Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the Regional Border Interdiction Training, May 20, 2016

Miredita, dobar dan, good afternoon Deputy Minister Hoxha,  General Director Maxhuni, and distinguished police agency representatives from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I am happy to be part of this important training program.

I have spoken at length since my arrival in Kosovo about the priority I place on strengthening rule of law.  I have had less opportunity to talk about the importance of enhanced regional security, but that too is one of my and my government’s top priorities.  I am thus particularly excited to be speaking to you, because you – and the training you have just completed – represent the intersection of those two vital efforts.

The threat to the security of our regional borders that comes from terrorism, organized crime, and transnational crime continues to evolve rapidly.  Developing and improving the operational efficiencies and regulatory enforcement of regional borders is of crucial importance.  Over this past week, I understand that you have had the opportunity to work with a team of experts from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service.  I hope they have helped you to build and improve your capacities, techniques, and methodologies related to border interdiction operations, anti-terrorism, admission processes, contraband discovery, inspection techniques, and the role of investigations in overall enforcement.

We have seen around the world that to succeed against the constantly changing tactics of those who wish to threaten our borders, we need to work together to adapt our approaches.  And working together is particularly important for those countries that neighbor each other.  I hope this training better prepares you to observe, analyze situations, and interdict illegal activities safely and securely.  And, just as importantly, I hope this opportunity to train together has helped foster relationships among you that will serve to enhance your cooperation in tackling trans-border crime and threats.

I want to again take this opportunity to reiterate the importance the U.S. Government places on partners like you.  We asked you to come here as our front-line allies, our partners dedicated to confronting this security threat, and partners led by people who understand what is at stake.  I would like to thank you for your daily efforts to maintain safe and secure borders, your diligence in detecting and deterring cross-border crimes, and your investigation and prosecution of individuals and networks involved in border-related criminality.  The United States understands how challenging and important this work is, and we are glad to support regional training courses like this one to help strengthen your ability to accomplish this task.

Thank you for your service to your countries and your citizens.  I am proud that the United States has partners like each of you in this important struggle.

Thank you