"In the meeting warned by them, the leaders of the 'Pyramid Forum' did not come themselves, who have long since understood that the Tirana citizen have abandoned the manipulation and politicization of every political and social event of the country from the left extreme and the so- called right wing individuals ", says the announcement.
The Forum for Democracy, made up of left and right wing opposition political groupings, has warned a rally on Sunday to protest against the government, after the collapse of the pyramid schemes. The rally failed because the people did not gather. /kei/mt/k
"Before all, we put the national interest above the interests of the party, that's why we suggested to the chairmen of the branches not to participate in these rallies, but to support the interests of the citizens who demand their own rights", said the LMP chairman Guro Durollari.
A statement of Durollari, supported by the national council, says that LMP is preoccupied by the vandal acts of many groups and the initiators of the riots who favour the left extreme.
They discussed in the meeting to strengthen the structure of the Albanian Right League in the whole country.
Asked about the participation of several right wing parties and of Kurt Kola in the Forum for Democracy, where the left wing forces make up the majority, Durollari said that the Right Democratic Party is a party established from a fraction and has not shown its position yet, but has passed from a right extreme, which has nothing to do with the real right wing, to a left extreme.
With regard to Kurt Kola, he said that he represents the association of the politically prosecuted in which participate people who adhere in many parties.
"This mass of people cannot show its position where the chairman of this association does want, that is no private decision can be taken", said Durollari.
The meeting asked from the legality party members to organize peaceful rallies in halls "to request the realization of the referendum for the way of governing and the abrogation of decisions taken in the Permeti Congress".
Durollari said that the government has been delayed in the solution of the loan-taking problem. /kei/mt/e
This decision gives priority to these citizens who are considered homeless, subsidizing them based on the law "On the state contribution for the homeless families", creating them the possibility of taking immediate credit from the Savings Bank to buy apartments or house construction sites, according to the possibilities each family has.
According to the proper instructions, the town halls will draft the list of the homeless families, the amount of money they have deposited and which may have been reimbursed, and on this basis they will define the families to be helped and the amount of the aid.
"The government will provide funds from different sources to buy houses in the free market, in the way houses are bought for the homeless people in several towns, in those markets where the prices are reasonable, or which will be included in the constructions of the government in the framework of the National Housing Enterprise", said Premier Meksi.
The government has started the deals with other countries, with the European Union and with the World Bank to find supplementary funds to give credits to this category of people.
The same thing, stressed Meksi, will be done even for those who ask for credit lines and whose economy has been affected by the collapse of the pyramid schemes, or for the persons who have been affected and ask to conduct new activities. /s.sh/eva/mt/E
According to the decision, the citizens, included in this category, are considered homeless and they will be helped by subsidies, credits or other forms.
The decision charges the town halls with the task of establishing the respective commissions, drafting the lists, approving them in the municipal council on the basis of the documentation, and send them near the Savings Bank, which will treat them with special priority.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Finances and the Ministry of Public Affairs and Tourism will draw the respective instructions for the implementation of the decision.
In the meeting was also approved the draft law "On some amendments in the law 'On prefectures'". Improvement have been made to the draft law which consists mainly in the concept of prefectures as bodies which coordinate the activity of services of ministries and other other institutions in the administration units they operate, with the main goal to take the measures for the implementation of the decisions of the Council of Ministers, as well as the control of the legislation of acts of the local government, ends the reports of the Premier press and information office. /eva/mt/e
Sources of the prefecture reported that SP leaders of this districts led the crowd of people. The protest lasted about an hour and later on the participants dispersed quietly.
According to the above sources, the meeting of the political parties of this district continued on Sunday evening, with the participation of the leaders of the local government, which started on Saturday with the initiative of the "Myzeqeja" association.
Only the Socialist Party did not participate in this meeting.
At the end of the meeting, almost all the representatives of the political parties, local government and prefecture issued a joint statement, calling on people to halt the violence and make efforts for solving the citizens' requests.
The non participation of the SP representative in the meeting and his participation in the Sunday protests in Fieri town were condemned in this statement. /s.sh/eva/E
"The return of the icons, property of this museum, is an extraordinary success, because they complete a part of the particular culture of our nation. After their restoration, for which the specialists are working on, the three icons will be exposed in their places", the director of the museum, Haki Hoxha told ATA.
The icons are works of Kostandin Shpataraku, Onufer Qiprioti and another anonymous author of XIV century from Berati.
After more than a year, in Feb 1997, the special forces of the Kruja police commissariat could discover the place where the icons were hidden, while the person who had hidden them is under arrest. The investigation to uncover this crime for money profits continue. /s.sh/kei/
The People's League Party is the People's Party of the extreme left wing with chairman Bashkim Driza, presently arrested for deceiving the population while in the post of the President of the fraudulent foundation Populli.
In its commentary, the DP reminds the public opinion that it was SP which issued its pyramid bonuses, whereas on the other hand, through public stands and declarations, it has supported the foundation Populli and the People's League Party of Bashkim Driza.
The Socialist Democratic and the Democratic Alliance parties have made their contribution to the tribunes and the activity of this foundation and other pyramid scheme foundations.
These parties were in a pre-election coalition with the People's League party, like now in the "Pyramid Forum."
In the fact that SP, SDP and DAP did not disassociate themselves from the Foundation Populli and the party of this foundation 'The People's League,' the Democratic Party sees clearly the legal relations of these parties with the pyramid schemes and their incrimination as instigators of these schemes for political and destabilizing purposes," says the commentary. kei/xh/Z/
Question: Can one deny the fact that every tense situation in Kosova or Serbia corresponds with the clear and defined effort to destabilise the situation in Albania?
Answer: An open country is an open country. Certainly, the opening also implies interweaving of various influences. It is wrong to try to find the causes of the domestic developments outside the country. The cause of this development should be sought in the existing despair due to the collapse of the pyramid schemes and the manipulation of this despair by certain left extremist groups for many perverse aims.
Question: Why was it said that there is no money laundry in Albania?
Answer: I, personally, have never said this. I have said that I have no information whether there is or there is no money laundry, but the cleaned money is said to be a bill of 500 billion dollars in the world. I have repeatedly said that small drops of this lava may reach Albania, as well. What I insist to say is that this government and the institutions of this state are categorically determined not to accept dirty money. We are deeply convinced that the money of the Albanians is a very clean money and I can only offer you an example for this statement: During November only when the laws were made and commissions created, the two foundations together have gathered from Albanian investors, that is, their clean money, 150 million dollars, or 150 billion leks. I have been very accurate and am very convinced that the Albanians' money is the most honest one in relation to the sweat, pain and sacrifice, and toil to gain them.
Question: What is your opinion of what is said about selling the national asset?
Answer: The Government runs the national property. The national property belongs to the Albanians and it cennot be put on auction to compensate others. I have heard some of these opinions, but they are absolutely non realistic. A government cannot be owner of the national asset. It is wrong to think so. It is only a formal owner because its real owners are the Albanians.
Question: Will the DP grassroots be asked of their opinion regarding the governing?
Answer: Yes, surely. A general consultation will be held. Someone in the DPA National Council didn't like my insistence to consult the whole grassroots of the party. I said that in the sections there are people of the same capacity, courage, contribution, bearing the same responsibility as those in the National Council of the DPA.
They will certainly be asked one by one and at length. I am convinced of this. Five years ago there was no presidium, we all have been in the pit, this should not be forgotten. Today the citizen's responsibility is indispensable. I understand the loss as well as the moral code. The moral values are the main values on which everyone build up their future, so they cannot be ignored.
Question: "Why those who accuse police forces of being like Serb soldiers aren't held responsible before the law? Answer: I maintain that with this statement they have gained the moral prosecution of all the Albanians, a thing which is graver than the penal prosecution.
Question: Is IMF responsible for the loan-taking phenomenon in Albania?
Answer: The IMF is not responsible. I want to be sincere with you. It has insisted that people be warned against high interest rates. Why wasn't this done openly? Because having no laws, the impostors could very well counteract with an increase of interest rates. Simply, if you asked then which to believe: the warning or the increase of interests, it is a little difficult to distinguish between. I am very open. Neither in my moral nor in my convinction have I accepted the idea of loan-taking. But this should have been treated by law, because in foreing countries of you violated the free initiative in one aspect, you might violate it in other aspects as well. I repeat that the IMF has been very correct. This is the consulting institution and could not assume the responsibility of a government's acts.
Those who think that it exercises a dictate are wrong. No, it is an institution which has assisted Albania in an extraordinary correct and successful way.
Question: Will the state apply a new scheme? Answer: I assure you that I will ask the implementation of the laws in this direction. I assure you that the main objective of the coming years will be the consolidation and strengthening of these institutions.
Reactions to these determination are not few, but we are resolute to follow this road to the end, either against unlicensed constructions or any other irregularity. We have asked in parliament for the law on municipal police and I am positive that this law and others will be firmly implemented in the coming years.
Question: How will the tax issue be handled? Answer: Capitalism is to be learned by us. We are the country of the lowest taxes in Europe. Two weeks ago, the government and the parliament took the decision to reduce income-tax from 30% to 20%. In all the countries it is 50%, from 40-60% . Any businessman who thinks to get rich by not paying taxes is wrong because if we do not collect taxes we will be forced to print currency; then inflation will rise and all of his gains might be lost within a very short time. Therefore, we should strictly insist on the payment of taxes, still sticking to low taxes.
Question: Isn't the law on the imposition of the state of emergency necessary to be approved when the situation requires it?
Answer: I am fully against the declaration of the state of emergency in Vlora. But another law is necessary to be approved to fill the existing vacuum and apply it when necessary. The law will certainly be approved. But I assure you that I will make extraordinary efforts to always find the political and democratic solutions in any situation created in the country. The situation in Vlore has been grave indeed. This situation has been complicated by some extremist groups. It is not true that the Vlore citizens have favoured destruction clashes or masks. Vlore has been and still is the front of our history. But a mistake has been made which I would like to stress here: It is quite normal in democracy for the people to protest peacefully and freely. A democracy without protests in its first years is hard to be conceived as such. But we must not follow those who commit destructions, because in a way or another, these people become a base of encouragement for their acts. Few have been those who have attacked. But if one follows them, it is very difficult to distinguish between those directly responsible and those less responsible.
Question: How will the judiciary act toward crime problems? Answer: Crime issue is the main problem for every country. It is a very great problem in most democratic countries even in those with consolidated democracy and the most powerful ones; We are making many serious efforts and I am very optimistic that the results attained over the last six months and on will be further consolidated. The war against crime and smuggling is and will remain our indisputable priority.
Question: What will be your answer to a Vlore people's demand for bread?
Answer: To this question I respond that no Albanian will go short. We didn't have bread, we asked for it and were given it and we are grateful to whom provided us; We do have bread and I assure you that no Albanian will go short.
Question: What do you think of the Italian mafia which is said to be an accomplice and participant in the latest pyramid scheme?
Answer: The surest way to face it is to fight the Albanian mafia.
Question: What do you think of the institution of resignation. The Premier's hesitation to resign seems far from the democratic principles.
Answer:I would like to assure you that the DP leaders will always keep to the democratic principles, they have shown and will show this in all situations.
Question: What to you think of selling a part of the national assert to compensate for the loss of savings? Answer: We will quickly privatise the national property and this privatisation will have its powerful effect, through budget income, and will help increase income and lessen the pain of each citizen. No government has the mandate to carry out such an act, that is, to give part of the property to certain groups. Such an act goes beyond the mandate of any government.
Question: How do you think the loan - taking wounds will be healed?
Answer: The loan taking wounds will first be healed by never allowing their development in Albania. Analysing this fact. I would say that Albanians' achievements are much more greater than the gains realised through loan taking. I hold that by quickly privatising the economy, by promoting the free initiative as well as international cooperation, by attracting foreign investment, guaranteeing the stability of the Lek, in these four years, I promise we will achieve much more than in the past years. If we think that loan taking has been a factor which has influenced our development, I might say that this is totally unproved. I do not exclude cases with individuals improving their life through loan taking. I would like to say that today for an Albanian with one million leks in his hands and who masters business, the free market with a favourable legal structure, will be four times easier for him to realise his gains than four years ago, when he did not whatsoever knew these rules and norms. I am very convinced that development in the four coming years will be quicker and healthier than in the past for years.
Question: What do you concretely think regarding the ceiling of the agricultural product prices?
Answer: There will be no ceiling for the agricultural product prices. The free market is the greatest achievement for the Albanian farmer.
Question: Accounting expertise was said to be carried out in the loan- taking firms, bringing about the reduction of the percentage of the citizens' money.
Answer: The "Xhaferri" and "Populli" foundations have been subjected to a double check by other bank and commission experts. But, in order to erase any doubt, I would evaluate the free citizens, who would undertake the initiative to create a group of experts, whose expenses are guaranteed to be covered by the government, and control all the documentation. Likewise, control is going on in the "Gjallica" company by 40 experts and I assure you that all the loan-taking firms, without exclusion, will be subjected to accountancy control by experts.
Question: Is there any connection between the non pronunciation on the loan-taking and the two electoral campaigns? Answer: The non pronunciation is directly linked with what I, personally, or some other one, cannot and should not prejudge. We lacked the legal basis to do this when this problem was raised. In drafting this law the pattern of the private banks was considered. In an unlicensed activity, taxes cannot controll a private activity. The State Control does not control a private activity. Therefore this independent commission should inform of its activity in parliament.
Some thought that the government should be held responsible. But I think that the road we followed was the most correct one in respect of the private initiative. This road has been completely followed by the national institutions.
Question: Has the Meksi government acted in accordance with the DP programme? Why is its resignation being discussed? Answer: It has entirely acted in conformity with the DP programme. The political forces, citizens, are free to express their opinions of the president, government, parliament in a free society, but the government has implemented this programme, thanks to which widely known results have been attained.
Question: How do you comment the article of a British newspaper regarding the gifts from the National Historic Museum you have presented the British authorities with ? Answer: I have presented many authorities, prime ministers and heads of states of Europe and the World with modest gifts. And, as regards the handicraft weapons, produced in Kruje, Shkoder or Tirane, their cost was only 90 dollars two years ago.
I have decided that, through the ambassador of the government of Her Majesty, to address an invitation to the President of the British Parliament to bring here a group to estimate the reality of these weapons which they declare of great museum values.
Question: Many government members and authorities are said to have completely retrieved their money from the foundations.
Answer: I promise you that a complete verification will be carried out. We have no concrete data. But, anyone who has retrieved amounts that run counter to the law after the seizure of the foundations' money or during unrest, will be denounced before the public opinion and will be held responsible.
Question: Other companies are said to collapse. How can this be prevented as it may worsen the wounds of the people? Answer: The rest of the companies are under control. We have decided to make the full transparecy of all the companies. Our stand is clear. A dialogue will be established between the investors and managers and the laws of this state will be implemented. We are categorically against pyramids.
Question: Do you have any information from the NIS on the number of the leader involved in loan-taking circle? Answer: NIS acts conform the laws determined by Parliament. But the full information of all your worries will be provided by the groups of financial experts. We also invite groups of experts from the citizens to control these documents.
Question: Do you keep to your statement that the parliamentary elections in Albania will be held in the year 2000? Answer: I keep to this statement unhesitatingly.
Question: Do you know any surgeon to cut off the third finger of the protestors?
Answer: Public opinion is the best surgeon.
Question: What do you think of investment after the collapse of pyramid schemes? It is the moment that after the collapse of the pyramid schemes, more favourable conditions have been created for investment. But, actually, there is a procrastination in supporting the investors, especially by the institutions.
Answer: The pyramids hinder investments, so their collapse will encourage them. We are working intensively to provide facilities and chances for the Albanian investors. I stress once again that in many cities of Albania there will be free zones, which will be a facility for investors.
Question: Is the government responsible for not knowing on time the situation of the loan-taking foundations both before and after their collapse.
Answer: I stressed that responsibility lays on the government, president, parliament, deputies, other institutions and political forces. This is one thing, the other thing is that those who give their own money are directly responsible. Distinguishing this is of capital importance. If we nourish the mentality that we should blame the others for the decisions which they themselves take, we will seriously compromise our future. But, each one bears direct responsibility.
Question: A government statement says that there are documents testifying to the involvement of opposition elements in various acts in several districts.
Answer: Yes. There are documents of left extremist groups, but also led ones, meet every midnight, share tasks and take decisions. The government has made this known to the public opinion and the government sticks to it.
Question: Should the operators of the "Gjallica" company be arrested before its bankruptcy was declared? Answer: All decisions are taken by the prosecutor's office, which in a democratic country takes these decisions only after a charge is raised. The Prosecutor's office operates on the basis of the Penal Code procedure. I realise the worry of the citizens, but they should show understanding towards the laws, because it is true that they sometimes create a vacuum and bring about damage. I assure you that all efforts will be made to penalise the persons responsible wherever they are.
Question: "What do you think of the Deputy Premier's taken hostage?
Answer: Taking the deputy Premier hostage was an ugly terrorist act, for which the authors will be punished. The deputy Premier went for dialogue at their own request. When the citizens demand something, I think that the best thing is to respond to their demands and dialogue. The Lushnje citizens did not do it, because they have denounced this ugly act. They were completely isolated individuals who allowed themselves to exploit that moment, but they will be responsible for their acts before the law. lm
The Tirana Court will study the file of the prosecutor's office, with prosecutor Shkelqim Ganaj, for the accused Ramiz Alia, Heluran Isai, Qemal Lame and Gramoz Ruci, who are under charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, in cooperation.
On February 18, 1997, the jury led by Martin Dedaj will judge Alia, Isai (former Interior Minister) and Lame (in absentia), former chairman of the General Investigation Office and Ruci, former Interir Minister.
About 300 witnesses have been questioned during investigation. ake/ssh/eva/XH/Z/
Attending the ceremony on this occasion were the Defence Minister Safet Zhulali, the chief of the Army General Staff, General Sheme Kosova, and others. Also present was the Ambassador of Germany in Tirana Hans Peter Disdorn and the German military adviser, Colonel Heselberg.
Taking the floor, Minister Zhulali pointed out the importance of the peace-keeping mission and stressed that Albania, with the assistance of Bundeswehr, is continuing to male its contribution to this direction. "The second peace-keeping contingent shows that German friends have faith in the Albanian government and people, who, not only will know to face the grave situation caused by the collapse of pyramid schemes in Albania, but will also continue to make their contribution to peace in the region,"said Zhulali.
German Ambassador Disdorn considered as great the mission of Albanian troops. "In this duty of NATO and Germany, he said, Albania too is making an important contribution to the peace in Europe, to stability and economic welfare." ake/jz/xh/Z/
This was liked by some reporters of foreign televisions, writes Albania, who found a way of communication with the crowds of people.
A reporter of a Greek private TV network used a group of youngsters to say in Greek "Down with the Government," whereas the views in the TV screen in the evening were shown as spontaneously shot.
A foreign photo-reporter "gathered" photos in the funeral ceremony of a young boy, who died of causes which had not to do with the events, and almost in all other funeral ceremonies in the city, foreign cameras were present.
Two Italian reporters were accompanied by a speedy-boat owner who, besides interpreting for them, helped create views which were "appropriate." A white speedy-boat was about leaving the coast, other speedy-boats around it and in the screen one could see the head of the Italian reporter who, in a panic, spoke about an exodus.
"Hence, even in the days without events, public opinion outside Vlora were served ready-made events, and few from the reporters said that the city of Vlora had 85 thousand inhabitants, that it was the most greatly affected by the consequences of pyramid schemes in Albania, that it was the most assisted by emigration, the most privileged as far as constructions are concerned, and the most threatened by violence and crime in the recent days," writes Albania. kei/xh/Z/
Like in other days, the protesters gathered in the Flag Square and then made for the town hall where a representative group of creditors asked to meet with the municipal council.
At that time, a meeting was being held between the town hall leaders and the political subjects, non-government organizations and associations.
Like in the recent days, the protests of Vlora people were peaceful and without incidents. ake/jz/xh/Z/
"The will of the Israeli party was the establishment of more intensive contacts with Albania, not only in the cultural fields but also in other fields," told ATA the Albanian Minister of Culture, Teodor Laco.
Laco said that the mayor of Tel Aviv had asked him to mediate in the mayor of Tirana for a possible extension of the relations between the two capitals.
"They also wanted to establish sister relations between these two cities," said Laco.
The discussions in Tel Aviv covered the fields of science, education, culture and sports.
"We spoke of some concrete projects under way in the respective ministries of each country. The Israeli party guaranteed it would invite Albania to take part in the international cultural activities to be held in Haifa, and Israeli artists would also take part in the same activities to be held in Albania," said Laco. jz/xh/Z/
"We do not prejudice the DP invitation but, as members of the Forum for Democracy, we shall discuss the DP invitation for talks first with the Forum," said SP presidency.
Hence, the Socialist Party will answer the DP invitation tomorrow.
In a report last evening, DP considered the Forum for Democracy as a Pyramid Forum, where one of the participating parties is the People's League Party of Bashkim Driza, former president of the fraudulent pyramid investment foundation, Populli. jz/xh/Z/
The protesters asked the resignation of the Government Meksi and creation of a technocrat government. The same request was made by opposition leaders, mainly left wing representatives.
The illegal rally was attended by a great number of people but they were indifferent towards the speakers in the rally. The public order forces, although present, did not have any confrontation or incident with protesters, said sources of district police commissariat. ake/jz/xh/Z/