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Albanian Prime Minister makes statement on assistance to Ukraine

Albanian Prime Minister makes statement on assistance to Ukraine Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The Western Balkans are poised to make their contribution to the fight against Russia amid European and Western "excuses" and "constraints" regarding assistance to Ukraine. EU member states demand the region for their security, according to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

He added that the role of the Western Balkans becomes even more crucial for the EU as they begin to understand it, facing a common enemy - the Kremlin's head, Vladimir Putin.

"As much as we need you, you need us. Why? First and foremost, for what is dearest to you - security," he said.

When asked what Tirana could bring to the table amid Ukraine, problems with reaching consensus at the EU level regarding funding, failure to fulfill commitments on arms supplies, hesitancy over certain forms of military support, as well as various vetoes and delays, Rama called on the West to take responsibility for the current state of affairs.

"Looking to our countries, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina that are in full solidarity with Ukraine, will say something to the bigger, richer guys. Their pledges are there, their engagement is there, but I am not sure the excuse of all these delays and constraints can stand for much longer. Everyone has to deliver," he said.

Zelenskyy's visit to Albania

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Albania for the Ukraine - South East Europe summit scheduled for February 28. The following day, February 29, the EU - Western Balkans Leaders summit will take place, where, as expected, the main focus will be on the new EU Growth and Stability Plan. Negotiations regarding Ukraine in Albania are the latest in a series of meetings organized in European countries such as Malta, France, and Switzerland.

The Albanian Prime Minister stated that he does not believe the summit and the region's participation will alter the course of events for the entire democratic community, but he will not underestimate the contribution and influence they can make.

"We are doing our job," he added.

Regional leaders from Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia will participate in the summit, although Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, according to media reports, will not be present, instead sending representatives at a low diplomatic level.

Discussing the summit scheduled for Thursday, February 29, which will include, among others, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi, Rama explained that the growth plan launched in 2023 is a step forward in overcoming stagnation in enlargement.

"Every step forward in getting closer among each other is a step forward towards the European Union. Every step forward towards the European Union is a step forward towards enlargement," the prime minister added.