicative of the direction which Albania wishes to go to be part of this integrated Europe, whole, free, in peace as part of the Euro-Atlantic partnership.

And so, through my visit and through the good wishes of President Bush, we are saying to the Albanian people and the Albanian Government, “stay with us, keep pressing ahead, keep pressing ahead with political reform, with economic reform, with putting your society in your country on the basis of rule of law, and you will find that you have many friends that are willing to help you, and help you achieve the dreams of the Albanian people for living in that kind of country, that kind of society.” So this really is a visit that I hope the Albanian people will see as an act of friendship.

PRIME MINISTER NANO: The Secretary and I exchanged views on priorities Albania and the region has. In this optic I committed this government in a renewed way for strong domestic reform that will bring Albania closer to Euro-Atlantic standards and to modern values.

So the best foreign policy we could share with the United States and other global partners is a strong domestic policy oriented to Euro-Atlantic reform. We agreed that we should continue stepping up in the fight against corruption, organized crime, and illegal trafficking that still cross Albania and the region. We will continue playing our positive and moderate role in strengthening regional cooperation, regional stability and move of the region towards the same global goals and values.

I guaranteed Secretary Powell that Albanian politics, government and society look with due sympathy to presence, to continued assistance and to increased monitoring by US agencies and US Government in reaching these common goals. Thank you.

Released on May 3, 2003

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