Various sources report that all trade units, after some of them were looted recently, are closed. Many families who have not been able to leave the city are faced with the problem of bread. The armed groups stole some days ago about 3000 tons of wheat in the state warehouses, leaving the city without bread reserves.
Yesterday, witnesses from Vlora say the funeral ceremony of a mother and son was made. They were killed the previous day while coming into the city by car.xh/sh/
"The text of the declaration shows that there was an agreement on minimal questions and that we are far from the solution demanded by the opposition parties for the new government and earlier elections," says the statement of the Forum of Democracy.
The forum, whose members, besides SP, SDP and DAP also are some parties without electorate, has not been a party in the talks with the president.
Attending the round table discussion with Sali Berisha were the main parties of all political specter among which SP, SDP and DAP which are members of the political grouping named Forum for Democracy and which on the basis of a consensus signed the declaration after the meeting.
The statement of the Forum demands an agreement on the conduct of earlier elections and the setting of the date of elections along with the lifting of the state of emergency.
The declaration of the round table discussion, according to the Forum, does not offer ample guarantees for the Albanian people, especially in the south, to become calm.
At the beginning, the protest in some cities in the south of Albania had only economic goals, which later degenerated up to the barbarous killing of National Information service officers and miserable maltreatment of many policemen, facts which were also made public by various European and world agencies and tv canals.
According to analysts, the aim of this demand of the forum is that attending these kinds of meeting must also be some parties, members of this forum, which are considered as nonexistent and without electorate and which in the latest parliamentary elections have won less than 0.1 per cent of the votes.
The Forum, created an alliance of the left opposition parties with some small right wing parties, according to analysts, opposes the declaration among the parties because it, in fact, does not take into consideration this forum. kled/xh/sh/
About 140 families feel themselves calm now differently from the extremely tense situation in their southern cities.
Members of the families from Vlora tell that it has been difficult for them to leave Vlora and travel with their cars to other places through various obstacles.
"Living in Vlora is very difficult now," they say. "There is a great shortage of vital articles." ssh/eva/xh/sh/
A press release of the PPK says that "we consider the joint stands adopted in that meeting as fundamental for the establishment of the constitutional order in the cities where it has been disrupted. Restoration of the constitutional law is very important because only then conditions for the overcome of the crisis are created. We believe that the state institutions, president Berisha and the political parties will manage to translate into life what they reached in the meeting."
"We hail the readiness of all the political parties to influence in the citizens in southern towns of Albania to surrender their arms within the set period of time, and all those who do such an act be offered amnesty."
The PPK invites all the political parties and people of Albania to respect this agreement and to influence through all manner of means to restore constitutional law. bj/pta/eva/E
"Hailing the dialogue conducted among political forces under the direction of the President of Albania, Sali Berisha, says the statement, we consider that only through peaceful means can a final solution to the serious situation created in Albania be found.
In the name of the general national interest we appeal on all the Albanian people, the President, the Government, political parties that through self-control and wisdom to find the right solution to eliminate the graver consequences that may come.
By fully supporting the legitimate state institutions we demand at any const that public order be restored as soon as possible and that normal life of the people throughout Albania be ensured, always by respecting the fundamental democratic principles.
Our community, says the declaration, has strong confidence that the Albanian people will overcome this grave situation and through democratic transformations will ensure its economic and political welfare. " ssh/kled/E
Under the direction of the regional defence staff for the Durres prefecture, Sabah Jemishta, the political parties and associations of the districts of Durres and Kruje, after discussing with responsibility on the situation created in the country, signed Friday a joint statement.
They thanked in the statement the people of Durres and Kruje for the correct and civilized stand during the days of state of emergency. They also supported the statement of the political parties in the meeting held with Albanian President Sali Berisha.
"We call on the people to apply the norms of the state of emergency, as until now", says the statement.
They also supported the measures taken by the regional defence staff regarding the speculative rise of prices, by appealing on all traders not to abuse with the people for dishonest profits in these difficult moments.
"The dialogue of this meeting remains open", ends the statement of the political parties and associations of this prefecture.
The statement is signed by the branches of the Democratic Party, Socialist Party, Right Republican Party, National Unity Party, National Front, etc, as well as by the associations "Durres", "Kosova", "aameria", etc. /s.sh/mt/k
President Berisha stressed that the Greek minority was not accused of having to do with the rebellion. Mr. Kranidiotis, after expressing to President Berisha his concern for the created situation, stressed the support of Simitis government in the bilateral plan and near the European Union to help Albania in all fields in order to come out of the crisis as soon as possible. /jz/mt/Z/
He said that the distance of the Forum for Democracy from the statement signed Thursday by Albanian President Berisha and representatives of the main opposition parties, as well as the irresponsible comments of some opposition leaders, show that the opposition is not keeping the word given in the dialogue with President Berisha.
"It is not understandable why the opposition signed the agreement and a few hours later it said the statement was not believable and did not have sufficient guarantee for the people. This shows that there is a big gap between the opposition and the government", - said Mac Adams, adding that the British group of Helsinki, as soon as it arrived in Tirana, contacted with the Albanian group of Helsinki and other groups to know closely with the situation of the human rights.
"The problem of press freedoms and the frightening measures against the journalists, I think is quite exaggerated by the rumors. We found few evidence to prove this claim. With regard to the press freedoms, I can say that when state of emergency was imposed, the opposition press and that of the party in power were both object of the censure, as it usually happens when state of emergency is declared all over the world", says Mac Adams.
He expressed pessimism regarding a closer solution of the crisis. Mac Adams said that "it is to be regretted the fact that the opposition parties seem to have withdrawn from the signed statement and it seems as if they do not want to call on the people in South to surrender weapons".
Mac Adams said that Berisha had shown his readiness to dialogue with the opposition, up to the acceptance of advices with it to appoint a new Premier through a wider and possible consensus.
"I think that it is in the hands of the people now to surrender weapons and it belongs to the opposition to distance itself from these people and call on them to hand in the weapons. The solution of the current crisis is not only the duty of the government or of the party in power, but also of all political forces in the country, and the International Community", says Mak Adams. /lt/ag/ eva/mt/k
This was reported by the deputy Greek Foreign Minister, Janos Kranidiotis in a meeting with the Albanian deputy Premier, Tritan Shehu, held Saturday in Tirana, in the context of a one-day visit payed by Kranidiotis.
After thanking Kranidiotis for the understanding of the Greek government, Shehu acquainted him with the current situation created in Albania, the real reasons which caused this situation, as well as the readiness of the Albanian government to find a political solution which would avoid in maximum the use of violence.
"For this it is requested the cooperation of all political forces, of position and opposition, as well as the disarming of terrorist forces, because the maintenance of constitutional order, rule and security for the life of citizens is the first duty and the responsibility of all political forces", stressed Shehu.
Kranidiotis ensured Shehu for the support of the Greek government to solve this difficult situation Albania is facing. /s.sh/kei/mt/k
The Mayor of the town, Luan Bregu, told ATA that the people continue their private activity normally, and in the same way the work goes on in the state institutions.
Meanwhile, the local staff of the state of emergency has followed by daily graphic the supply of population with wheat and flour.
According to a police source, there were noticed only a few movements of people beyond the timetable of the state of emergency.
Skrapari, Southern Albania, is always considered as one of the zones where the Socialist Party has great influence. The Democratic Party won in the last local elections, held on October 20, 1996. /s.s h/kei/mt/
Former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzki, who arrived in Albania today at the head of an OSCE delegation, said at a news conference, after meeting with President Berisha, that he had asked Berisha to extend a 48-hour ceasefire for surrendering weapons.
Vranitzki said he had not yet received approval by President Berisha to prolong the ceasefire for a further 48 hours, but said he hoped to receive this confirmation in the afternoon, in his second meeting with the Albanian president.
A reporter asked Vranitzki about today's stand of the Forum for Democracy parties, the SP, DAP and SDP, which three days ago, at a meeting of President Berisha with all the parties with more than one per cent of the electorate, signed a joined statement, which the analysts considered a promising start for a solution to the crisis.
Vranitzky responded that "these parties are not abiding by the statement signed by them three days ago".
Asked by a reporter about the possibility of the opposition's influencing up on the "third party" involved in the conflict, that is, the southern armed groups, to make them surrender weapons, Vranitzki said that "some of the opposition representatives said that if a political solution was reached, they thought that they (the armed groups) would surrender weapons".
To a question what he thought to be done if President Berisha agreed to prolong the ceasefire for a further 48 hours and the armed forces again did not hand them in, Vranitzki said:"When we make a proposal we think that it will be effective, and if it is not effective, then this would mean that we have to do with another situation, which will require a new proposal". lm/Z/
"It is very important the extension of the ceasefire up to the nomination of the new Government by Parliament. But the main thing is that the political parties should agree on the nomination of the new Prime Minister," Godo said.
According to Godo the meeting with Franz Vranitzky was very positive.
"The situation seemed as blocked, but I hope that Europe will render its support to overcome the current situation," said Godo shortly after the meeting with OSCE' representatives. JZ/Z/
Today the ten political parties met with President of the Republic to discuss ways to resolve the crisis in southern Albania.
The meeting was held as decided two days ago. After the meeting, the party leaders were optimistic of the talks conducted.
"A very good process is underway and I believe there will be good news for the country," said the RP chairman, Sabri Godo.
The meeting discussed the political solution and according to Gjinushi, "steps are taken towards it, which means the creation of a new government and new elections. But they have not yet entered into details".
According to Gjinushi, "this will be an interim government and modalities have not yet been set for it".
The participants in the meeting also discussed the issue of possible new elections, which Gjinushi said, "will be held as soon as possible",.
"They will perhaps be held in three months. The parties think that the solut ion to the crisis will only come through a political solution and that President Berisha, according to party leaders, agreed to a political solution and not to the use of arms.
According to the party leaders the ceasefire is thought to be prolonged for further 48 hours, to give more opportunity for the rebels to surrender weapons and enable political solution.
The meeting resumed at 17:30. a.ke/jz/lm /Z/
The Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, Janos Kranidiotis, held a news conference at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana this afternoon and expressed the belief that the current crisis will be resolved through dialogue between the political forces.
"We are interested in Albania as a neighbouring country, in which lives a Greek minority, and as a country in a European land," said Kranidiotis, explaining the aim of his one-day visit to Albania.
During his visit the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister met President of the Republic Sali Berisha, the deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tritan Shehu, various political forces, leaders of the minority, archbishop Anastassios and the head of the OSCE delegation, Franz Vranitzky, who almost shared the same view on the solution to this crisis.
"We believe in a solution, which should be political and acceptable for all the political forces," Kranidiotis said.
The crisis cannot be easily resolved, because it carries in its essence a grave economic crisis, he said adding "the economic aid for Albania should not remain in vacuum, but will go parallel to the later processes to be undertaken in Albania".
He said that he had discussed with President Berisha a political solution.
Responding to a question about early elections, urged by the opposition, Kranidiotis said that "Berisha thought the elections might be held in 45 days". But he said that in his meetings with the opposition parties they had opposed this proposal and had requested to extend the time-frame."
Kranidiotis said that he had proposed Berisha to prolong the ceasefire for a further 48 hours, so that during this time dialogue continued between the political parties.
He opposed the opinion of a reporter in the news conference held by Vranitzky that "Berisha had rejected the extension of the truce".
Also, Kranidiotis stressed the importance of friendly relations between Albania and Greece and wished the continuation of the democratic process in Albania. s.sh/jz/lm/Z/
"We categorically dismiss this report," the spokesman says adding that the army units are strictly implementing the Presidential decree to suspend military operations.
"On the contrary, the rebel forces have attacked a unit near Gjirokaster." a.ke/jz/lm/Z/
Vranitzky said that he put forward to Berisha the extension of the ceasefire in order to create the possibility for arms to be surrender.
He said that President Berisha was opened to prolong a 48 hours ceasefire, due to expire at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
Vranitzky promised the setting up of a special group, sent by EU, whom would collect the arms. "But about this he should consult the EU and the Council of Europe representatives, to establish the necessary structure." He said that he would present the idea to the OSCE and EU Assembly. Regarding the participation number in this special force, he said "that it depends on the Albanian side demand and on the support this idea would have."
Vranitzky said that he presented President Berisha the necessity of a caretaker government, which would run the country for a period of time, and creating the possibility for the arms' surrender, for the restore of normal situation and announcement of the date for holding early elections.
Regarding the date, according to President Berisha was declared that the elections should be held within 45 day, Vranitzky said "this afternoon President Berisha showed a more flexible approach regarding the date of the elections."
Vranitzky asserted that his mission was a fact-finding one and he would write down recommendations in relation with various problems. He said that "Berisha did not oppose any of his ideas presented in the afternoon meeting" and Berisha had promised to allow the presence of the OSCE observers for the early elections.
Asked on the role of the caretaker government, Vranitzky said that "the competence and function of this kind of government were not elabo rated yet, but first it should be elected and then decide on its competence.
"These are not the last words of our mission," said Vranitzky, who pointed out that the new elections will take place within this year. ake/pas
Speculations that soldiers had come "to conquer Gjirokastra" were spread by 20 to 30 newly arrived policemen from Southern town of Tepelena, which for some days is under the control of terrorist bands.
In the framework of a tense situation, these words irritated some hundred citizens, who attacked the soldiers, and the latter withdrew without using force on them, like in Vlore, Tepelena and Saranda towns.
Albanian Army for 4 years is carrying out its reforms under direct supervision of the US and NATO advisers.