NSPA Demilitarization efforts recognized in Albania

21 January 2016

NSPA’s contribution to the decade-long effort to rid Albania of excess and dangerous munitions was formally recognized by the Minister of Defense of Albania, Mrs. Mimi KODHELI at a special ceremony at the site of NSPA’s project at Elbasan, Albania on Tuesday, 19 January. 

The ceremony was attended by the US and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ambassadors, senior Ministry of Defense officials and representatives from all the international organizations that have contributed to assisting Albania demilitarize more than 200,000 tonnes of ammunition over the last 13 years.  This huge undertaking would not have been possible without the technical and financial contribution of international donors including NATO.  

In total NSPA had managed three NATO Trust Fund Projects:  in 2002, the destruction of 1.6M antipersonnel mines; 2005-7, the destruction of 8,700 tonnes and during the final project, 2011-2016, the destruction of 12,500 tonnes consisting of over 90 million individual items of ammunition.

"Success in this process makes us feel proud to have fulfilled a key priority and we rid our country of a danger to the security of our country and region. As a NATO ally and EU candidate, in this way, we are contributing not only to regional security but also to protect the environment and improve the quality of the environment where we live." said Minister Kodheli.

"The destruction of ammunition is important for the achievement of national security and regional security and stability. These munitions were a time bomb, which due to decomposition or self-ignition may one day have exploded and hurt the population and the environment," stressed Minister Kodheli.

Mr. David Towndrow, the NSPA project manager, thanked the Albanian staff for their professionalism and dedication for safely demilitarizing the ammunition at the government owned factory.  At its peak, the 6.6MEUR project employed more than 120 staff at the site.  The ammunition was disassembled and, where possible, the explosives recovered for civilian use and the metals sold as scrap.