From Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 June 2024, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (HNDGS), General Dimitrios CHOUPIS, attended the 17th Balkan Countries Chiefs of Defence Conference, held in Durres, Albania.

At the opening of the conference, addresses were delivered by H.E. the President of Albania, Mr. Bajram BEGAJ, the Albanian Minister of Defense, Mr. Niko PELESHI, and the Chief of the Albanian Armed Forces, Major General Arben KINGJI, who also declared the opening of the conference. Official guests included the Deputy Commander of the Joint Force Command Naples (JFC Naples), Lieutenant General Stephen (Steve) KELSEY, and the Director of the Cabinet of the President of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), Major General Johann FRANK.

During the conference, contemporary defence and security challenges in the Balkans and the wider region were discussed, along with the latest developments in Ukraine and the Middle East. Particular emphasis was placed on enhancing military cooperation among the Balkan countries, and conclusions from the annual reports of the working groups were evaluated.

On the sidelines of the conference, a trilateral meeting was held between the Chief of the HNDGS and his counterparts, Admiral Emil EFTIMOV of Bulgaria and General Gheorghiță VLAD of Romania. Bilateral meetings also took place with the counterparts from Albania, Major General Arben KINGJI, and the Republic of North Macedonia, Lieutenant General Vasko GJURCHINOVSKI.

In the context of bilateral contacts and at the mutual request of the two Chiefs, he met with his Turkish counterpart, General Metin GÜRAK, where they agreed on direct telephone communication between them to maintain a positive atmosphere and to monitor the progress of the agreed Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

During his presence in Tirana, the Chief of the HNDGS met with the Greek Ambassador to Albania, Ms. Konstantina KAMITSI, with whom he discussed regional and international developments as well as the relations between the two countries. He also met with His Beatitude Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania Anastasios, with whom they discussed matters of mutual interest and referred to the significant preaching, pastoral, and charitable work being carried out by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. He also had the opportunity to visit the iconic Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.