Albania – Israel 30-year Anniversary

Albania and Israel celebrate the 30-year journey through cordial diplomatic relations, simultaneous high-level visits and by many signed agreements and memorandums.


By Noah Gal Gendler, Ambassador of Israel to Albania

August 19, 2021 marks the 30-year anniversary of Albania – Israel relationship.

Albania and Israel celebrate the 30-year journey through cordial diplomatic relations, simultaneous high-level visits and by many signed agreements and memorandums.

Diplomatic relations between both countries were set soon after Israel’s independence. De Jure, Albania recognized the State of Israel on April 16, 1949. However, de facto, the two peoples emerging from the Second World War with the amazing story of survival and saving the Jews,were far apart in spite of establishment of diplomatic ties. Such time lapse, 1949-1991, has delivered implications that could have rewritten for the better the historical relations of both countries today. After a long cessation during the communist regime and thanks to the invaluable contribution of both Albanian and Israeli ambassadors in Rome, Albania and Israel reestablished diplomatic relations on August 19, 1991.

In 1998, Albania opened its first ever embassy in Israel, while Israel opened the first embassy in Albania in August 2012.

To strengthen diplomatic relations, both parties have formed Parliamentary Friendship Groups. Albania and Israel have many Ambassadors, honorary consuls, businesspersons, politicians who have helped paving the way to enhanced trade relations and friendship between the peoples of both countries.

Furthermore,it is worth emphasizing bilateral visits of dignitaries of both countries, specifically visits of Albanian Presidents, PrimeMinisters and Cabinets Members to Israel.

In the meantime, Ministers of Israel have always been welcomed to Albania.

From the very moment when Albania and the State of Israel reestablished diplomatic ties, both countries have worked tirelessly to enhance their bond. One of the most comprehensive mutual activities have been artistic and cultural exchanges. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the visits of Albanian artists to Israel and vice-versa such as singers, painters, musicians, ballerinas, opera singers.

Supporting sectorial development and collaboration, Israel and Albania have signed numerous agreements and memorandums of understanding. Fourteen agreements, in total, serve as the foundation and guarantee for the advancement of political, economic and cultural relationships. These pillars of cooperation concentrate in fields like education and science, security, trade and economy, taxation, culture, agriculture and veterinary medicine, air services, and more.

The opening of Israel’s embassy in Tirana in 2012 and the establishment of Albania-Israel Chamber of Commercedelivered positive economic effects; trade has increased every year, amounting to $60 million in 2019 as compared to less than $4 million in 2012. Tourism flow has soared in recent years, especially thanks to the launch of “Israir” charter flights in 2018. While20,000 Israeli tourists entered Albania in 2019, the goal is to reach 50,000 by 2024. Furthermore, Israel has contributed through donations for hospitals, water utilities, parks, and Jewish heritage preservation; more than 100 capacity building courses offered through MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, have ensured the participation of dozens of professionals from Albania; numerous visits of Israeli experts assisting Albanian farmers with Israeli best practices; all attesting to the dedication and commitment Israel continues to make as a reliable partner to Albania.

Nevertheless, Israel is more than a partner to Albania, it is a friend and friends are best recognized in times of need. Just as Albania showed its unconditional friendship with the salvation of the Jews, so did Israel – needless to say in a smaller magnitude – during the 2019 devastating earthquake that hit Albania. Israel stood next to Albania by deploying a team of rescuers and engineers.

 

“More projects are on the way, more agreements wait to be signed, more trainings to be offered, more trade to ensue and more tourists to visit”

THE FRIENDSHIP CONTINUES…

 

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