One of the main issues of the March 9 agreement for the national reconciliation government is that the parliamentary elections be held within June and the Government of National Reconciliation restores at this time frame the constitutional order in Albania, creating the conditions for elections.
"We cannot speak of free and fair elections for towns where the power is held by rebel committees, like Vlore, Tepelene and some others," Pollo said regarding a question on the elections deadline.
Pollo said that the DP has had reserves on the so-called Committees for Public Salvation and has asked the government to clarify what has been done in meeting the mandate it has undertaken, to what extent has the constitutional order been restored and what are the preparations to enable the holding of elections within the time frame envisaged in the agreement.
"The current law for holding the elections in the coming months is not an obstacle, Pollo said.
As regards the holding of a referendum on the form of governing, Pollo said that the demand of the Legality Movement Party for a referendum to define the form of governing-Republic or Monarchy, had been accepted by the President of the Republic, backed by the Democratic Party. rf/kei/lm/e
"During the operation the rapid intervention forces succeeded in intercepting three "IFA' and "IVEKO" type vehicles, packed with automatic weapons, machine guns and various guns, grenade-launchers as well as a considerable amount of weaponry," the spokesman of the Public Order Ministry, Ndreke Gjini, reports.
All this amount of weapons has been intercepted during controls exercised these military forces in various citizens' houses.
The town of Gramsh had been turned into an open market of stolen weapons. rf/kei/lm/k
He met the chairman of the Mati district, Kujtim Stana, the mayor of the Burrel town-hall, Jaroslav Alla, and the representative of the district prefecture, Hysen Kuka.
Explaining the aim of his visit, the British ambassador said that it was part of the visits he had undertaken in several districts of the country to closely get to know the situation following the latest turmoil in Albania.
Local government leaders made a presentation of the latest events, which brought about partial ruining of the state-run institutions, social- cultural institutions and schools, damages which amount to some 3.5 million dollars.
During the meeting they also exchanged views on the coming parliamentary elections. a.ke/kei/lm/E
The denunciation is made because of spying the party, manhandling and threatening the PPDSH activists, the MAKPRESSD cites the chairman of this party, Arber Xhaferri, as telling the newspaper "Nova Macedonia".
Xhaferri stressed that "such inspectors rule the political power of the State and comment that that they are Macedonians more important than Kiro Gligorov and Branko Cervenkovski and that they protect Macedonia against us".
The penal denunciation is made after a letter addressed to the Macedonian prime minister through which Xhaferri informs that Interior Ministry individuals pursue party activists, catch them on the streets and question them to learn "Who does Arber Xhaferri meets with, does he go to Kosove, does he meet Ibrahim Rugova" and other questions. p.ta/eva/lm/k
After the first greetings, the meeting continued behind closed doors.
During his stay to Albania Vranitzky will meet President Sali Berisha and other senior Albanian officials. s.sh/kei/lm/k
"No one can deny this right to a population of two million Albanians living in Kosova," said Tritan Shehu responding to a question regarding the statements in Strasbourg of Socialist Party chairman Fatos Nano, who expressed himself in favour of "a Kosova autonomy".
"We favour a dialogue between Prishtine and Belgrade, in the presence of a third party, and are absolutely against tendencies for changing borders by force," said Shehu.
Through a referendum the Kosova people expressed themselves for independence from Serbia. Albanian-Serb talks were held in New York last week on the Kosova issue, with the participation as observers of U.S. officials. The platform for an independent and neutral Kosova, with all the international guarantees for the Serbs of Kosova, was presented during the talks. kei/lm/k
"This aid comes through the Coordinating Council from Kuwait and this first contingent is worth 120 000 dollars," Mehdi Alimehmeti, vice-director of the University Hospital centre says.
These medical supply, destined especially for the Tirana University Hospital centre, was shipped free of charge via Istanbul through the airline association "Albania Airlines". eva/lm/E
The Turkish delegation showed interest in the Albanian legislation, the electoral law, the way of preparing the Constitution and the amnesty law.
Ngjela spoke of the measures underway to put into operation the system of justice.
"One among the immediate measures of the Government of National Reconciliation is to work for a correct law on elections," Ngjela said.
As regards the Constitution, Ngjela said that the new Constitution should be a contemporary constitution.
The Turkish delegation expressed readiness to help Albania. s.sh/kei/lm/E
According to the town hospital sources four of them are in a critical condition.
Witnesses explain that they could not specify whether the cause of the blast was some mine stepped on in the cemetery or some bomb thrown deliberately.
Also, during the past 24 hours, another 27-year-old citizen lost his life due to uncontrolled use of fire weapons. eva/lm/e
Xhakoni, 45, is a jurist and DP representative. He was previously deputy mayor of the Vore town-hall. lm/E
The paper carries a DP statement under the title:"Positions threatening neutrality of Vrantizky mission" and covers the meeting of Albanian President Sali Berisha with the chairman of the Turkish Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission.
The paper also carries the article : "Operation 'Alba' starts in Albania, stressing that "four ships, 1200 French, Italian and Spanish troops, helicopters and armoured vehicles arrive in Durres".
Zeri i Popullit carries the news on the beginning of the Alba operation and says that Italian Defence Minister Andreatta has also come to Durres to inspect the beginning of the multinational force disembarkation.
The paper says that the President of the European Bank for Development, Jacques de Larosiere, has stated at the annual meeting of Bank Governors: "Official Tirana has ignored calls for stopping pyramid schemes". The paper also carries an interview of Albanian Minister of Finances Arben Malaj.
Republika says: "Government coalition threatened by DP". The paper carries the editorial :"The June of elections or quarrels".
As regards the start of the Alba mission in Albania, the paper says:"Durres welcomes peacekeepers".
The paper cites the chairman of the Republican Party, Sabri Godo, as saying that "RP is against postponement of the June elections".
As regards the news conference of DP secretary Tritan Shehu, the paper cites the newly elected DP Secretary General, Genc Pollo: "There can be no free elections with armed committees".
Rilindja says:"'Alba' lands in Albanian Adriatic coast".
As regards the situation in Albania, the paper says: "Arms in the hands of people - of daily tragic consequences".
Under the headline:"The world and the Albanian crisis", the paper says: "Vranitzky and Grubmayr in Albania today". The paper carries an open letter of protest that Luljeta Pula Beqiri has sent to John Kornblum on behalf of the Kosova Social-Democratic party which says. "Your suggestion is a denial to the Albanian people's will".
The letter comes after a statement of the U.S. assistant secretary of State, Kornblum, that "The solution to the Kosova issue should be searched inside Serbia".
Albania carries the editorial "Vranitzky is stepping onto a mined field", regarding the mission of the OSCE envoy to Albania.
The paper says that: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan hails the multinational mission to Albania."
The paper carries an interview with the former SP deputy chairman, Servet Pellumbi, under the title:"Nano, SP chairman, has something from the Enver Hoxha identity".
The paper carries the news conference of the DP secretariat entitled:"Opposition encouraged Stalinist rebellion".
Koha Jone covers the meeting of U.S. ambassador, Marisa Lino, withe Prime Minister Fino, under the title: "The U.S.: no changes to government". The paper covers the arrival in Albania of the multinational forces. The paper carries an interview with Arben Imami, Secretary General of the Democratic Alliance party under the title:
"The Fino government is walking on a mined field". The paper says that "The Vlore district council is preparing the lists to help the families affected by the collapse of the Gjallica company".
On the economic page, under the title:"Vefa: bonds instead of money", the paper carries an announcement of the Transparency Commission addressed to parliament regarding the Vefa Company activity.
Dita reports on the first page that ex-president Ramiz Alia has left for France. On the fourth page, under the title: "DP activists have mobilised themselves in defence of democracy". The paper carries an interview with Shaban Memia, DP secretary for Tirana. The paper says that "Vefa" starts distributing money".
In the feature "Actuality" the paper says that "Shkoder is in search of tranquility".
Gazeta Shqiptare covers the arrival in Albania of the multinational force mission.
The paper covers yesterday's news conference of the democrat leader, Tritan Shehu, under the title:"The disarmament of the South and then elections". "Vranitzky returns to Tirana. Blitz visit to Shkoder and Vlore" the paper says on the front page. The paper says on the second page that: "The Fino government hails beginning of multinational mission". kei/eva/lm/E
Four armoured vehicles started immediately patrolling the main streets along with controls by traffic police.
The coming of special forces in Shkoder has been welcomed by all the inhabitants of that city.
A number of serious incidents have recently occurred in Shkoder. Two surgeons were wounded, one of whom died, a policeman was killed and another injured.
Police checking points in search of arms have been set up in the key road leading to the city and in its main quarters.ssh/xh/k
There are 8 stars in the blue field of the flag, which represent the countries participating in this force. With the hoisting of the flag it is marked the beginning of the operations of these forces in Albania.
In this Center are expected to come the representatives of all the multinational force, which will made up the headquarters of this force in Albania, from where orders will be issued and the organization of the movements of the foreign soldiers will be done in the whole territory of the country, a military spokesman reports.
Some 300 soldiers are thought to be installed in the Academy of Lieutenant Officers, of whom the Italian ones have already arrived.
The soldiers are working for the logistic systematization and are trying to familiarize with the terrain. In the vicinity of this Academy there is also a small aerodrome which will be used for the airplanes of this forces./kei/mt/sh/
In the slogans of the demonstrator were written "Vranitzky, stay neutral", as well as slogans warning "OSCE not to talk with the mafia groups".
These requests were addressed to Vranitzky, who has planned to go to Vlore on Thursday and is expected to meet with the Committee of Salvation in this town.
The demonstrators dispersed peacefully./kled/mt/sh/
"We had an extensive talk with Albanian Prime Minister and the main questions we discussed were first, the government's cooperation with the Multinational Forces, and we all came with the best intentions to support Albania, second, the holding of elections within this year, of which Albanian Premier assured us that would be held by the end of June.
The members of the OSCE delegation agreed with Premier Fino that the end of June would be the latest deadline for the elections and many praparations would be made, such as the electoral law, third, we discussed the political dialogue in Albania and considered as a good result its extension among various political forces, as well as with various groups and committees in the country. The discussion among various groups to give a solution is a good signal for everyone, and not only in Albania but also in entire Europe," said in an interview with ATA Mr Vranitzsky.
Albanian Premier Bashkim Fino expressed, after the meeting, his support for the realisation of the three questions they had discussed in the meeting and voiced his confidence in the stabilization of the country and added that with the all-sided support of the OSCE, the elections would be held within June. One of the main points in the meeting was the dialogue that the Prime Minister is havig with the 10 political forces which form the present government.
"Important is the consensus found among these forces, for instance, on the electoral law and on other issues. I have asked Mr Vranitzsky," said Mr Fino, "to hold bilateral meetings also with DP and SP, which he agreed, because this would also serve even more the spirit of understanding."
"If we have no full consensus between these 10 political forces on these matters, then the work of the government would be endangered," said Mr Fino.
Concerning a declaration made some days ago by the OSCE spokeswoman, according to which "the multinational forces will also deal with the handing in of arms by population," Mr Fino said that they had also discussed this question in today's meeting.
"In fact, the Multinational Forces," said Fino, "will implement the Resolution 1101 of the U.N. Security Council and these forces have not come to carry out this function."
Fino said they had discussed in the meeting the course of elections to be held in June at a time when the people are armed and their disarmament is a rather difficult process and needs time to be realised. xh/sh/
Talking about the difficult situation of Albania, Arbnori said that "we are in front of a coup d'etat, organized by the communists, mafia and people who do not want tranquillity in Albania". "The democratic fight does not come from the barrel, said Arbnori. The main problem today is whether we will have a democratic government or a government which will be set up through violence".
Arbnori stressed that the Democratic Party respects the legal institutions and in this direction he found the support of Leka I.
They both considered historic the accord of March 9 between President Berisha and the political parties.
Leka I said that there will be good developments for Albania from this table. He expressed the readiness to give his complete support for the all-round development of Albania, so that it moves towards democracy. Arbnori and Leka I talked on the possibility of a people's referendum on the form of regime.
Leka I appreciated the achievements of Albania after a 50-year dictatorship, such as the freedom of speech and movement, the establishment of pluralism with parties of a wide political spectrum, the political and economic developments of Albania, as well as her opening towards the international community.
Arbnori estimated the role of the LMP, as an old right nationalist party.
In the meeting was also discussed the problem of the national question. With regard to the Kosova issue, said Arbnori, we have always favoured the respect for the Principles of Helsinki not to change the borders through violence and at the same time open towards the protection of the legal rights of the Kosova Albanians and all the other Albanians outside Albania. Regarding the problem of Kosova, they considered unfair the fate of Albanians outside the borders of Albania./pas/mt/sh/
People from the hotel shot back against these armed persons, sources form the Vlore commissariat report. Several of the guests in the hotel were Italian and Japanese journalists. No one is reported killed or injured so far. /a.ke/kled/mt/sh/
Based on the law of the People Assembly No. 8195, dated 03.05.1997 "On some measures taken in the context of the state of emergency", Çelo ordered the defence staffs in districts to open the schools in accordance with the level of the public order restoration in town halls and communes.
The deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Jetmir Kapedani, said that the Ministry of Education is prepared for the beginning of the teaching process on April 21 in the elementary schools, 8-year schools and high schools.
The teaching process in universities will start on April 28.
"Within the first two weeks of May, the teaching process will begin in all the universities of Albania," said the Minister of High Education, Myqerem Faja./rf/kled/mt/sh/
The talks were considered by both sides as very valuable, fruitful and indispensable for the construction of the strategy of cooperation for the stabilization of the situation, fruitful cooperation with multinational forces, successful delivery of humanitarian aid and especially for the realisation of successful earlier free and fair parliamentary elections.
Mr Vranitzky arrived to Albania today on a two-day-visit during which he is expected to also visit Vlore and Shkoder. He is making this visit accompanied by a team of personalities and specialists representing the OSCE, the European Union and the Council of Europe. Members of the delegation also are Herbert Grubmajer, representative of Vranitzky for Albania, already charged with the task of being an OSCE coordinator for Albania.
During the meting with Mr Vranitzky and his team, Albanian Premier Bashkim Fino made a panorama of the one-month work of the National Reconciliation Government, pointing out the successes and the problems that have emerged. He spoke about the restitution of the public security and the objective and subjective difficulties the government is facing, the organization of the work for the coordination of operations with the multinational forces in the distribution of humanitarian and other aid of emergence and the role that these forces may play to improve the situation in general.
Premier Fino focused especially on the relations of the Albanian Government with the political parties and in this context, on the preparations going on for the coming elections, which Premier Fino considered as the completion of the mandate of the National Reconciliation Government. He presented and discussed with the OSCE special envoy all the complexity of the work for the creation of the infrastructure of the election and the creation of the conditions so that the polls be free, fair and peaceful.
In this aspect, Albanian Prime Minister insisted that the elections be realised within the deadline set in the March 9 agreement. Their postponement, said Mr Fino, would only complicate the situation.
Premier Fino stressed the open work of the government, the cooperation with the Agreement of March 9 signing political forces which wish Albania's coming out of the crisis and its stability.
Mr Vranitzky agreed on the strategy followed by Albanian premier and his cabinet in the realisation of the program decided and approved by the Albanian Parliament. He underlined on this occasion the importance of the cooperation with international organizations and that this cooperation must be based on the democratic principles of dialogue.
Mr Vranitzky reiterated the importance that OSCE attaches to the realisation of the objectives of the National Reconciliation Government, that the preparations for the fresh elections must be realised through an extension of the political dialogue and that OSCE will cooperate in the review of the electoral law. He assured that the elections would be held with the assistance of international organizations, beginning with OSCE, up to the Council of Europe. It is very important to hold the elections, but it is even more important on what principles they will be held, said Mr Vranitzky.
Mr Vranizky also had a separate meeting with the Minister of Justice, Spartak Ngjela, Interior Minister Belul Celo, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Haxhi Aliko, with the State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, Pavli Zeri and the State Secretary for Defence, Ali Kazazi. They exchanged opinions on the concrete situation in the fields they direct and on the possibilities to coordinate the work between OSCE, EU and CE. ake/kled/xh/sh/
During the stay in Turkey, the military delegation held official talks with his Turkish counterpart, Turhan Tajan and held special meetings with president Demirel, with the Chief of the Army General Staff, general Karadei, and the deputy State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, Ali Tujgan.
Vukaj said that there have not been and will never be civil war in Albania for any kind of regional, religious or party motives. Further on, he stressed the high level of cooperation in the military field between our countries and its further development in the future. In the meeting was also stressed that the multinational forces, and in this context, the Turkish ones, are welcomed in Albania. The Albanian People, the Government of National Reconciliation and the political parties support them.
The senior personalities of Turkey showed special interest on the developments in Albania. President Demirel said that crisis should be solved by the people themselves and the political parties of Albania, excluding any intervention in the interior affairs by anyone . He appreciated the establishment of the National Reconciliation Government as the most suitable solution, as well as the conduct of the free elections in June this year. Turkey will support the legal government voted in these elections, he said.
General Karadei was categoric in saying that the army should never and in no circumstances be politicized, and such things should be never repeated in Albania. He promised all-round aid for the Albanian Army.
The Defence Minister, Tajan, talked about the importance that Turkey gives to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Albania. He spoke on the importance of the establishment of the non- politicized armed forces, as well as on the aid that Turkey will give to them, apart from the fact that which party will win in the June elections.
The Deputy State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry stressed that we support the dispatch of the multinational force in Albania. We are interested in the stability and normalization of the situation, he said. The aid will immediately start. He stressed that Albania should solve her problems herself. Tugjan was optimist for a visit of Albanian Premier Fino in Ankara soon. /a.ke/kled/mt/sh/
"Our main aim is the realisation of free and fair elections envisaged to be held in June, but actually they are being prevented by the existence of some committees. This is also one of the demands signed by the political parties in the March 9 round table discussion, in which the left wing parties promised for a neutralization of these committees within three days, " said Shehu.
Mr Vranitzky said that "his aim was the creation of all democratic conditions for a free and open democratic process without obstacles for any of the political forces."
Expressing his thanks for the OSCE mission and commitment and the readiness and full engagement of DP to closely cooperate with OSCE and the multinational forces for the restoration of order and peace, Mr Shehu told Mr Vranitzky that "the success of this mission would be guaranteed first of all by his unbiased stand."
"Important is the cooperation with legal local institutions both in the centre and in the districts," said Shehu, "dismissing as illegal the so- called salvation committees, which not only prevent the restoration of order, but at the same time do not allow all the political parties to carry out a democratic electoral campaign."
Concerning the meeting that the OSCE envoy had with some representatives of these committees in March on an Italian warship, Mr Shehu said to Mr Vranitzky that "your meeting with members of these committees was interpreted by some people as a political credo for them, stimulating them for further illegal acts which run counter to every democratic concept."
Mr Vranitzky stressed that his only negotiators are the government, the President of the Republic and the legal, central and local government, with which he is cooperating for the stabilization of the situation, by maintaining the neutrality of his mission.
The meeting also discussed other aspects of the Albania-OSCE cooperation. kled/xh/sh/
The troops were accompanied by three other military aircraft, which transported vehicles and equipment. The "Samos" ship sailed in the afternoon with another 130 troops from the port of Salonika. It is also carrying tanks, transport means and other equipment.
The Greek contingent will totally include 760 troops and will have at the disposal 90 vehicles of different kinds, 13 armoured vehicles and three or four cars. /kled/mt/sh/
"I am convinced that the Albanians, who extended a friendly welcome to these missions," said Mr Berisha, "will be deeply grateful to these friendly countries for their contribution to the peace and stability in Albania.
"I also have the pleasure," said President Berisha, "that through serious efforts of the Govcernment, the Parliament and state and local institutions in general there is a gradual improvement of the public order and tranquillity.
The March 9 Agreement and the National Reconciliation Government are a whole attribution of the political forces in Albania, and the efforts not to respect them from inside and outside the country are destabilizing. In this contest," said Berisha further on, "I would like to say that the March 9 Agreement considers the free elections as basic elements for a solution to the crisis. But the main obstacle for and the greatest threat to the National Reconciliation Government in this direction are the the southern rebels committees which consist of Enver's advocates, mafia and family members of the present opposition leaders, traffickers along with their internal and external support.
On March 9, 1997, socialist leaders and their allies promised me that within three days they would dissolve these groups, while 20 days later during which these groups had used tanks and stormed 11 banks, scores of factories, shops, hotels, had killed innocent people and policemen, on March 28, Albanian socialists declared an open alliance with these committees and asked the government that they are leading to consider these committees as party in talks. This means," continued Berisha, "to apply two tactics of Lenin, at a time when the Albanians are resolute only for free elections.
We are determined to closely cooperate for free and fair elections and have asked the Council of Europe to play the key role in this process."
"Another very serious obstacle for the free elections," said President Berisha, "is the full transparency regarding the pyramid investment funds. We have asked the assistance of the Italian Government, we shall also ask the help of other governments and international institutions in order that the Albanians come to know everything on pyramid schemes and that the political forces do not speculate with this policy in the future.
Former Chancellor Vranitzky confirmed once more that there exists a serious commitment by the European Union and OSCE member countries and all efforts are underway so that the mission of the Multinational Forces in Albania be completed with full success. "I am resolute," said Mr Vranitzky, "that through the mandates I have to support and cooperate with you, with the Albanian Government and authorities for the accomplishment of our mission. We also are here to assist you in the preparation and the holding of the coming elections with our expertise and experts."
Mr Vranitzky showed understanding with regard to the hindrances preventing the creation of the climate needed for free and fair elections and backed up the request of President Berisha for the assistance of international experts to clarify the issue of pyramid investment schemes in Albania. He also took interest and appreciated the initiative of President Berisha to make the country with Constitution. lgj/xh
President Demirel informed President Berisha that with the deployment of the multinational forces in Albania, Turkey has decided to send to Albania immediately a considerable amount of aid to help this country overcome the situation.
The two presidents stressed the very great importance of the free elections. After thanking President Demirel for the support that Turkey has given and is giving to Albania, President Berisha assured his Turkish counterpart that he was resolute to make all efforts for free and fair elections in the earliest possible time, but he stressed that the main obstacle in this direction were the Enverist-mafia armed rebels' groups, with which the Socialist Party signed an open alliance on March 28, 1997 and which were blocking the activity of the National Reconciliation Government in some southern districts. ake/xh/k