Albania asks US to establish a military presence on its territory

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 20.4.2018 08:52

During her 17 April visit at the Pentagon, Albania's Defence Minister Olta Xhacka pleaded for the US to set up a military presence in her country in order to counter the influence of hostile actors, among whom she mentioned Russia, China, Iran, but also Turkey.

Xhacka said that the US needs to reinforce its presence in the region to support the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, and that Albania is prepared to become a US „stronghold” in the area. She expressed the opinion that such action would counter Russian efforts to destabilise the region through propaganda and politically motivated investment. Among the malign influences in the Western Balkans, Xhacka also counts that of Turkey. Though a NATO member, under Erdogan, Turkey's relations have worsened with virtually all Western powers, but also with Balkan countries like Greece and Bulgaria, against whom the Turkish President is believed to have made territorial claims. A US military presence so deep south in the Balkans would benefit European security by further committing US - politically, and with resources and personnel to the protection of NATO's eastern flank, where the American military already has a significant presence in Romania, Poland and the Baltics.    

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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