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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 97-03-07

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From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency

CONTENTS

  • [01] MOVEMENT OF COMMODITIES THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY OF BAJZA STARTED
  • [02] TIRANA LOCAL DEFENCE STAFF BANS SPECULATIVE RISE IN PRICES
  • [03] NORMAL MOVEMENT OF FERRYBOATS IN DURRES
  • [04] HANS VAN MIERLO ARRIVES IN TIRANA
  • [05] REBELS DO NOT ALLOW VLORE CITIZENS TO LEAVE THE CITY
  • [06] COUNCIL OF EUROPE INQUIRY INTO STATE OF EMERGENCY IN ALBANIA
  • [07] IN ALBANIA WE ARE FACING COLLECTIVE ANGER WITH COMPENSATION DEMANDS INTERWOVEN WITH POLITICAL ONES -Kadare
  • [08] SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT MEETS COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION
  • [09] COUNCIL OF EUROPE PRESENTS RESOLUTE FOR ALBANIA
  • [10] ALBANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER
  • [11] DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON ALBANIA
  • [12] MIERLO CONFERENCE - EU CONDEMNS USE OF VIOLENCE WHICH INTENDS DESTABILISATION OF THE COUNTRY - conference
  • [13] ALBANIA'S WORLD CUP GAMES SWITCHED TO SPAIN

  • [01] MOVEMENT OF COMMODITIES THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY OF BAJZA STARTED

    KOPLIK, MARCH 7 (ATA) - By Myfti Malja: Yesterday the first train left the railway station of Bajza, Malesi e Madhe, for the railway station of Tuz, Montenegro. An agreement has been signed recently between the railway departments of Albania and Montenegro.

    The director of customs house in Shkodra district, Engjell Ceka told ATA that "work is going on normally in the border point of Hani i Hoti t. Scores of traders are selling on both sides of the border." ake/kled/xh/E

    [02] TIRANA LOCAL DEFENCE STAFF BANS SPECULATIVE RISE IN PRICES

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA) - The local Defence Staff in the Tirana Prefecture, based on the tasks of the Defence Staff, has issued the order on banning the speculative rise in prices, which enters into force on Friday.

    It orders that the prices of the imported flour, sugar, rice, vegetal oil, not to go beyond the respective limit.

    The Staff charges the town halls, communes, branches of the food and quality inspectorate, the branch of metrology and calibration and the branches of the police of taxation to carry out this order by controlling all the network of wholesale and retail trade of these articles.

    If this order is violated, the police of taxation should implement the provisions of the decree of Albanian President "On the confiscation up to 10 fold of the speculative profit". /s.sh/kei/mt/k

    [03] NORMAL MOVEMENT OF FERRYBOATS IN DURRES

    DURRES, MARCH 7 (ATA) - By S Gjordeni:

    The introduction of state of emergency has not interrupted the normal work for coming and going out of ferryboats in the Port of Durres.

    "During the first week of March, 28 foreign ferryboats of several lines from Italy, Greece and Croatia have entered the port", worker in the office of captain, Besnik Deda, told ATA.

    2500 passengers have travelled with these ferryboats. They have also brought 500 different vehicles of transport and cars.

    According to Deda, the number of passengers, as well as the number of cars brought by these ferryboats in 6 days is bigger than in usual days. /s.sh/mt/k

    [04] HANS VAN MIERLO ARRIVES IN TIRANA

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA) - Hans Van Mierlo, deputy Premier and Foreign Minister of Holland, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, arrived Friday morning in Tirana.

    He was received in the airport of Rinas by the Albanian deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, Tritan Shehu.

    The delegation, led by Mierlo, will hold talks with President Berisha, as we ll as with leaders of Albanian political parties.

    He will give a news conference on Friday at 14.30. /kei/mt/k

    [05] REBELS DO NOT ALLOW VLORE CITIZENS TO LEAVE THE CITY

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA) - The rebels do not allow the citizens of Vlore to leave the city, which is now under their complete control, sources from Vlore told ATA.

    A citizen from Vlore, together with his wife and two children, one of whom a baby, could escape from the city passing through fields and cliffs, sources near this person report.

    "We do not hand in our weapons. We will fight", are quoted the rebels as saying on Thursday and Friday after the Albanian President issued a decree which offers amnesty to those who would surrender thei r weapons within 48 hours, beginning from 6 a.m on Friday morning.

    Meanwhile, other citizens have found shelter in villages, afraid of stray bullets and possible explosives in streets.

    Many others who did not have the possibility to leave the town, according to sources from Vlora, pass a good part of the day in sheltering places, which were build under the dictatorship, "to evacuate population in case of possible foreign attack."

    The people almost do not sleep during the night for fear what may happen.

    A mother and her son were killed during the last 24 hours, thus carrying to 27 the toll of the victims since last Friday in Vlore.

    In the lead of the rebels are former State Sigurimi agents (defunct secret police of the dictatorship,) sources from Vlora report.

    [06] COUNCIL OF EUROPE INQUIRY INTO STATE OF EMERGENCY IN ALBANIA

    TIRANA, MARCH 3 (ATA) - At the close of a 20day programme of talks with the government and opposition leaders, and representatives of the World Bank, the European Union and the diplomatic community in Tirana 6-7 March, 1997, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly delegation led by Rene Van Der Linden (Netherlands, EPP) issued this 7-point statement following a closing meeting with President Berisha:

    1. We are deeply concerned by the violence and civil disorder in the south of the country by the state of emergency in Albania which this necessitated, and also by the misery caused to hundreds of thousands of families by the collapse of the "Pyramid" financial saving schemes.

    2. We welcome the dialogue initiated by President Berisha on 1 and 4 March, 1997 with the opposition Socialist Party. We warmly welcome the Declaration of 6 March 1997 by the ruling Democratic Party and all the other political parties on the need for restoring constitutional order, for an amnesty in return for surrender of arms, and for multy-party consensus on the choice of a new Prime Mi nister and on the setting-up of a national consensus government having the broadest possible support and a mandate to review the election laws. We call on the people of Albania to accept and act in accordance with this amnesty. The logic of these developments is for the Socialist Party to end its boycott of Par liament: only thus can its voice be heard and its arguments debated in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

    3. In view of the political crisis to be surmounted, a new government based on the broadest possible support must prepare a new constitution and a new electoral law. As stated in Assembly Resolution 1095 (1996): "The political parties should consider new elections after these changes in legislation."

    4. As a Member State of the Council of Europe, Albania must show full respect for human rights in any recourse to force to restore order. Measures taken in derogation of Article 15 of the European Human Rights Convention must not exceed "the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation," nor be "inconsistent with (Albania's) other obligations under the rule of law." All political parties should state their condemnation of acts of crimin al violence and rebellion in southern Albania, if these should persist despite the March 6 offer of an amnesty. Constraints on the media must be lifted.

    6. A "rescue package" should be urgently designed and applied by the international financial institutions. The conditions to be negotiated with the Albanian authorities should be the subject of a special hear ing of the Committee on Economic Affairs & Development of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

    7. The Council of Europe is ready to provide a frame for further dialogue between the political forces of Albania. It will act, together with the European Union, OSCE and the other international organizations, as a source of international advice and support for Albania for any problems within its special areas of expertise.

    [07] IN ALBANIA WE ARE FACING COLLECTIVE ANGER WITH COMPENSATION DEMANDS INTERWOVEN WITH POLITICAL ONES -Kadare

    TIRANE, MARCH 7 (ATA)-Ismail Kadare says that: "In Albania we are facing a collective anger with compensation demands being interwoven with political ones."

    "It is almost a curse. It is the first time such a terrible tragedy shocks Albania," says Kadare in an interview with Suisse Romande on March 5.

    "For decades the Albanian people suffered under the most savage communist dictatorship and now there is a class plunged into hatred, a personal hatred as well," he added.

    "I defend my country. Albania should be calmed, stabilised. The Albanian children should live and not die, as it happened in earlier times," says Kadare.

    "The International opinion is also responsible for creating a kind of negative psychosis for Albania and this psychology is directed against my country and has played a significant role in the tragic events of the last days," he says.

    Kadare appeals to the international community: "Do not watch our tragedy as a performance. Help my country both economically and morally."

    "Albania's tragedy should not be turned into a spectacle," Albanian writer Ismail Kadare concludes his interview for radio Suisse Romande. a.ke/kled/lm/sh/

    [08] SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT MEETS COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELEGATION

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA)- Speaker of Albanian Parliament Pjeter Arbnori met today the delegation of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Ad Hok Commission, headed by Rene van der Linden.

    Arbnori asked the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to clearly distin guish the dangerous violence by the rebel bands from the people who defend the constitutional order, democratic institution in accordance with the laws in force. If both parties are equally ju dged, then democracy will remain only a theory, Arbnori said.

    The fact that, despite the introduction of the state of emergency, the government forces have not killed or executed any one of the rebel bands, should be positively considered, Arbnori said.

    They are continuously called on to surrender arms without bloodshed. Meanwhile, he said, the aim has always been to establish dialogue, round table of political parties.

    In the meantime, besides the round table, the Albanian parliament, elected by the electorate's free vote, should be respected to the end, Arbnori said adding that suggesting parliamentary elections under these conditions, would be disastrous for the Albanian electorate and Albania.

    Arbnori evaluated the assistance provided by the Council of Europe for Albania under this situation, hoping that this would not lack in the future, as well.

    Linden said that the Council of Europe could play a great role to help Albania go on with the democratic reforms. He appreciated the establishment of late of dialogue between the political parties upon the initiative of President Berisha.

    "We, also expressing the conviction of the other delegation members, support dialogue and the use of political means to calm the situation", he said. a.ke/kled/lm /Z/

    [09] COUNCIL OF EUROPE PRESENTS RESOLUTE FOR ALBANIA

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 /ATA/ By R.Floqi - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, after two days of talks, Friday called on the Albanian authorities and the political forces to continue the dialogue in order to give the country a permanent solution and avoid the violence.

    An Ad-Hoc delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, headed by Rene Van der Linden made those comments at the end of his two-day visit in Tirana, during which they met top Albanian officials, the President Sali Berisha and representatives of main political forces.

    Head of the delegation Van der Linden said that the Council of Europe "was deeply concerned by the spread of violence in southern part of the country, which brought about the inevitable establishment of the emergency rule.

    Linden said that he encourages the initiatives for dialogue of President Berisha and the opposition political parties.

    "CE warmly welcomes the meeting and statement of Mr. Berisha with political parties on March 6, stressing on topics regarding the engagement of all political parties for the restoration of constitutional order, 48 hour amnesty in return for surrender of arms and for multi party consensus on the choice of a new Premier and a mandate for a new election law," said Linden.

    CE said Linden appealed on Albanian people to leave aside the violence means and use the political dialogue.

    According to the logic of these developments, in the current situation said he "Socialist Party should return to the Parliament and give up its boycott.

    Only thus can its voice be heard and its arguments debated in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe." says the declaration.

    On the other side the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said that the Government must prepare a new Constitution and a new electoral law and after these changes should consider new elections.

    The Assembly called for full respect for human rights, but when the amnesty be over is necessary the support for restore of Constitutional order in Albania.

    They recommended an independent investigation on the activity of the pyramid investment schemes and asked for the participation of foreign experts in this field.

    The Assembly proposed a "rescue packet" and said that this will be drafted and granted by the international financial institutions.

    The Council of Europe said that it is ready to provide a base for a further dialogue among political forces in Albania and it act together with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international bodies as a source for international advice and a support for Albania for every problem within this framework.

    Asked by BBC journalist "that how can be set up such a government without the Socialist party, which has the majority of the electorate? Linden responded that President Berisha during the meeting said "he will appoint a Prime Minister, who should meet all political parties to provide a broader base for the Government."

    Base on yesterday parties' declaration, President Berisha said that he "will continue this dialogue to achieve a broader consensus."

    Asked if rebel forces even after the amnesty will not surrender arms but will "continue the proletarian revolution" until the overthrow of Berisha, as speculations are spread, Linden responded:

    "First it should be a broader government with consensus for a peaceful dialogue and to solve it with peaceful means, which would be the first step, but Albania as "every member country should use all possible legal means, according to the international law to restore order."

    "We favour priority for peaceful means rather than military ones," said Li nden in response to another question.

    Asked about the kind of the "aid packet" and CE role on it, the delegation members said " they would influence in the competent bodies including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Europe.

    Mr Ruffy asked about the recognition of the October 20 local elections results as fair and legal, he said: after the report of the 200 observers, I considered the local elections fair."

    [10] ALBANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA)-The President of the Republic of Albania, Sali Berisha, met today Hans Van Mierlo, the Dutch Foreign Minister and current chairman of the EU Council of Ministers, according to the President's Press and Information Office.

    "I have come here on behalf of the European Union and I want to express our support for you," Mierlo told President Berisha.

    Berisha expressed thanks for the European Union's interest and contribution to Albania and assured him of his determination to pull the country out of the current crisis, to restore the constitutional order and guarantee the public order.

    Berisha expressed his resolution to continue dialogue with the parties to elect the new Prime Minister.

    Mierlo expressed concern over the situation created in several towns in southern Albania and backed efforts for dialogue undertaken by the president with the political parties.

    The European Union recognises the necessity for political and social stabili ty in the country as well as the necessity to restore law and order.

    Condemning all attempts, which through threat or use of arms, intend to unde rmine the stability and take over the power, the European Union calls on all the political forces to condemn and halt this activity.

    He stressed that the European Unions backed the recommendation of the Council of Europe that the opposition, in respect of the democratic principles, joined the parliament and engaged in its activity and that he believed that a national reconciliation process was necessary which could opening up the perspective of approving the constitution and fresh elections.

    He said the European Union expressed readiness to further the current aid an d include in the PHARE programme specific measures for the current situation. lm/sh/

    [11] DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON ALBANIA

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA)-

    1. On the occasion of the visit of the President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union to Albania, Mr Hans van Mierlo expressed great concern at the situation in the country and its possible implications for the region. While recognising the need to restore law and order and deploring the violence that has occurred, the EU expects maximum self restraint from all sides and urges that further violence be avoided. The EU calls firmly upon the Albanian authorities and all other parties to respect human rights, including minority rights, and fundamental freedoms consistent with Albania's international obligations. A state of public emergency should not be used to subvert these rights nor the democratic order and the EU expects it to be lifted as soon as possible. The Albanian authorities are expected to maintain freedom of expression and freedom of information and to stop harassment of the foreign and national media. The opposition also has responsibilities. We support the recommendation of the Council of Europe that the opposition should, out of respect for democratic principles, take up its seats a nd participate in the work of Parliament.

    2. The EU urges the Albanian Authorities to ensure the security of foreign citizens in Albania and to cooperate with EU Member States responsible for their well being.

    3. The EU calls upon Albanian political forces to engage in dialogue, to work together in a responsible manner to solve the present crisis as soon as possible and to establish a government which enjoys broad support. The EU recognises the need for political and social stability if democratic processes are to be assured. It condemns all attempts by threat or use of arms to undermine stability or seize power and calls on all political forces in Albania also to condemn and seek to prevent such activity. At the same time the EU believes that a parallel process to promote national reconciliation is necessary, leading to perspective of fresh parliamentary elections and a new constitution.

    4. The EU welcomes the decision of the OSCE Chairman in Office to send a personal representative to Albania and urges Albania, as a member of the OSCE, to fully cooperate with his mission. It is the EU's conviction that the OSCE has an essential role to play to achieve peaceful reconciliation in Albania. The EU stands ready to support the OSCE in this endeavour.

    In this context, the Union welcomes the steps taken by the Council of Europe and asks the OSCE and the Council of Europe to work closely together in order to reinforce democracy in Albania.

    5. The EU welcomes the planned IMF/World Bank mission and urges the Albanian government to reach agreement on ways of ending the present crisis, controlling the investment schemes and restoring economic well being on the basis of an agreed IMF programme.

    6. The EU, recalling the General Affairs Councils conclusions of 24 February, confirms its readiness to continue it current assistance to Albania within the Phare programme including specific measures aiming at alleviating the present situation in Albania. In addition, the EU is of course ready to provide humanitarian aid should this become necessary. The EU is however concerned that the implementation of the existing trade and cooperation relationship with Albania is suffering and that the Phare programme is also negatively affected under the present circumstances. Once political and economic conditions are right, the EU is ready to consider the strengthening of relations with Albania within the context of its regional approach and with a view to promoting stability in the region.

    7. The EU has always given strong support to the creation of a democratic Albania. It continues to support that goal. But this requires acceptance by Albania of the principles and practices of democracy.

    [12] MIERLO CONFERENCE - EU CONDEMNS USE OF VIOLENCE WHICH INTENDS DESTABILISATION OF THE COUNTRY - conference

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA)- By Atalanta Pasko,

    The President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, Mr Hans van Mierlo, said at today's news conference after the meeting with President Berisha and party representatives, that the EU was concerned at the situation in Albania and about the continuation of the democratic process in the country and a political and economic solution to the problem.

    Mierlo said that he had recommended President Berisha to do his utmost not to use violence. He stressed that he had also recommended the opposition parties to influence in avoiding the violence.

    "I may say that the opposition parties have a moral obligation to use all their influence against violence," Mierlo said.

    "The EU condemns all uses of violence which intend the country's destabilisation and forceful seizing of power," he stressed.

    Mierlo said that the EU thought that the main cause of the crisis such as the collapse of the pyramid schemes and structural weakness should be immediately considered.

    As regards the boycott of parliament by the opposition parties, Mierlo said that he held that the opposition parties were of great importance and that out of respect for democracy, they should take up their seats in parliament".

    Responding to a question regarding this issue, he said that "in general Europe thought that the opposition should take up its merited seats in parliament and then, if it wants to fight against the government, it should do this in parliament"

    Asked "what do you expect to happen in the coming days," Mierlo said that first he thought that conditions be created for dialogue between the parties concerned and hoped that time could be gained and military intervention be postponed.

    Asked whether he thought a new government would also include the socialists, Mierlo said:"It is not me who creates the government".

    Asked by a British reporter what he thought whether a group of prisoners would seize the port of Rotterdam, "would you consider this a lack of confidence of the people in the system and the government and suggest fresh elections to resolve the problem," Mierlo said this issue should be seen in its depth.

    Asked whether EU had conditioned its aid to Albania on early elections and on some timetables to resolve the crisis, Mierlo said that "the funds are not linked with any certain condition" and that Europe does not set timetables".

    Asked by a reporter whether early elections in Albania "at such a moment when there is so much confusion in the people's minds," would harm the democratic process of the country, Mierlo said: "I cannot say that the elections should be held now, at this moment. I said that "maybe they should be held, when the situation clears up'". pas/lm

    [13] ALBANIA'S WORLD CUP GAMES SWITCHED TO SPAIN

    TIRANA, MARCH 7 (ATA)- By A. Keko, Albania's upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, planned on March 29 and April 2, 1997, against Ukraine and Germany, will be switched from Tirana to Granada in Spain.

    This decision was made public through a FIFA announcement from Zurich which stressed that this decision was taken because of the "current political situation in Albania".

    The ninth qualifying group of World "France '98" includes Albania, Germany, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Ukraine and Armenia. a.ke/jz/lm/sh/


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