Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said they are considering Albania’s offer to establish a NATO base in Durres during an interview with Montenegrin media.
In July, Prime Minister Edi Rama said the country is in talks with NATO to build a naval base at Porto Romano, not far from the city of Durres. The project, he said, would be co-financed and built in collaboration between NATO and Albania.
Stoltenberg said NATO is in negotiations with Albania for the base, as well as other investments and the deployment of troops in the region. He also nodded to the new Strategic Concept, approved at the Madrid Summit, which confirms the strategic importance of the Western Balkans.
“NATO will continue to promote stability, security and cooperation in the region, including the daily efforts of KFOR, our headquarters in Sarajevo and our office in Belgrade,” Stoltenberg said, adding that security and stability in the Western Balkans are necessary for NATO and peace and stability in Europe.
If Porto Romano becomes a NATO naval base, it would be the second in the country after the Kucova airbase in southeast Albania.
Reconstruction works began in January to the tune of EUR 50 million, with the base set to be operational in 2023. It will provide ammunition storage and act as a refuelling centre. Work is being carried out to build new storage units, restore the runway, and modernise the existing control tower.
The 350-hectare base is currently home to many out-of-use Soviet-era and Chinese MiGs, Antonovs and Yak-18s.