TIRANA, APRIL 3 (ATA) - The deputy of Austria in the European Union, Dr. Hannes Swoboda, during the debate for Albania in the Commission for Foreign Policy of the European Union, declared that the engagement of some countries like Austria and Italy in the difficult situation created in Albania should be understood as a preliminary contribution of these countries.
Swoboda is the deputy chairman of the Social-Democratic group in the European Parliament and at the same time he is deputy president of the EU delegation for Eastern Europe.
Further on, Swoboda stressed that these countries, Austria and Italy, should be not left alone in their efforts to stabilize the situation in Albania. In this context, a complete support of Europe for Albania is requested.
After he criticized the shakeable stand of the member governments of the European Union in the issue of the immediate engagement in Albania, Dr. Swoboda said that "The European Union should intervene in Albania in an active way."
In his statement, Swoboda asked the intensification of monitoring in possible zones of crisis, in the context of preventive measures.
He said that, in accordance with the recommendation of the European Parliament, it should be created as soon as possible the "Peace Corps", made up of civils and military, which should intervene immediately in the zones of crisis.
"It should be impossible the creation of a special European fund for the emigrants to compensate the special countries, which are affected during this time, such as Italy in recent weeks," concludes Swoboda. /s.sh/kei/mt/k
Weapons were looted and different objects were damaged even in this zone. The customs-house of Gorrice was looted and destroyed completely. /s.sh/kled/mt/k
The killers entered by midnight the house of the citizen Xhevair Gjoka and killed and massacred by fire weapons Xhevair Gjoka, 62, Hoke Gjika, his wife, 56, Kastriot Gjoka, his son, 27, Luljeta Gjoka, the wife of Kastriot, 22, Etleva Gjoka, 20, and Elona Gjoka, 16, the daughters of Xhevair.
The motives of this crime are still unknown. /kei/mt/k
With regard to these visits and their results, Premier Fino and Minister Vukaj reported in front of the governemnt.
Fino and the delegation he headed returned from Greece on Thursday. /kei/mt/
The ferryboat "La Vikinga", which came from Bari with 35 passengers, was anchored Thursday in this port, while the ferryboat "Iliria" continues to enter normally everyday.
The work is going on normally even in the processing of different merchant ships.
According to the authorities of the port, after the first six ships which were processed recently in the port, actually there are also the Syrian ships "Haxhi Kadia" and "Karime" to be processed.
It is also under processing the Greek Ship "Akios Pantonios" with 1500 ton flour and a quantity of cement, while the Croatian ship "Zvedi Jere", which was anchored Thursday, will be loaded with a considerable amount of chrome mineral for export. /a.ke/eva/mt/k
According to the fishermen, the extinction has come as a result of hunting without criteria during the recent years, as well as because of the use of many explosive materials, which were looted from the military depots.
The inspector of the regional agency of fishing in Tropoje, Emri Brecani, told ATA that "The hunting without criteria has damaged the ecological system in this lake, making it become a dead lake."/s.sh/kei/mt/sh/
While on the free market 1 US $ was bought for 150 leks, the highest level reached so far.
The devaluation of the lek, according to specialists, is due to a shock the whole macro-economic system has suffered as well as due to the damages taking place in the productive and trade enterprises.
The exchange rate of the lek against foreign currencies (April 4,1997)
The Savings Bank Currency buying selling 1 US $ 149 153 1 Mark 88.8 92.2 1000 Liras 89 93 100 Drachmas 55 59 a.gj/eva/lm/e
President Berisha expressed to the Apostolic Nuncio his thanks and gratitude to His Excellency, Pope John Paul 2 and the Vatican for the great support, the prays and friendly feelings they have always manifested for Albania and especially in this period of great difficulties.
"I think that the only road to restore order and stability to the country," said Berisha, "are the free and fair elections monitored by the Council of Europe, OSCE and other international organizations.
The National Reconciliation Government is making serious efforts to prepare the country for the new elections and the coming of the international forces is a real asistance to the implementation of the political solution set on March 9, but," the President said, "the activity of the National Reconcliation Government and its mission is being undermined by armed committees and groups, which do not allow that legitimate governing be restored in 5 or 6 districts in the South of Albania, with which, the socialists, who proposed the candidade for the Prime Minister, have signed an open alliance, asking the government to consider them as a party in negotiations, thus violating the March 9 agreement. Unfortunately, the request to turn these committees into parties expresses a decision of SP to tranform these groups into executive committees and to block the free elections."
The Apostolic Nuncio said that the Vatican and the Holy See highlights "your efforts to bring the country our of the crisis and we are convinced that free and fair elections would guarantee a continuous democracy in Albania. We are resolute to continue our cooperation with you in all the fields," said the Apostolic Nuncio to Berisha. jz/xh/Z
They discussed the state of Albanian judiciary and the possibilities for its normal functioning.
Regarding this meeting, the spokesman of Premier Fino said that the Premier had also exchanged opinions with the two senior officials of Law on the reactivation of the Albanian prosecutor's offices and courts as soon as possible.
Participants in the meeting also treated a number of concrete problems related with the resumption of the work in judiciaries, including the question of the reconstruction of the damaged buildings of judiciaries, the insurance of prosecutors and judges, a re-examination of the cadres and other issues.
Participants in the meeting expressed their belief that with a coordination of operations, the restoration of order and judiciaries could be made possible, said the spokesman of the Albanian Prime Minister. eva/xh/Z
Shyssel stressed that "the decision to send Austrian military troops to Albania is indisputable among the government ranks, as the two coalition parties have expressed themselves completely in favour of sending troops to Albania. Although the decision is not yet taken, preparations are underway. The International Operation is expected to begin by April 12-13.
The Council of Ministers was also informed of the performance of the Austrian renowned military experts in the context of the planning staff.
The chairman of the Free Party (the major opposite party) Jorge Haider had earlier warned Chancellor Viktor Klima against the great risk that might be posed to the Austrian troops during their engagement in Albania. This risk, he said, could be triggered off by two factors: First, the running of the operation by the Italians. In this connection, the Albanians' rage towards Italy due to the collapse of the pyramid schemes and the sinking of the ship in the Otranto Channel. Thus, the Austrian soldiers may be accidentally harmed under this command.
Secondly: the deployment of the Austrian soldiers to Albania as "cannon fodder", with the Albanian opposition being completely armed, would be dangerous.
The leader of the Austrian opposition, Haider, had at the same time asked for the mediation of the Austrian Chancellor, Klima, in the European Union not to allow the operation to be led by Italy.
Shyssel makes once again clear that the Austrian engagement in Albania should not be regarded as an :"order for war" but as as "an export of stability".
Further on Shyssel says that :"Albania should not be allowed to plunge in anarchy and chaos, because, later, drug and arms trafficking will threaten many countries, also including Austria. All in Albania want help to reconstruct the country."
In this context during today's meeting of the Council of Ministers, Austrian Defence Minister Werner Fasslabend considered "very positive the deployment of the military forces in the framework of the multinational force to Albania and at the same time welcomed the political consensus as regards this issue."
Fasslabend was of the opinion that "the Austrian troops be deployed to the north of Albania, possibly in the Shkoder city and its suburbs.
Fasslabend said that "the first phase, which is thought to start by mid April, will be devoted to the security of seaports and airports."
"During May the measures taken are planned to cover other areas as well. While June and July will serve for general stabilisation and preparation of elections."
During the discussion on Albania Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima turned down the claims of the opposition leader, Haider, reconfirming the full predisposition and responsibility of the Austrian government, which has attached special attention to securing the lives of the soldiers to take part in the multinational force in Albania.
The Austrian insistence on deploying the forces to the North of Albania, according to Austrian military experts, is conditioned by historical traditions. kled/lm/Z/
In the meeting with the British Ambassador, Minister Ngjela made a panorama of the situation in Albania and confirmed the objecvtives of the Ministry of Justice for a modern legislation, for the Election Law, the independence and professionalism of the judges and training courses for the specialists and experts of prisons, according to contemporary standards.
Ambassador Tessoriere said that the Great Britain was ready to help meet the needs of Albania. Especially for the Election Law, the British party was ready to welcome a group of experts and personalities of media to attend the British elections due in May this year. The Ambassador also expressed the readiness to help Albania in various aspects such as the training of judges, police and reporters.
This assistance may be realised through the Council of Europe or through the British "Know-How Fund."
In today's meeting with Mr Ngjela, the German Ambasador, Mr Hannspeter Disdorn took interest mainly of the Election Law. Minister Ngjela said that that law was of special importance but first of all the restoration of the public order was very indispensible. With regard to the Election Law Mr Ngjela said that he was consulting with experienced experts and with foreign personalities to find out the most appropriate solution and reach a consensus with all political forces, so that the Election Law be a law of contemporary standards. jz/xh/Z
They had a friendly talk and discussed the situation in Albania and the efforts to solve the crisis politically. President Berisha stressed that general, free and fair elections are the only road to come out of the present situation. In this regard, Berisha highlighted Austria' contribution and confirmed to President Klestil that "the coming of the Austrian units together with the units of other friendly countries to Albania is a reaffirmation of the friendly feelings and of the cooperation existing between our two peoples and countries."
President Berisha stressed that a more serious obstacle for the polls are the armed committees and groups in the South of the country, whose aim is that the new elections be not held. Their objective is to come to power and play the role of the former executive committees.
President Klestil confirmed to President Berisha his complete support for the restoration of the stability in Albania and that he would report to the Austrian government of all the problems they had talked about. ake/JZ /xh/Z
In his letter, Violante informs Arbnori of his speech on this issue at the meeting of the Italian Parliament Chamber of Deputies.
Violante also reports that "besides investigations, already started at the request of the Italian government, many parliamentary groups agreed to give this topic a special parliamentary consideration."
Speaking at the Chamber of Deputies, Violante, after expressing the condolences on the occasion, said:"Above all, I want to assure the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament of the commitment of the Chamber of Deputies, based on its function and responsibility, to throw light on the truth". a.ke/jz/lm/Z/
The first contingent of food has been distributed to 36 local institutions, including orphanages, handicapped institutions, alms houses and hospitals, with Vlore being at the centre of attention.
Over the last 10 days of March, the Red Cross Centre has so far delivered over 20 tonnes of food, not including here aid in medicine and detergents.
Meanwhile several local committees of the red cross have contributed the fund obtained from the red cross lottery to many institutions.
The Red Cross local committees have set up groups of first aid at the emergency wards of the hospitals of Fier, Gramsh, and Tirane.
Some 60 000 families with about 250 000-300 000 people are to be provided soon with first food supplies.
The Red Cross Operation has been running smoothly without any kind of confrontation, leading officials of this institution say. kled/lm/Z/
In this message Starova expresses to the French Foreign Minister the gratitude of his government for the aid and contribution France is providing Albania with at these difficult moments.
A message, which Mr. Herve de Charette sent on the occasion of Starova's appointment Albania's Foreign Minister, expresses the readiness of France and the European Union to support the Government of National Reconciliation. a.ke/jz/lm/Z/
However, different from nonofficial reports circulating in the media and elsewhere without our knowledge, we did not agree to meet representatives of the so-called committee of Vlore citizens.
While the embassy in ready to listen to the views of official and non official groupings of disturbed citizens, in this case, we had agreed to meet a group of women and not representatives of the Vlore citizens' committee.
As the embassy has made clear throughout the current crisis, we believe that the National Reconciliation Government and the local and district officials, elected in a legitimate way, are the only legitimate representatives of the Albanian people and local and regional subdivisions. We continue to abide by this principle in our contacts with Albanian groups and organisations", the announcement says. a.ke/jz/lm /Z/
The meeting between the Albanian delegation led by Prime Minister Bashkim Fino and the Greek delegation led by Prime Minister Kostas Simits lasted over three hours.
In his address, Premier Fino pointed out that in the difficult days for the Albanian people, the Greek people and government have been close to them. He expressed his thanks to the Greek Premier for the stand of his government regarding the events in Albania and highlighted the Greek participation in the context of the EU and OSCE units in the all-sided assistance offered to Albania to overcome the crisis. In this framework, he thanked for the co-sponsoring by Greece of the Resolution of the Security Council for the dispatch of a multinational defence force to Albania.
Premier Fino pointed out that the crisis in Albania is not simply a financial crisis, caused simply by the pyramid investment schemes, but it is first of all, a political and social crisis and then an economic and financial one. Fino stressed that there is no civil war, ethnic or relegious war in Albania.
Fino told his Greek counterpart of the tasks and needs of the Albanian government to restore public order, to overcome the profound economic crisis and to prepare the elections for June this year. Mr Fino asked the Greek Government more support for the Greek investments in Albania and guaranteed him that his government would back up any solution to facilitate the damage of the Greek investors in the recent time in Albania. Stressing the warm and friendly climate characterizing Albania and Greece, Fino said that a gradual legalization of Albanian emigrants in Greece would be very welcomed.
Greek Premier Simitis stressed once more an allround backing of the friendly Greece for the Albanian people in these difficult days and the assistance that his government would give in the bilateral context and in the framework of EU and OSCE. He pointed out the last preparations being underway for the food, humanitarian and medical assistance to Albania and invited the ministers of economy of the two countries to discuss the necessary modalities of a 80 million USD credit that his country would give to Albania, stressing that this country needs long-term economic aid by international financial institutions.
"Albania," said the Greek Premier, "is going towards a political resolution, which is decisive for the continuation of the economic and financial aid." Mr Simitis also offered the possibility of exchanging of experience in the preparation of the eleciton law and for the qualification of the people and the functioning of the institutions which would prepare the polls.
A reconfimation for assistance and for coming out of the crisis for Albania, Mr Fino also received in the meeting with the Greek President, Stefanopoullos.
In the first evening to Greece, Mr Fino also had a meeting with a great number of representatives of the Albanian emigrants in Greece in the hall of the Polytechnical school of Athens.
During the next morning in Greece, Premier Fino met with two groups of Greek investors in Albania, who expressed to him their readiness to resume work in this country. Fino assured them of his cabinet's support.
In the Greek Foreign Ministry, Albanian Premier had a very important meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister, Pangallos, the special envoy of the current OSCE President, Franz Vranitzsky and the Foreign Minister Van Mierlo of Holland in the capacity of the rotating EU presidency. In this meeting, Fino pointed out the commitment of his government to restore public order, the work for the preparation of the election law and the polls which would be conducted in June.
Regarding the multinational defence force, Fino highlighted the need of its coming to Albania as soon as possible along with the humanitarian aid.
In a news conference right after the meeting, Mr Vranitzsky explained the three main pillars of the objectives which have to do with the ensurance of peace and tranquillity in Albania: first, the support, the economic and humanitarian aid, to be realised by EU; second, ensurance of the democratic life .
"None of these pillars can stand on their own. Unless public order is restored, we cannot hold elections like in every democratic country," Vranitzky said.
Vranitzky stressed that "we will rely our performance on dialogue with various groupings in Albania which the government and prime minister consider necessary for attaining success."
"We are conveying a message to the Albanian people and the European public opinion that we have made very significant steps ahead in today's meeting," Vranitzky said at the end of the news conference.
While the EU representative, Van Mierlo, said that it is not only money that poses a problem for Albania but also the security of the people's lives, and for this we must act quickly.
"Today I am glad for having succeeded in building the framework of cooperation among the OSCE, EU and CE," said Mierlo.
"Some time ago we asked President Berisha the creation of a broad-based coalition and he did this, an effort which was not easy at that time. Berisha did what we asked him to do and we are glad to cooperate with this government. This is the authority, the government, in which the presidential authority is as well represented. There is no doubt we will continue to work with the Albanian government and the prime minister will be the one we will talk with," Mierlo added.
After this important meeting, Prime Minister Fino and Interior Minister Celo met the Greek Minister of Public Order, Romeos.
During the meeting they discussed Greek assistance for the Albanian public order forces which is ready to arrive in Albania.
Likewise, the Albanian Finance Minister Malaj met his counterpart, minister of National Economy Baltaz. They discussed among other things Greek economic aid to recover the Albanian economy and the modalities of the USD 80 million worth of credit.
The Albanian minister of Industry, Transport and Trade, Foto Dhuka, met with the Greek Minister of Development, Mrs. Papandreou./JZ/XH/LM/
The confiscation of arms, ammunition and other materials was an operation undertaken by the Albanian police in uniforms, as part of their duty to protect the U.S. diplomats and the diplomatic properties.
According to police reports, the police was successful in finding and confiscating weapons from the zone round the U.S. Embassy seat.
The U.S. Embassy also wants to report that although during the past weeks the fire of arms has also reached the U.S. Embassy seat, we have no facts to draw the conclusion that the diplomatic headquarters, properties or any of our employees have been specifically aimed at by Albanian citizens who have open fire in the vicinity of our premises, ends the report of the U.S. Embassy in Tirane. ake/xh/