Albania – Saudi Arabia, deepening mutual friendship and cooperation 

Joint press statement with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al- Saud: 

 

Prime Minister Edi Rama: We are pleased to welcome a special friend in Tirana, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, who is visiting our country for the first time, directly flying from Riyadh and return to Riyadh again, just to establish direct contacts and restart a deepened cooperation process, the targets of which we have previously set in the framework of my Riyadh visit and the meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Prince Faisal for all the continued commitment he has demonstrated regarding the relations between our two countries. Indeed, he has been the one to keep cooperation and communication alive given that the contacts became incredibly difficult because of the pandemic and all the planned exchanges were grounded to a halt.

This visit is a first-hand sign of tremendous readiness and desire of our Saudi friends to deepen cooperation with Albania. In the meantime, we also happily shared the fact that the number of Saudi Arabia visitors to Albania has seen a significant growth, also thanks to establishment of direct flights to and from the Middle East, as well as thanks to the promotion of this relationship by the Crown Prince himself.

We are hopeful that this very first official visit will open a chapter of visits and bilateral meetings.

Today I renewed the invitation to welcome the Crown Prince here and this will of course depend on the Prince’s travel regime with the vigilance against the COVID-19 risks being high. I also thanked Prince Farhan, but, through him, also the Crown Prince and his Highness in Saudi Arabia, for the continued assistance Saudi Arabia has provided to Albania, through hard times in particular, and especially when it was about standing by us and those in need. On the other hand, I believe the conditions have been created for us to really and optimistically see development of our relations, the opportunities for investment and growth of trade exchanges between the two countries, and the economic cooperation potential at large.

Together with Prince Faisal we agreed to convene the Joint Committee as soon as possible after its first meeting in 2019 and to be suspended because of the pandemic later, precisely to address the priorities in order to further deepen economic cooperation.

On the other hand, we also shared and exchanged some ideas, as well as information, including Saudi Arabia’s magnificent initiative to grow the size of green in entire Middle East and provide a major contribution to the global efforts through the project designed to plant 50 billion trees. Of course, we would be very happy to be part of this initiative, despite the number of trees to be planted and of course also as part of a common agenda of the alliance of nations to tackle the major climate change challenge.

Last but not least, I would like to reiterate that Saudi Arabia has recognized the Republic of Kosovo and the country has been one of the major supporters of our efforts to make sure that Kosovo joins various international bodies. Of course, Saudi Arabia is an important international player and we will continue to cooperate with Prince Faisal, who luckily is in charge of the foreign affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today, because of his deep knowledge and his specific sensitivity towards our region. 

We will cooperate to raise sensitivity and clarity of all member countries in the Islamic Cooperation Organization and the Arab League that have yet to recognize Kosovo.

I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Foreign Minister and our friend for his commitment to give a significant impetus to increasing cooperation among the companies and the efforts to create an interaction space in the private sector in view of mutual interest to enhance investments and trade exchanges between Albania and Saudi Arabia.

Thank you very much once again and I am pleased to give you the floor. 

 

*Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud:

Thank you Excellency!

Good morning! Thank you for coming here.

It is actually pleasure for me to be here on my first visit to Albania, but I hope it won’t be the last. It was with pleasure that I conveyed the Crown Prince’s and the King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s greetings to the people of Albania and our Kingdom highly evaluates friendship with Albania. A friendship that has progressed over the years and was further strengthened because of the visit by the Prime Minister of Albania. Although we lost some times due to the COVID-19, we are very pleased to continue this cooperation and explore the potential for multifaceted cooperation in the future.

We had a very good discussion today to explore these areas of future cooperation, including cooperation in politics, economy, sustainable development and environment. There are a lot of things that Saudi Arabia can do in Albania and we will be pleased to figure out how to explore these opportunities in the future. Of course, the Joint Committee meeting, as Mr. Prime Minister said, it gathered for last time in 2019, but most importantly we have increased the Committee’s level to a ministerial level, meaning that this way focus will strengthen so that we can make use of all this potential. That’s why I hope the Committee will gather soon now that the pandemic situation all over the world seems to be stabilizing, so that we can explore all these opportunities and further strengthen our friendship.

We wanted to send a pretty clear message that we are very committed to this relationship and friendship. We believe in this, we also believe in the chances, in the opportunities that we have and of course, this is about the economic cooperation, as the Prime Minister himself said. 

There is actually a growing number of Saudi Arabia tourists visiting Albania and we hope their number will keep growing and we also hope that more Albanian citizens would visit us.

Enhancing business to business contacts is really an important issue. We very much want to see businesses in our countries to cooperate with one another and take advantage of all opportunities not only in our Kingdom, but also in Albania.

We also discussed issues of mutual interest in the political domain, like various developments in Middle East, as well as the latest developments in the region and the whole world. We understand that Albania and our Kingdom actually share common approach regarding regional security and stability.

We also talked about Albania’s recent election for the first time as a UN Security Council member and Albania’s agenda as the UN Security Council member, and Saudi Arabia will fully support Albania and we will closely cooperate with our colleagues from Albania and Albania’s representatives at the United Nations Organization. We will definitely give all our support for Albania’s agenda.

Given that Saudi Arabia has indeed a very ambitious economic and social reform programme for the year 2030, we are looking forward to cooperating with all our partners in the global community under the Vision 2030, not only for our Kingdom’s prosperity, but also for the prosperity of the whole global community. We hope Albania will be a key partner and I know that environment and the planet’s protection is Albania’s key and critical priority. This same goes for us and most recently, for example, we have announced, as the Premier said, the green initiative and these initiatives on planting trees and Middle East’s afforestation and we are looking forward to cooperating with Albania in this respect.

Again, I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Albania, the Foreign Minister, as well as all Albanian citizens for welcoming us. I hope that we will have many opportunities, not only for me to return, but Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister, you have my readiness that this commitment of ours will continue, so we are still waiting for the best. 

*Simultaneous interpretation