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ATA News from Albania (96-06-23)

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency




    TIRANA, JUNE 22 (ATA)- President of the Albanian Republic Sali Berisha returned home on June 22 afternoon from the Crans-Montana Forum.

    During the sessions of this Forum, Berisha met with Flavio Cotti, Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE chairman-in-office, with Macedonian Premier Cervenkovski and with the Geneva-based U.N. deputy secretary General, Petrovski.

    On Saturday morning Berisha had a working meeting with political and figures figures, who have included Albania in their interests. Later Berisha held an exclusive interview with the TV network Euronews.

    At 11.40 a special session of the Crans-Montana forum was held, devoted to the latest democratic developments in Albania. Its topic was:"Albania towards the future century". The politicians, analysts, reporters and the businessmen present at the forum showed a great interest in it.

    At first Berisha made a presentation of the reforms in Albania during the last four years. Through facts he presented the development of the electoral campaign and elections in Albania. Berisha reiterated in this international Forum that the elections in Albania, without denying irregularities, were corrwect, free and fair within acceptable standards. He assured the participants in the forum that there would be no repetition of the elections in Albania and the mandate won through the free vote on May 26 would be used to consolidate the values of democracy, the rule of law and market economy.

    After Berisha's address, various observers, who followed the running of the elections in Albania, provided the conclusions of their observations. The general view in the session was that the elections in the Albanian new parliament had been fair, free and correct, despite limited irregularities. The withdrawal of the opposition from the elections was considered unjustified and it seemed preconceived.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    SHKODER, JUNE 22 (ATA)- By M.Malja, An agreement of cooperation between the Luigj Gurakuqi University of Shkodra and that of Pristina was signed Saturday in the University of Shkodra.

    The agreement was signed by assistant professor, Xhovalin Kolombi, dean of the Shkodra university, and Prof.Dr. Ejup Statovci, dean of the Pristina University.

    Kolombi expressed confidence that the future cooperation would yield concrete results, especially in the scientific methodological training of the university staff.

    The agreement envisages aid from the Pristina University in several branches, especially history, chemistry, linguistics, literature and other fields. The two sides also decided that students from the Pristina university attend classes in the Shkodra university in various branches in the next academic

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    TIRANA, JUNE 22 (ATA)- As regards the false reports spread through the red front leaflets of "Zeri i Popullit" and "Koha Jone" on the alleged existence of an agreement signed by the President under the signature of Jack Buechner Manatt and Co, the spokesman of the President explains:

    There is no agreement between the presidency and this company on any issue. There is no agreement between the presidency or any other firm on any issue, despite the numerous offers of various firms during the four years to this institution and other institutions to help Albania in public relations.

    All the clamor is an unscrupulous slander of the red front, which is trying the compensate its self-destruction with a campaign of fraudulence.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    TIRANA, JUNE 23 (ATA)- The Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Aleksander Meksi, has sent a message of condolences to Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi about flood casualties.

    "We were sorry to learn of the victims of the recent floods in your country. The great damages and especially the tragic loss of your citizens' lives were a great shock for all our people in Albania. This event has certainly shocked the victims' families and relatives, as well as the whole Italian people.

    On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Albania and in my own name, I would like to convey my condolences to you and through, you, honourable Prime Minister, to the victims' families and relatives".

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    TIRANA, JUNE 23 9ATA)- Under the title: "OSCE against rerun of elections", "The opposition committed a political suicide", the newspaper Rilindja Demokratike carries today a chronicle of the visit of the President of the Republic of Albania, Sali Berisha, in Crans-Montana. The paper carries two pronouncements on the meeting to be held in Strasbourg which will reexamine the European resolution on the elections in Albania: that of the DPA Chairman, Tritan Shehu, who says that "The CE will help Albania to carry forward the democracy" and of the HRUP chairman, Vasil Melo, who says that "The elections should not be rerun as there will be no radical changes in their result".

    The paper reports that the European parliament will reexamine the left wing resolution, at the request of the German euro-deputy Otto von Hasburg.

    The paper also reprints an article of the news paper "Die Velt" entitled :"The communist and post communist parties are indirectly returning to the Western European scene".

    Zeri i Popullit reports on the visit of President Berisha to Crans- Montana. The paper carries opinion of various Albanian politicians on the European Parliament's resolution on the elections in Albania. It reports that Abaz Ermenji, chairman of the Balli Kombetar Party has left Albania and is living in his villa in Paris.

    Republika stresses that the chairman of the Republican Party will propose the Political commission of the EC Parliamentary Assembly "dialogue and Constitutional Assembly" in the discussion in Strasbourg about the May 26 elections in Albania.

    Albania, besides the report on the reexamination of the European Parliament's resolution, reports that important OSCE officials, many international observers and Euro-deputies have clearly said that the attempts organised by Albanian communists and certain left wing circles outside Albania have failed to compromise the democratic processes in Albania.

    Balli i Kombit carries the editorial "The fate of Albania is not decided in Strasbourg".

    Tribuna says that Europe legitimates the Albanian new parliament.

    Under the title "Berisha challenges Europe and the U.S." Koha Jone reports on the visit of President Berisha to Crans-Montana. The paper also carries a statement of Abaz Ermenji, in which, he declares resignation as a chairman of the Balli Kombetar party.

    Dita Informacion also carries the statement of Abaz Ermenji.

    Poli i Qendres carries a chronicle of the meeting in Tirana on Saturday of the SDP presidency with the chairmen of its branches entitled:"The May 26 elections do not embody the will of the people, but the NIS and police votes".

    Gazeta Shqiptare reports on a crisis embracing the Albanian right wing during the last 48 hours. It reports that the Association of the Formerly politically Persecuted has declared divorce from the Right Wing League. It says that Albanian Premier Meksi held a dinner on Saturday evening with DP members to celebrate the May 26 elections. ksh/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    Isuf Hajrizi (ICK) reports from Washington, June 21 Several circles in the United States continue to launch attacks against President Sali Berisha and the DP since the May 26 polls.

    In an evidence (the second of this kind within this week) provided to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, some of the biggest opponents to the policy of the Albanian President and government in America accuse the president of "flagrant violation of the electoral law" dubbing him "eater of the Albanian people's rights and freedoms" and "ruiner of democracy in Albania".

    In the evidence initiated by the democrat Congressman from California, Tom Lantosh, testify Nicholas Gage, chairman of the Pan-epirus Federation in the U.S. for the defence of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania, Bianca Jagger, human rights activist and wife of the renowned rock-'d- roller Mick Jagger, Fred Abrahams, human rights adviser in the Human Right Watch/Helsinki and Gramoz Pashko, founder of the Democratic Alliance Party.

    The evidence which, according to a participant, should have been called "Let's attack Berisha to death", was completely unilateral. The round table lacked witnesses to defend the DP and President Berisha. Not because someone of the president's suite would not be allowed to testify in his defence, but because there was no anyone to undertake it. Also, lacking were community members who would oppose the international organisations experts by providing adequate facts.

    In this way, the witnesses freely threw stones at the Albanian President, not fearing anyone from the other side to oppose them.

    "The continuation of the Sali Berisha regime will ruin any hope of the Albanian people to see a genuine democracy in their own state and will eventually cause the loss of many American lives striving to stop it", Gage threatened. Grieving for the Greek minority rights in Albania, Gage said that the Berisha government is carrying out "a kind of peaceful ethnic cleansing of the Greek people in Albania".

    "For the sake of ethnic harmony in Albania, for the sake of stability in the Southern Balkans, for the sake of the loss of Americans' lives the conflict would cause there, but above all , for the sake of human dignity, I hope you will do everything possible to stop Albania's advance towards autocracy, so that democracy be rooted for the first time in the history of this country, and guarantee the full rights of the Greek minority", Gage urged the president of the Committee of Organising Commission, Lantosh.

    Gage has been backed up by Congressmen Lantosh against the Abanian government. The congressman from California has himself criticized the policy of the Albanian government on the eve of the elections concerning the Greek minority in Albania. The main reason hiding behind Lantosh's motive on Albania is believed to be the very powerful Greek lobby in America which has included Lantosh and others in the Congress, as well as Gage's close ties with the most powerful people in the U.S. administration. A month ago, Gage was not allowed to enter Albania as a persona non grata.

    Gage was accompanying Congressman Lantosh, who, after visiting Greece, crossed into Albania (while Gage was stopped at the border). When coming back to the Congress, Gage complained to the Secretary of State and his congress colleagues regarding the human rights of the Greek minority people in Albania, not at all mentioning the severe treatment of Albanians in Greece, where they not only are deprived of the minority rights but often have to change their name for the sake of staying in that state.

    One of those who presented himself as "a victim of beating" was the DAP leader, Gramoz Pashko. He confessed "police brutality" and of being beaten during the electoral process.

    Many activists of the Albanian-American community and American analysts of the Albanian policy hold that the reason for Albania's being attacked so much of late is the lack of a real Albanian lobby in the United States.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    TIRANA, JUNE 23 (ATA)- Asked to comment the June 18 statement of the spokesman of the State Department regarding the repetition of elections in 17 constituencies, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, as regards the allegation about the inadequate time for the opposition to take part in the June 16 elections, told the ATA reporter that:

    -From May 26 until June 13 the left opposition has repeatedly declared that it does not recognise the May 26 elections and that it requires general elections;

    -From May 27 until today the left opposition has not filed any complaint or request to the Central Electoral Commission regarding the election process. It has totally boycotted the elections process and the institutions elected by the free vote; -On June 14, the chief of the U.S. Mission in Tirana together with the chief of the Mission of another friendly country informed the Albanian government that after talks with the opposition leaders, two boycotting parties had agreed to take part in the re-run elections in 17 constituencies and to submit their request for the elections' postponement to the Constitutional Court.

    But, contrary to what the two honorable diplomats had told the Albanian government, the two parties in their June 14 request to the Constitutional Court did not ask the postponement of the elections to have time to participate and organise international monitoring. More over, they did not in any way declare themselves for their participation in these elections. They demanded the ilegalisation of the decision of the Central Electoral Commission for the vote rerun in 17 constituencies and again declared illegitimate the May 26 elections.

    This request, by decision 35, dated June 15, was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

    The Central Electoral Commission decided not to repeat the elections but the day of elections because the group of the left opposition parties did not boycott the elections but the day of elections. Thus, the electoral campaign for the 17 constituencies has been longer than any other campaign in the history of the Albanian elections.

    As regards the allegation of the spokesman of the State Department that the reason for the repetition of elections were the gross irregularities reported by the international observers in the first round of polls, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry declared:

    "It is true that regarding the elections there have been contradictory reports and that the Central Electoral Commission has found limited irregularities, but, of the 17 constituencies in which elections were repeated, significant irregularities have been found only in one constituency, and suspected irregularities have been found in another constituency, that of 67. While the other 15 constituencies were defined by the Central Electoral Commission for vote rerun not because of serious irregularities but because this commission decided to examine all the complaints of the electoral subjects based on the criterion "in dubio pro reo", that is, to recognise as valid for the SP candidates all the invalid votes in which the line drawn across the socialist candidate changed in the slightest in form, size or length from the lines drawn across the candidates of the other parties.

    The Commission's jurists as well as Prof. Kaltefleiter, distinguished German expert in elections, considered this criterion did not stand technically, because these votes under all international standards are invalid.

    Concerning the essence of fairness mentioned in the statement of the spokesman of the State Department and the cooperation with the OSCE, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry declares: -The elections in Albania, despite limited irregularities, according to the Central Electoral Commission have been free and fair. This has been confirmed by the OSCE parliamentary delegation, the British Helsinki Group and other foreign observer groups, and by the Albanians with their very high participation in all the rounds.

    The fairness of the elections has been called into question by the communist chiefs, who from fundamentalist positions have decided to totally boycott the electoral process and the rule of law institutions elected by the free vote. It has been called into question by their foreign friends, groups of double status, individuals, who began to manipulate this process before the election day, as well as by extremist ultra nationalist elements connected with them.

    The former communist chiefs and their supporters used and are using the permanent boycott of the election process and of the rule of law institutions and especially the boycott of the vote counting first to mask their deep failure, secondly to create open civil conflicts on the streets and squares of Albania, in which they met with complete failure, and thirdly, to penalize and take the country's democracy and stability hostage.

    The June 16 elections, themselves, a test of 360 thousands of Albanians, in which only 16 per cent of the electorate of these constituencies did not take part, clearly testify to the responsibility and honesty of the Albanian electorate in their reaction to the communist boycott, their organisers and supporters.

    On this occasion, the spokesman said, we remind that in the March 1991 elections, which were declared free and fair, the Democratic Party suffered during the campaign the loss 12 people who were killed by the Albanian communist secret police, but it (the DP) did not boycott the elections.

    In conclusion, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry said that the Albanian government is and will be open to unconditional dialogue with all the Albanian political forces, as it is and will be open to cooperation with the institutions whose member it is, despite serious remarks it might have regarding the performance of some international institutions. But, it will unhesitatingly reject any attempt by certain individuals or groups which employ the communist boycott of elections to impair the stability, democracy and sovereignty of Albania.lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency


    TIRANA, JUNE 23 (ATA)-The President of the Republic, Sali Berisha, has sent a message of condolences to Mr. Konstantinos Stefanopulos, President of the Greek Republic, on the death of the Greek ex-Premier, Andreas Papandreou.

    "Please, accept my sincerest condolences on the death of the former Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, historic personality of modern Greece.

    The Greek people and their friends will remember for a long time the contribution of Premier Papandreou to the consolidation of democracy and to the development of his country.

    Please, Mr. President, convey my condolences also to the family of the late. a/ke/lm

    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at

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