Director General Veliu, Director Merkaj, thank you for this opportunity to share some thoughts on this important occasion.
I have said this before and I’ll say it again: democracy, defense, and business are the United States’ top priorities here. On defense and matters of security, the U.S. Government’s staunch commitment to strengthening law enforcement in Albania is enduring. This donation of this state-of-the-art equipment, worth approximately $170,000, targets the Government of Albania’s efforts to battle illicit trafficking and cross-border crime. A more secure Albania is a more secure Europe, and a more secure NATO Ally.
Recent seizures at the borders are a good indicator that our equipment and training are having a positive impact. We continue to make our appreciation for law enforcement officials clear, and I’d like to add my congratulations to border officers for this forward progress.
But we must also recognize that Border Police efforts alone will not guarantee success against criminal elements. Weapons of mass destruction-related trafficking, illicit narcotics trades, terrorism, and transnational organized crime have a common nexus – they are driven by malign actors who are adaptive and ruthless. This is why we continue to urge all law enforcement agencies to work side by side in fighting illegal trafficking and other forms of crime in Albania. Everyone has an important role to play to advance rule of law in any society.
We will continue to support your efforts and seek new ways to work together to combat these transnational problems.