"The PD thanks all the OSCE member countries which supported the decision to send a multinational force to Albania as well as the U.N. Security Council members which decided to quickly send this force with a special mandate and, especially, those countries which will engage their forces in carrying out a great noble mission in Albania for the benefit of peace and stability in the country and region," the press release of the PDSH press and Information department says.
The demand for sending a multinational force, after the chaos sweeping the country, in which terrorist armed gangs have come out of control in several cities of Albania, was made by the President of the Republic, Sali Berisha, and was also reiterated by the Albanian government.
This demand was immediately supported by several European states including Italy, France, Turkey and other states.
Through this statement, the PD expresses the conviction that the mandate of this multinational force is a guarantee for the distribution of the humanitarian aid as well as for restoring calm in Albania.
Among the states which have expressed readiness to send troops in composition of this force are Italy, Turkey, Romania, Greece, Spain, Portugal and other states.
The multinational force to come to Albania will have civil missions and will consist of 2500 troops, which will later reach 5000. It will be lead by Italy.
The multinational force will stay in Albania until after the general elections, envisaged in June this year. eva/lm/Z/
According to reports, about 90 per cent of the families in the countryside are armed. The number of the arms that have been handed down so far amounts to 1 600, among which are arms of different kinds and calibers, along a considerable amount of munition. Some military units which have in their depot highly damgerous explosive matter continue to be guarded only by voluntary armed forces.
The supply of the population with most necessary articles of daily usage such as bread, food items, water and electricity is generally normal.
In its today's meeting, the Tirana District Council analysed the existing situation and defined some urgent measures to be adopted f or the further improvement of the situation. kled/xh/Z
"Tirana's experience should be spread all over Albania, Fino said at the meeting.
He stressed that under the current conditions Albania is in, it is important that the state power holds an open and constructive dialogue with all the political forces, associations, committees or various citizen representatives created during the days of people's protests.
"The restoration of order is the essence of their preoccupation. It is not bad for these committees to suggest different solutions to the concrete situation," Fino said. eva/lm/Z/
Shooting continues in Gramsh by persons who seized weapons in an army depot in the Cekrez village of this town yesterday.
Meanwhile, an official of the Elbasan Prefecture reports on a long gun battle in the Tunje commune between the local inhabitants and an unidentified group, which has come to this commune with the aim to loot.
There are no reports of victims so far. eva/lm/Z/
"Albania welcomes the resolution 1101 (1997), approved yesterday evening by the U.N. Security Council, which authorises the sending of a multinational defence force in support of the humanitarian activities in our country.
We express our gratitude to the Security Council, to all its member states, for approving without delay of this important decision.
We hail the affirmation of the Security Council, through the resolution, of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Albania. At the same time we appreciate the appeal of the Security Council to all the Albanians to immediately give up all acts of violence.
The resolution, the statement says, marks a further step of specific importance in the efforts to cope with the current situation in our country. It eliminates any international legal obstacle to sending a multinational defence force.
The objective of the force is to facilitate the safe and fast distribution of the humanitarian aid and create a safe environment for the missions of the international organisations in Albania.
Now we will start working with the states expressing readiness for participation in the multinational force to draft the respective agreements, which will then be submitted for ratification in our parliament and those of the respective states.
The Albanian government expresses its gratitude to 20 states for co-sponsoring the resolution alongside our country. It, especially, thanks the states which have shown readiness to participate in the multinational force.
Albania is ready to cooperate with the multinational defence force to enable the full realisation of the mandate of this force, a mandate which stems from the resolution 1101 of the Security Council.
The Albanian government, the statement concludes, expresses the conviction that all the political forces in Albania and the legitimate power will make all efforts to facilitate the accomplishment of the mandate". s.sh/jz/lm/Z/
Sources confirm so far that at least four people have died and some tens of others are missing.
While unconfirmed sources from Brindisi say that some tens of citizens might have been on board the Albanian ship.
The Albanian ship was capsized due to a collision with an Italian warship. According to some specialists of the Albanian navy all possibilities existed to avoid the sinking of the ship. jz/lm/Z
On the basis of the information it has so far, the Albanian Government is of the opinion that the tragical event which might have cost the lives of scores of Albanian citizens, could have been avoided.
The Albanian Government has highlighted the readiness of the Italian authorities to help facilitate the Albanian crisis and especially with regard to the question of refugees, stressing the elements of the humanitarian aid in the operations of the Italian forces.
But the Albanian Government voices its grief over the tragical event that occurred yesterday. The National Reconciliation Governmment considers the effort of the Italian military forces as an act which runs counter to the draft of the agreement between the two govenments, according to which no acts had to be taken at sea by the Italian party until the respective protocol between respective defence ministries was signed. The Albanian Government has in no case considered as serious, although it has seriously expressed its regret, the irresponsible declarations of some renowned former politicians of the talian institutions, according to which "Albanians must be drowned in the sea."
The Albanian Government holds that immediate inquiry should start to make clear the tragical event during which some Albanian citizens lost their lives an d asks from the Italian Governnment to adopt all the measures to protect the lives of Albanian citizens. ake/jz/xh/Z
The Democratic Party powerfully denounces this accord that confirms the previous denouncements made by us for an early involvement of some former communist leaders in the armed insurrection against the legal state.
The Democratic Party stresses that this accord fully violates the national reconciliation agreement reached between all the political parties and the President of the Republic, agreement signed also by the Socialist Party. This agreement was welcomed and supported by all the Albanian people and by all the international community as the only way to come out of this difficult situation. The restoration of the constitution and public order as well as the parliamentary elections in June 1997, are the main duties of the National Reconciliation Government, whose fulfillment avoids conflict and bloodshed.
The Democratic Party gave its vote of confidence to this government in the parliament and has supported it without reservation, by thus contributing to the fulfilment of the March 9 agreement.
Likewise the Democratic Party expresses its full support for the constitutional institution of the President of the Republic0, the Albanian parliament and the local power bodies.
The Democratic Party
-asks the Socialist Party to denounce its accord with the rebel bands which aim at toppling the constitutional order and taking power through violence.
-asks the Socialist Party to express itself against taking of power through the force of arms.
-asks the Socialist Party to respect the constitutional institutions, to denounce the illegal committees and their gangs.
-On the contrary the Democratic Party will take all the necessary political and legal measures.
Yesterday's accord between the socialists and the armed rebel bands throws on the Socialist Party all the consequences for the sabotage of the National Reconciliation agreement on the basis of which the actual government emerged, and also all other consequences that derive from this./Z/
"Albania is experiencing the graviest crisis since the toppling of communism. In many parts of the country, public security is not guaranteed in the present moments. The provisional government of the Premier Bashkim Fino is manifesting determination in its efforts to restore order in the country.
Germany, together with the OSCE and the European Union, will support these efforts of the Albanian government and will further cooperate orientated towards the future of Albania. Additionally, the European Union has decided to send humanitarian aid and missions of advisers under the protection of a multinational force.
But Albania itself, has, first of all, the resposibility to overcome the present. The creation of the National Reconciliation Govenment as a provisional government, the political dialogue intitiated by it and the report on fresh elections are steps made on a right road. The dialogue between the government, the political parties and all other important political forces in the political institutions envisaged for this dialogue should be carried on. In particular, all the parties participating in the government coalition, and which have seats in the parliament, must take their seats in the present difficult situation, and support the work of the government until the new elections. Germany also holds that the government and the parties should be responsible during the overcoming of the crisis, to take into account the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
A free press and an information made available to the population of Albania without obstacles in the present situation are of a special importance.
"We," says the declaration further on, "regret that the parliament was not in a position to accept the draft laws to lift the censorship and other measures of the state of emergency. A removal of the measures, which prevent the political dialogue and the normalization of the life in Albania would contribute to lower political tensions.
We hope that the government and the parties would work more together in the interest of Albania and for a resolution to its problems.
Germany, says the declaration in conclusion, denounces the attacks against representatives of Albanian press, which have also been repeated recently. Such kinds of acts must not be allowed." Z/xh/
In addition, this session will also discuss a declaration of the insurgent armed committees which, together with some parties' representatives, which have signed the agreement for national reconciliation, are supporting constitutional putsches against the parliament and other legitimate institutions. ake/xh
Mr Fino declared that the Albanian Goverment is committed to make the issue clear and it is having contacts with the Italian Government on the question. He voiced the belief that the Italian authorities would clarify to the end the causes of this human tragedy. Albanian Premier also said that "this tragical event does convince more the Government of National Reconciliation he is leading, to work hard that the situation at home get calm and political-economic stability be restored in order that such tragedies be not repeated in the future.
Stressing this commitment, he voiced the conviction that the sea tragedy last Friday would not question the good and close Albanian-Italian relations and the coming bilateral cooperation for the overcome of the grave situation in Albania.
On this occasion, Premier Bashkim Fino expressed his pleasure on the decision of the U.N Security Council to send an international military force to protect and deliver the aid in Albania and to help normalize the situation in the country. He underlined that the international military force will be a basic element in the efforts the Albanians are making to overcome the deep crisis which is ruining the country.
Premier Fino declared on this occasion that Albania is predisposed to cooperate closely with the multinational defence force to enable the full realisation of the mandate of this force. As is made known, the U.N. Security Council approved on Friday the Resolution 1101 on the dispatch, for a three-month period of time, to Albania of a defensive multinational force to support the humanitarian operations in Albania. jz/xh/Z
"There has been an agreement to patrol the sea and this is quite normal. The Albanian ship could be escorted as it was with civilians, children, women and later the Italian authorities could take their own measures, as it has done. They keep or return them when they consider it reasonable. But, in no way in the middle of the sea. No action should have been taken against the civilians, a thing which produced this painful result.
It is advisable for the people not to undertake such dangerous trips, which cost their life. But, on the other hand, Italy is a big, developed, civilised state and in these difficult days, it surely will find the way to help these unlucky civilians, just like we, a small country, did with the ill-fated Italian soldiers at the time of war." a.ke/jz/lm/Z
Regarding the technical aspect of the ship, commander Beja said that the ship was relatevly in a good state, although it was not controlled directly. According to Mr Beja, that kind of ship could transport no more than 20 people. Asked by TV reporter if there was any possibility to rescue it, Beja said that everything possible should have been made to avoid the grave accident. There is always a way of salvation," said Mr Beja in the end of his interview. jz/xh