TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s defense minister said Saturday the Western Balkan country has bought anti-tank Javelin missiles to strengthen its defenses.
Niko Peleshi said Albania signed a contract with U.S. Lockheed Martin, without specifying the number of missiles, how much they cost or when they would be delivered.
Peleshi said buying the missiles was part of the army’s modernization efforts.
Earlier this week, Lockheed Martin said the U.S. Army had awarded two production contracts for Javelin missiles and associated equipment and services with total value of $309 million. These contracts include more than 1300 Javelin missiles funded from the recent Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act and orders for several international customers including Norway, Albania, Latvia and Thailand.
“Not to create any panic, there is no concrete threat. We are a NATO member country and the national security issue resolved. We are protected,” the minister told journalists.
Peleshi also said NATO is not a threat to any country, including Russia. Tirana supports the alliance’s “open door” policy welcoming Finland and Sweden as new members, which Peleshi said were “two independent sovereign countries with high political, legal and also military standards.”
Turkey, however, has so far said it will not agree to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Three Western Balkan countries — Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro — are NATO members. Albania joined in 2009.