10:16 28 Feb 2024

"Everyone must fulfill their obligations": Albanian PM on aid for Ukraine

Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama. Photo: EPA-EFE

The Western Balkans are ready to contribute to the fight against Russia amid European and Western "excuses" and "constraints" about aid to Ukraine because EU member states need this region for their security.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama stated this in an interview ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to the country, Euractiv reports.

The head of the Albanian government said that the role of the Western Balkans was becoming even more important for the EU as they began to understand this, facing a common enemy — the Kremlin's Vladimir Putin.

"No matter how much you need us, we need you. Why? Firstly, because what matters most to you is security," said Rama.

The Albanian official called on the West to be accountable for the current state of affairs, responding to questions about what Tirana can offer amid "fatigue" from Ukraine.

"We are doing our job," Rama added.

Ukraine's partner countries face many issues, like achieving consensus about funding at the EU level, failure to fulfill commitments on supplying ammunition, indecision on certain forms of military support, as well as various vetoes and delays.

"Everyone must fulfill their obligations," the Albanian PM stressed.

Prime Minister Rama said he did not believe that the summit and the region's involvement would change the pace of events for the entire democratic community. However, he will not underestimate the contribution and impact they can have.

"Looking at our countries, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are fully in solidarity with Ukraine, something can be said for the bigger and wealthier boys. They have promises and participation, but I am not sure that excuses for all these delays and constraints can last long. Everyone needs to deliver results," said the prime minister.

Zelensky's visit to Albania

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Albania on February 28 for an unannounced visit for the first time since Russia's full-scale invasion began.

Zelensky will participate in the Ukraine-Southeastern Europe Summit in support of Ukraine.

"A significant number of leaders from this part of Europe will be invited to the summit, and President Zelensky will be a co-organizer and co-chair of the event, which is particularly important in today's context," Albanian Foreign Minister Igli Hasani said.

Regional leaders from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia will attend the summit. However, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will not be present, instead sending a "representative at a low diplomatic level."

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