Albania, Israel to boost relations

28/03/2006

Prospects for greater co-operation were highlighted during a recent visit by an Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation, led by the ministry's deputy director, Ambassador Mark Sofer.

By Erlis Selimaj for Southeast European Times in Tirana – 28/03/06

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“We are looking forward to boost relations in the marketing field, health and agriculture. These fields are identified as of interest for both countries”, said Israeli diplomat Mark Sofer. [File]

Albania and Israel are seeking to boost their political and economic ties, with Israeli firms considering investment in a number of sectors, including telecommunications, healthcare, energy and high tech. The prospects for greater co-operation were highlighted during a visit earlier this month by an Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation, led by the ministry's deputy director, Ambassador Mark Sofer.

"Israel and Albania have had good relations in these 15 years, and we signed in Tirana an economic and political agreement between both countries. With Albanian officials we also discussed the Middle East situation and the Balkans, which remain crucial issues for both countries," Sofer told Albanian media.

While in Tirana, the delegation met with Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Edith Harxhi.

According to Sofer, several Israeli companies are already operating in Albania, mainly in the agricultural sector.

"We are looking forward to boosting relations in marketing, health and agriculture," Sofer said. "These fields have been identified as being of interest for both countries," he added, mentioning also projects for computerisation of schools, as well as improving infrastructure and telecommunications.

The delegation conveyed the interest of Israeli firms in the energy sector, tourism, agro-industry and other areas. It also pledged assistance in the construction of the Saranda archeological-cultural park.

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In addition, the two sides discussed the strengthening of political dialogue and the organisation of regular annual consultations.

During his visit, Sofer spoke about historical links to Albania.

"Not only in Israel, but all over the world, Jews admire Albania. Not just for the period of World War II, when Albania saved the Jews, but also because the country is well-known for its respect towards us. I can say that Albania has never had anti-Semitism," he said.

Albania currently has a diplomatic representative mission in Tel Aviv, while Israel has indicated that it plans to open an embassy in Tirana in the near future.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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