NATO in talks to build naval base in Albania, prime minister says

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FILE PHOTO: Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama poses with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters,

TIRANA (Reuters) - Albania is in talks with NATO to build a naval base at Porto Romano, a port under construction on its Adriatic coast, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Friday.

Rama told a news conference that Porto Romano, situated close to the coastal town of Durres and intended as the country's biggest port, would have a commercial section as well as a military naval base.

The military base would be built and co-financed by NATO and Albania, he said.

“We will soon go back to Brussels to continue our discussions regarding our proposal…for the installation of a NATO naval base in the new port in Durres,” Rama added.

Back in May, Rama said his government was also offering NATO its Pashaliman naval base some 200 km (124 miles) south of Tirana. Pashaliman was set up by Moscow as a submarine base in the 1950s to host 12 submarines near Vlore, where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet.NATO is already reconstructing Kucova Air Base, some 80 km (50 miles) south of Tirana, that will be used by the alliance.Albania became a NATO member in 2009.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci and Florion Goga, Editing by William Maclean)