The good cooperation between Croatia and Albania is an example not just for southeast Europe but Europe overall and could be followed by other countries, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Tuesday after meeting with Albanian President Bujar Nishani who is currently on an official visit to Croatia.
"Our good cooperation and communication at all levels is an example of cooperation not just in Southeast Europe but in Europe overall and could be followed by many other countries," Grabar-Kitarovic said in a statement to the press, adding that bilateral relations are exceptionally good without any contentious issues.
President Nishani said this was one of his most important visits abroad during his term in office because it reflected excellent relations between the two peoples and the two countries and common Euro-Atlantic values that the two countries share. Equally so, he continued, the purpose of my visit is to promote relations in all areas of interest.
The two presidents agreed that economic relations are not keeping in step with political relations and there is a lot of room to improve them, particularly in the field of infrastructure as well as transport, energy, tourism, agriculture and industry, including Croatia's military industry.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that Croatia is interested in the construction of the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline because that is a solution for better gas supplies for Croatia and neighbouring countries and will certainly contribute to the European energy security as will the construction of an LNG terminal on the island of Krk.
President Nishani recommended that relations be advanced and raised to the level of preferential partnership.
"I believe it is high time that the governments of our two countries make this a priority as I am convinced that that way we will further advance bilateral relations and in particularly economic and trade. I am also convinced that through preferential partnership we can better coordinate and synchronise the creation of joint strategies both on the bilateral and regional as well as the international level."
He thanked the Croatian side for organising the Croatian-Albanian economic forum that is going to be held on Wednesday where, together with Croatia's president they will show their support for the business communities of both countries.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that Croatia and Albania have several interests and objectives and the most important of these being cooperation, stability, prosperity and security in Southeast Europe.
She stressed that Croatia strongly supports Albania on its European Union path and will help it with its know-how and experiences.
"Our bilateral cooperation is good and substantial relations are all the more significant because unfortunately some old problems are being revived in Europe, some old contentious issues between countries as well as new security challenges from terrorists, the return of Islamic State fighters, to attempts of religious extremism, the influence of some other countries in Southeast Europe and even political influence on the future of countries and their decision regarding membership to the EU and NATO and naturally the challenge of migrations," she said.
She also underscored that the two countries are particularly connected by the Albanian minority in Croatia which is integrated well. She thanked members of the Albanian minority who participated in defence of Croatia during the Homeland War in the 1990s.