Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Albania, His Excellency Professor Edmond Panariti, to Australia.
Professor Panariti's visit is his first to the region as Foreign Minister and the first to Australia by a member of the Albanian Government.
It follows on from Parliamentary Secretary Richard Marles MP's visit to Albania in April.
Senator Carr said increased high-level engagement between Australia and Albania reflects the growing bilateral relationship and cooperation in NATO and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe.
"Australia and Albania are both longstanding and reliable contributors to international efforts in Afghanistan," Senator Carr said.
"I commend Albania on its constructive role as Chair of the Council of Europe during 2012 and on the institutional reforms it has achieved, which should bode well for its bid for EU candidacy."
Senator Carr praised the rich contribution of the Australian-Albanian community, which includes high-level sportsmen, businessmen, authors, artists and legal professionals.
"The community lies at the heart of the growing bilateral relationship," Senator Carr said.
"It will benefit from Albania's decision to establish a second Honorary Consulate-General in Australia,based in Brisbane."
Albania also maintains an Honorary Consulate General in Adelaide.
In Canberra, Professor Panariti met with Australian Government Ministers and parliamentarians, including the Australian-Albanian Parliamentary Group.
He will meet with the Albanian community in Melbourne on Friday.
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