Mr. d'Asemburg made known at the beginning of the meeting that the delegation he heads is in Albania to convey the message of the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. Referring the statement, he stressed the support of the European Union for the political and economic reform of the Albanian government.
Meksi appreciated and thanked for the continuous support of the European Union and its membership countries.
They also talked and exchanged views about a series of other issues, like the EU aid in the framework of the PHARE Program, the approval of the constitution, the situation in Kosova, etc. /s.sh/kled/mt/k
"I have the pleasure to invite again on February 28th, at 11.00, in the Palace of Congresses, you and the two other representatives of your Party, to hold together, as the main political forces, a constructive dialogue and without conditions for the created situation", says the DP invitation.
In the invitation it is explained that "it should undoubtedly be discussed regarding the necessity of lowering the tension all over Albania, the situation created in Vlore, the respectability of the rule of law, as well as finding the best ways to minimize the economic damage of the part of citizens caused by the collapse of pyramid schemes". pas/mt/e
The strike commission said that the strike would continue until the demands of the Vlora students are met.
Sources of the district police commissariat reported that being uninformed of the strike they consider it illegal.
Sources from city hospital said that a medical commission would take care of the strikers. ssh/kled/xh/E
They asked the fulfillment of the requests of the striker students in Vlore, who are also supported on Thursday by the students of Elbasan, the resignation of the government and the establishment of a coalition government, etc.
On behalf of Students' Committee for Democracy, established recently, a statement was handed over to Mayor Engjell Dakli, which reports on the boycott of teaching process on Thursday, asking from the government the immediate solution of the collapse in the country.
Dakli promised the students he will examine their requests to give acceptable solutions in the context and national strategy of the problem. /s.sh/kei/mt/E
After the greeting address by the chairman of this Forum branch, Beshir Alla, the student representative Elidon Greku took the floor. He called on those present "to side with and support the demands of the student strikers of Vlora."
Then, the chairmen of the Right Democratic Party, Petrit Kalakulla, of the Agrarian Party Lufter Xhuveli and of the "December '90" association Ilir Demalia, took the floor. They demanded the resignation of the government, the creation of a coalition party and new parliamentary elections. ssh/kei/xh/k
The national road near the town of Memaliaj, Southern Albania, continues to be blocked by two tractor trailers and an old vehicle since Wednesday.
The road was blocked by the inhabitants of Memaliaj 100 metres far from the bridge of Luftinje, after the detention of a person by the police forces during a protest organized by the Forum for Democracy. The detained person was set free two hours later, but the road is still blocked. /s.sh/kei/mt/E
"The confusion created yesterday by the intensification of the protests of the inhabitants of this city for the loss of savings in the failed Gjallica loan-taking firm forced us to stop paying the capitals to creditors," said to ATA a source of Vefa company.
The number of the creditors who have taken their deposits from Vefa affiliate in Vlore since the date when Vefa started to pay the capitals, is over 500.
Leaders of this company have appealed to Vlore citizens to help them continue operations in the savings bank of this affiliate. eva/xh/E
Cela asked that the personal assets of Gjallica firm leaders be included in the assets of Gjallica.
Cela asked that only the debt of the firm, without including the paid interests, will be treated legally, in order that the creditors who have invested their money later and have received no interest rate, be recognized all the basic amounts of money they have deposited.
He is of the opinion that the government must immediately appoint managers in the objects which are functioning and in those in the process of construction of Gjallica, in order to complete them. Cela said that the needs for money and banking credits must be fixed, adding that the necessary credit must be delivered immediately.
"The government must find the way, be it even through a law adopted by the Parliament, to facilitate the fiscal obligations of the coming activity of the assembly of creditors and support it through various orders and bids," said Cela.
He suggests that the possibility of concessions to the creditors' assembly of this firm be taken into consideration, such as concessions in tourism, exploitation of mining assets or in sectors which are competitive. kei/xh/E
Meksi expressed the conviction that the government is treating this problem with the necessary attention, and the difficulties can be overcome through dialogue with the laws of the rule of law, within the laws of the market economy, without losing time, and avoiding those who manipulate for party aims or illegal profits.
Meksi said that the government has asked the establishment of an Assembly of Creditors since the first day "Gjallica" declared its collapse, in order not to follow the traditional way of collapse, that of legal procedures, because this would cause a greater ruin of the Gjallica creditors.
Meksi stressed that those who have profit nothing from these firms should be helped more. "It is also necessary, to my opinion, the existing documentation", said Meksi.
He expressed the necessity, always by the request and the will of the assembly of creditors, to put under administration control the new firm that should be established.
Meksi said that the government is ready to support with expertise, with credits the factories which are in working conditions, or to finish those which are ready to finish. Meksi added that the government is ready to help with credits those investments which under preparation by the ongoing firms, and has also offered the social assistance and the assistance for the homeless. /kei/mt/k
The press and information department has accredited to Albania more than 100 foreign stringers and reporters and it is to be deplored that none of them has managed to reflect at least a professional courage to belie the report announced by the British Labour deputy, M Chance and amplified by the British paper "The Independent," according to which during the last two weeks terrible crimes have been committed in Albania as was the killing of a wonderful trade union leader (??!) by Islamic fundamentalist groups (??!") Refutation of this false report with cool-headedness would be at least an observation of the media principles. On the contrary, silence and refusal to belie a slander of the above proportions is a cool agreement with the principles of misinformation.
There are no Islamic fundamentalist groups in Albania and no trade union leader have been killed.
Also unprecedented was the "lapsus" of BBC Albanian section which presented as Conservatives eleven British Labour deputies. While an analysis of the correspondent John David of the BBC regarding the events in Albania, broadcast in the last three days, carries flagrant inaccuracies and fabrications. Although without any proof or source of serious institutions, the BBC correspondent accuses Albania of violation of the embargo with former Yugoslavia at a time when Albania was congratulated by international institutions for serious efforts to observe the embargo towards former Yugoslavia. The BBC reporter has considered sufficient a testimony of the former charge d'affaires of Albania in Belgrade, who, while released from his post since the first half of 1994, has said that in 1995 he had informed Albanian authorities for violation of the embargo.
The analysis of the BBC stringer is as believable and balanced with the testimony of the former charge d'affaires of Albania in Belgrade, released from his post for motives of investigation and who for a long time has been working for the left opposition, as are independent and neutral the ideas of the leader of a left wing political party, whom the BBC stringer is referred to in every paragraph.
The press and information department notes in particular that the declaration of the Council of Ministers of the European Union for Albania has been broadcast with serious inaccuracies up to concoctions even by serious agencies such as Reuter and Radio BBC. The conclusions of the EU Council of Ministers do not seem to have set any condition and to appeal for new elections. The declaration about the conclusions was made public and one can hardly believe that it has not been made available for the correspondents of the above means of information.
The press and information department, assuring the correspondents and reporters of all media of its readiness to assist them, appeals that the basic principles of information must be observed. ssh/xh/k
With regard to these demands, the Ministry of Health and Environment voices its concern for the health of the Vlora students who are staging the hunger strike. The Ministry of Health, respecting the choice of the students, has mobilized all the hospital of Vlore to assist the strikers. It has instructed a medical team to be on the alert in the place where the strike is going on. All the students who are not feeling well have been sent to hospital for intensive medical treatment.
But the Ministry of Health does not agree at all with the demands of the students to blame the medical team, which according to them, "is reducing the efficiency of the strike," at a time when this efficiency is lowered by the continuous deterioration of the state of health.
The Ministry of Health is committed that through all its staff, the entire inhabitants of Vlore and especially the students in strike will never lack the medical care of the doctors at any moment, says the report of the ministry. ake/kled/xh/k
DP chairman Tritan Shehu invited to a meeting two days ago the SP Secretary General, Rexhep Mejdani, meanwhile that the Socialist Party sent in the meeting the SP secretary for public affairs, Pandeli Majko.
SP answered to the first invitation of the DP chairman Shehu a week ago only with a press release. /kei/mt/k
"Eurosocialsits manipulate the future of the Albanian youth", reports the paper. "Some tens of students gathered in front of the main corps of the University are very few to change the democratic quality of the Albanian students", reports the paper.
The Albanian parliament asks the solution for the creditors affected by the collapse of the Gjallica pyramid, reports the paper regarding the proceedings of parliament under the title "Dialogue with EU, IMF, WB to help the lost people in loan-taking".
The students fight for life, Berisha fights for his chair", reports Zeri i Popullit under the headline "Youth protests, the last chance given to the party in power for real dialogue between position and opposition". The paper carries a statement of the SP Presidency under the title "The reelection of Berisha as President will deepen the crisis further". Considering the current economic and political situation, as well as the 5 year activity of Berisha as President of Albania, SP rejects his reelection in the post of the president", says the statement among others. "The communist surrender of the Democratic Party" is another article published by the paper in the heading "Actuality".
"Vlora armed, Berisha takes DP mandate", reports Republika paper. "The boycott of teaching process in the Tirana University continues, in support of the hunger strike of students in Vlore", reports the paper under the title "Tirana students are not received by the President. The hunger is very near".
"Berisha is appointed candidate for a second presidential mandate", reports Lajmi i Dites. The paper carries the confutation of the Interior Ministry under the title "No special police forces are sent to Vlore".
"Vlore, the fire where the spleen of the Albania policy is vented on", reports Sindikalist paper. On the political page the paper carries the article "The dialogue, shy guest in the table of the Albanian policy".
"Tirana, black terror on the pupils and students", reports Koha Jone. "The president does not respond. The students are violently prevented to stage the hunger strike", reports the paper. "The Premier turned into Cassandra" reports the paper. Albania has started the road of the economic catastrophe", reports the paper, citing Premier Meksi in the yesterday sitting of parliament. "The Forum for Democracy and the alternative towards Berisha" is another article published by the paper.
"The dialogue saves Vlore", reports Albania paper. "Vlore is not red, it deserves the attention of the Albanian government", reports the paper, citing the deputy of Vlore, Dashamir Shehi. "No one in front of Berisha" is the editorial of the paper. "In front of the candidature of Berisha, the opposition has fired all its weapons, but it has not proposed solution and any concrete names", reports the paper. "The boycott sweeps the students of Tirana" is another article published by the paper on the second page. Under the headline "Godo and Selfo leaves parliament with premeditation ", the paper carries the article "The discussion on Vlore - a pretext".
"The situation in Vlore discussed", reports Rilindja paper, regarding the proceedings of the Albanian parliament. "The students devided into two different views", reports the paper regarding the partial strike of the Tirana University".
Dita Informacion carries an exclusive interview with Albanian Premier Aleksander Meksi under the title: "Meksi: I am not cattle to be sacrificed". In the heading "Opinion", the paper carries the article "Beyond the explosive measure". "The President should understand that there is a crowd of terrified flatterers", reports the paper.
Albanian Premier issues fearful statements. The economy of the country is going towards destruction, the inflation has increased", reports Gazeta Shqiptare. The paper carries the article "The expensive hard currency shocks the markets", regarding the increase of dollar, which has affected the trade activity. /kled/mt/k
The group of 100-150 pupils chanted "Macedonia........." and slogans for allegedly protection of the Macedonian language.
During the noisy march through the city, the crowd of pupils as accompanied by police.
Thousands of students and secondary school pupils manifested Thursday in Shkup for the 13th consecutive day against the above law.
Protesters gathered in front of the parliament, before they started a march up to the Ministry of Education and in the Government headquarters, launching the slogan "A single language and a single state for all."
The protesters threatened that they would start a hunger strike on March 10 if the state refuses to meet their demands until then.
A group of secondary school pupils of Tetova (West) joined the students and secondary school pupils of the Macedonian capital.
The social-democratic alliance of Macedonia (SDSM, in power) said in a communique that the growth of inter-ethnic tension may lead to "grave consequences in policy and in the field of security as well."
Dibra e Madhe, which is in the Western zone of Macedonia, separated from the Albanian territories in 1913-1914. Because of the great Slav terror, during 1913-1914, 1918-1920 thousands of Dibra families were forced to settle in Central Albania. kei/xh/E
DP chairman Tritan Shehu invited to a meeting two days ago the SP Secretary General, Rexhep Mejdani, meanwhile that the Socialist Party sent in the meeting the SP secretary for public affairs, Pandeli Majko.
SP answered to the first invitation of the DP chairman Shehu a week ago only with a press release.
Shehu and Majko issued at the very beginning a press release.
Shehu thanked SP for the acceptance of his invitation, considering very positive the beginning of the dialogue between the two largest political forces in the country.
"Undoubtedly, said Shehu in his statement addressing the SP representatives, you will present your alternatives, we will present ours. It is not a condition that we should say common views. This dialogue will serve to lower the tensions created to minimize the economic damage which affected a part of the citizens. I consider this meeting very positive, despite the results we will reach, I do not want to make prejudices. It is important we meet. This undoubtedly opens way to our conversation in the future. I thank you on behalf of DP", said Shehu.
SP Secretary, Majko has also considered necessary the beginning of the dialogue.
"It is the second invitation that you, Mr. Shehu send to the SP. The lack of meetings has not come as a result of our rejections for dialogue, but because we have seen at DP lack of bonsens to give the possible solutions to the situation in the country. It is understandable that Albania needs dialogue, but it does not need 'a dialogue for dialogue'. It is important that appropriate solutions should come out from this dialogue. Appropriate solutions for the students who are in hunger strike in Vlore, proper solutions to those who have staged hunger strike in Gjirokaster, but mainly to those who today and yesterday were beaten in the streets of Tirana, who were pupils and students, and you should not forget that they brought you to power several years ago, among whom I have also been", said the SP secretary Pandeli Majko.
The meeting continues without the presence of the journalists. /kei/mt/E
Pack focused in her report on the visit payed in the family of the late Besnik Restelica (who died from the tortures in jail), stressing that she has heard about the tortures against the Albanians, but this time she saw with her own eyes what mediaeval methods the regime of Belgrade is using against the Albanians.
She said about the opening of the European Union office that "The EU Council of Ministers is of the same opinion itself, but the authorities of Belgrade categorically refuse its opening."
"The means of violence in Kosova are not the solutions, - she stressed, - but only an escalation towards a conflict which is very dangerous". /ag/eva/mt/E
The accumulation of the dollar at a price up to 150 lek per one dollar these days, with the hope that the value of the dollar would register further rise, thus to sell it more expensive, a phenomenon which did not happen, has frightened the moneychangers for massive purchases of foreign currencies.
EXCHANGE RATE OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES WITH LEK - FEB 28, 1997
Currency buying selling
1 dollar 144 147 1 DM 84.8 89 1000 lira 85 89.4 100 drachma 53 57.3
Pupils of two secondary schools in Tirana joined the students, who protested for two hours in front of the university, chanting slogans in support of the Vlore students' hunger strike, which entered the eight day.
"We support the protest of the Vlore students and call on the government to meet their demands," a statement issued by the students council of this university says.
But none of the students, mainly Vlore students, spoke today on behalf of the so-called protesting council.
Yesterday and today exponents of the Euro-socialist Forum were seen to be present in protest spots.
Today by midday, the students gathered in front of the central building of the Polytechnic University were peacefully dispersed.jz/lm/Z/
Berisha expressed his full support for the conclusions of the EU Foreign Ministers and his commitment to implement them. He expressed his gratitude for all the aid the EU has provided Albania with and stressed Albania's resolution to continue the comprehensive reforms to consolidate the state of law, market economy and the country's integration into Europe.
Berisha expressed his determination to continue dialogue with all the political forces and promote cooperation with the international institutions. He stressed that the pyramid schemes issue would be fully resolved in the context of the state of law, fully respecting the principles of democracy.
Besides the experts from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Berisha also invited other experts to come to help analyse the pyramid schemes and assist in the banking system.
Mr. D'Asembourg assured Berisha that the EU appreciated the changes taking place in economy, policy and other fields in Albania.
"Convinced that Albania belongs to Europe, the EU respects the values created in Albania and its ambition to join Europe," he said.
Berisha, considering very significant the aid the EU has decided to provide Albania with in various fields, including tourism, assistance for farmers, credit for small and medium business and regional development, stressed that this would substantially influence in backing up private business and creating new chances for each individual. jz/lm/Z/
The Senate members have not pronounced themselves on the legitimacy of the strike, as the legal acts for higher schools do not stipulate such situations, but most of them have asked health care for their students.
Meanwhile, on Friday the middle schools pupils of the Gjirokaster town quitted classes in token of solidarity with the striking students.
Sources inside the district Police Commissariat say that the police are guarding the university building grounds, where the strike is being staged.
A medical team of 15 members, headed by doctor Tahir Bitri, has already been created.
Bitri told ATA that all measures have been taken to take care of the striking students. The conditions the strike is being staged are difficult, as 46 students can hardly stay in a scanty room," Bitri said.
So far the students have had no health problem. Their hunger strike entered the second day.
Some 200 students and pupils of the middle schools as well as teachers stayed in the main hall during the night in support of the strikers.
During the night, small groups of people, mainly relatives of the striking students stood around the University. kei/lm/Z/
Jan Marchan d'Asembourg, representative of the EU presidency, was asked by reporters about the conclusions of his delegation to Albania.
"I have only come to bring a message of the EU presidency for your president and foreign minister. The text of the message is already known. I only came here to explain it further," he said.
The conclusions of the latest meeting of the EU Council of Ministers reconfirmed the EU support and its determination to continue aid for Albania in various fields.
D'Asembourg met yesterday with Prime Minister Meksi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu. Today he met with President Sali Berisha.
D'Asembourg admitted that "the economic situation is one of the causes for our concern".
As regards fresh economic aid, D'Asembourg did not exclude the possibility of future aid.
He insisted that he had come to support what was said in the statement of the EU Foreign Ministers.
D'Asembourg said that he was informed of the demonstrations by the opposition but said they could not be supported. jz/lm/Z
After the meeting, which was held without the presence of reporters, the DP chairman, Tritan Shehu, said: "In consider positive the fact that the SP gentlemen at last were convinced of the need of dialogue."
To the invitation made two days ago by Shehu for a meeting with the SP Secretary general, the SP responded by sending the SP secretary for Public Affairs, Pandeli Majko.
"This meeting may be considered a little more than nothing," said Majko, stressing that :"today we came here not to give SP one more pretext to say that the SP refuses dialogue".
During the meeting Shehu made several proposals of economic character to come out of the situation created after the collapse of the pyramid schemes, but they were rejected by the SP representative.
The SP representative, Majko, said he had refused Shehu's proposals because he and his party demanded political solutions, which, he said "were concrete solutions".
Majko said that "concrete solution means immediate resignation of the Meksi government, the creation of a technocrat government, which can be discussed at a round table with all parties and then the peaceful leading of the country to early elections".
Shehu said that "this demand once again testifies to the political manipulation of the financial problem after the collapse of the pyramid schemes".
Shehu said that Majko insisted precisely on the same political demands for elections which have been repeated since in March 1992.
According to Shehu, "an economic problem should begin to be resolved through economic measures".
However, Shehu hoped that "what was not accepted by Mr. Majko today would be accepted some other time".
During the meeting Shehu proposed that the two political forces call on the Vlore students to come out of the hunger strike, which has entered the eighth day.
"I made clear to you that I have not come here to represent the Vlore students," said Majko.
Shehu described the requests by the SP representative as "extreme political requests made since the first minute, which seem to be made on purpose in order not to continue the dialogue further".
Shehu said that: "I hold that the SP gentlemen, after this more rational reaction, that is, coming here today, will also respond to requests for other meetings in more rational and logical ways". jz/lm/Z/
The number of the creditors who have been retrieving their capitals during the last eight days has reached 2 445," the director of the company's credit bank, Albert Lulaj, told ATA.
Some 185 creditors, 65 of whom with urgent needs, have received their money from this bank today, beginning from 13:00 p.m.
Meanwhile the company is discussing that that even the creditors with amounts of up to 100 000 leks, to be able to receive a part of their capital investment (up to 500 000 leks). jz/lm/Z/