The Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, spoke at a press conference on Saturday as part of his ongoing visit to Albania. He highlighted the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Albania and noted with satisfaction ongoing discussions to continue moving forward together.
By Vatican News
The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organisations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, has travelled to Albania for visits with the nation’s political, religious and cultural authorities. He arrived in Albania on Friday. After meeting in Tirana on Saturday morning with the country’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhaçka, who invited him, he spoke about the encounter in a press conference. He expressed his enthusiasm and gratitude for the invitation and his visit, noting how Albania, together with the entire Western Balkans Region, is among the Holy See’s priorities.
Archbishop Gallagher said his visit to Albania offers an opportunity to continue the bilateral discussions with the Holy See that have taken place already on several occasions. He paid tribute to the people who endured “the period of violence and drama, caused by the forced exclusion of God from personal life,” in past decades until diplomatic relations were fully restored on 7 September 1991. Since that date, Albania has taken “very important steps” that the Holy See has followed “with much attention and satisfaction,” the Archbishop noted. In particular, he mentioned how last July Albania began negotiations regarding accession to the European Union, calling it “a very important step for the Country and indeed for the entire Western Balkan Region.”
Cooperation between the Catholic Church and Albania since independence have been marked by good relations, he noted, recalling in particular two Papal visits in 1993 and in 2014. He also spoke of agreements signed over these years regarding mutual relations, and the visits back and forth of representatives to Albania and the Vatican, a sign of the continuing good bilateral relations and discussions.
In conclusion, Archbishop Gallagher spoke of the appreciation expressed to him for the contribution of the local Church to Albanian society, especially in its social outreach in health and education. He also noted the attention given in their conversations to the European future of the Country and of the entire Western Balkan Region, reiterating the Holy See’s support for the path toward their full unity in the European community. They also discussed regional and international issues, including the war in Ukraine and its impact on the Balkan Region.