After an operation for gathering the weapons, these forces were attacked by armed groups of people in one of the quarters in the outskirts of Gramsh and drew back towards Korce.
The confrontation, which took the dimensions of a war, according to the testimonies of the policemen of the district commissariat (almost unexistent), happened in the center of the town, near the hospital and continued for about half an hour.
Some 100 civil armed persons, some of them members of the committees, along with the machine guns, also used bombs and other kinds of heavy weapons.
Some vehicles of the police commissariat from Elbasan came to help the special forces. They transported 11 persons of these forces, one of them was injured.
The special police forces came to Gramsh upon the continuous request of the police commissariat of the district, local government bodies, as well as of the citizens to restore order and tranquillity. The situation in Gramsh continues continues to be tense. /s.sh/kled/mt/k
TIRANA, MAY 10 (ATA) - The League of the Journalists of Albania protested Friday near the Albanian authorities, because on Friday morning, armed gangs in the town of Berat beat one of the newsman of the town and torched all the copies of Albania and Rilindja Demokratike papers.
The armed committees in Southern Albania accept for months only the papers of the left extreme.
"The integrity of Albania can be not assured, if the free circulation of press is not provided," says the protest of the Journalists' League of Albania. It also stresses that the government has taken no measures, and what is more, it is not pronounced with regard to this problem. /kled/mt/k
The delegation is made up of the Foreign Minister, Arjan Starova, the Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj and the Minister of Justice, Spartak Ngjela, as well as the Secretary of the Council of Ministers, Ekerem Kastrati.
Fino is invited in USA by the U.S. State Secretary, Madeleine Albright.
Before going to USA, Fino will stop off in Rome to meet with the Italian Premier, Romano Prodi and the Foreign Minister, Lamberto Dini. /kei/mt/k
Andreatta will hold meetings with the Albanian Defence Minister, Shaqir Vukaj and will also pay a visit to the Gneral Staff of the Multinational Force of "Alba" mission. /kei/mt/k
The draft-law, presented by the Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj, became object of a severe parliamentary debate in the two sessions of the People's Assembly.
The article no. 6 of this draft-law, which says that "object of the control, according to the provisions of this law, are not the juridical and physical persons, who are under penal procedure, accused of exercising their activity on the basis of the pyramid schemes", excluded from the control the collapsed pyramid investment schemes "Populli", "Xhaferri" and "Gjallica".
In his speech, the Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj, said that "their control by state bodies is not necessary, because they are not object of the state investigation". This was supported by the socialist deputies.
The law envisages that the companies and the juridical persons, not banking ones, who have taken money from the public, be object of the control from a group of financial experts, Albanian or foreign.
According to the law, there are envisaged the appointment of a supervisor and independent financial experts to control the documents, the books of the company, and their contracts.
The chairman of the SP parliamentary group, Namik Dokle, supporting the draft-law, presented by the Ministry of Finances, asked the prosecutor's office to give explanations on the control done in the collapsed companies, while the group of experts that will be set up to start the control on the existing companies.
The chairman of the DP parliamentary group, Ali Spahia, by appreciating the importance of the draft-law, asked to throw light on those who organized, conceived and managed the pyramid investment schemes and exploited the calamity of people for political aims.
The draft-law, presented by the Ministry of Finances, was approved on principle and then article by article with the remarks of the commissions of economy and law of the People's Assembly. /kei/mt/k
The child said that he was joking with it, without understanding that its explosion could cause victims among the pupils.
This is the first case when grenades are found in schools, and the policemen should be more attentive so that nothing happens in schools, reopened after an interruption of two months. /a.ke/kei/mt/e
Sources of the Vlore Police Commissariat report that a group of unidentified persons have shot by machine guns two or three vehicles which were turning back in the town, and due to incident Shefit Sadiku, 35, Turhan Qamili, 40, Engjell, 30, Sokol Zeneli, 24 and Erion Zoto, 14, 14, all inhabitants of Vlore, have been gravely injured.
It is reported that Erion Zoto died Saturday morning in the hospital.
Due to the control of the police forces, Bernard Duckaj, 27, inhabitant of Vlore, was found torched within the vehicle of type "Golf". /kei/mt/E
Yesterday by midday 1 USD on the currency market in Tirana was bought at 153.5 lek, and was sold at 160. The National Commercial Bank opened the currency market on Friday with 1 USD = 150 lek at buying and 153.5 at selling. The devaluation of lek is obviously seen, compared with the beginning of this year where 1 USD was bought at 50 lek cheaper than the current exchange rate.
Currency buying selling
US $ 1 150 153.5 Mark 1 88.5 91.5 Lira (1000) 88.5 91.5 Drachmas(100) 53.7 58
"First I want to express my special pleasure for the official visit to the U.S. of an Albanian Government delegation which I have the honour to lead. During this visit, which is welcomed by all, I will have many important contacts with the senior U.S. Administration, with congressmen and senators, senior representatives of the policy, economy, business etc, as well as with IMF and the World Bank leaders.
As a prime minister of a government which represents 10 main political forces, I have the honour and moral obligation to express to the honoured U.S. Administration our most sincere thanks for its continuous support for Albania. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to voice in particular the high estimation for the understanding and solidarity of the U.S. Administration of President Clinton for the National Reconciliation Government of Albania.
The messages and concrete acts of the U.S. have an essential influence in the easing of the situation, restitution of the normal, democratic order and the revival of hope for the political, economic, moral and institutional reconstruction of our country.
In the official talks, I will discuss the present political, economic and social situation of Albania, the problems and the roads to solve them so that Albania continues its road of democracy, the construction of the rule of law and the market economy.
The delegation will confirm the will of the Government for the realisation of fresh, free, democratic and fair elections. I notice with pleasure that this will does also fully conincide with the official position of the U.S., something which encourages me to ask the assistance of the U.S. Administration for a successful accomplishment of the new electoral process.
This is of a great importance because the preparation of the necessary premises and the holding of the earlier elections are the only optimal road to overcome the Albanian all-sided crisis. It opens the way to the restitution of a genuine economic, social and institutional stability in the future.
Therefore, I can say that the signing of the Political Contract between the 10 Albanian political parties finalized the joint will and efforts for the realisation of the decisive objective.
We voice the conviction that along with other concerned states and organizations, the U.S. will make its contribution through its distinguished expertise during all the electoral process in Albania.
There is no doubt that this will bring about the positive consequence in the realiability and transperence of the elections.
In conclusion, I would like to stress my full conviction that this visit to the U.S. will justify our expectations and demands."xh/sh/
Sources of the Tirana Police Department report that the murder was the result of a quarrel between an employee of the club and another person, who shot on the citizen Artur Gezim Mulleti, 27; he died later in the hospital. /kled/mt/k
The motives of crimes are not known yet. /mt/k
1223 refugees left for Italy last Sunday by "Irini" ship, from Velipoje. The return of some 70 refugees (men) by the Italian authorities, became question of the day for the Albanian authorities, because the refugees, brought back home, asked not to be separated from their wives and children, who had remained in Italy. /eva/mt/sh/
The commune chairman, Dede Deda said that after the explosion of the mines, some peasants in Kolsh are having headaches, lip splitting, difficulties in swallowing, reduction of milk quantity and abortions in the livestock.
"But psychological effects are greater than the damage caused in 81 homes and the wounding of 8 people," he said.
The first analyses by the experts team show that the water can be used by the people without problems.
The prefect of Lezha, Sadedin Balla said on Saturday that "proceding from the concerns by inhabitants of Kolsh, we have demanded that a group of experts of the Defence Ministry go to determine the level of radioactivity and pollution of the region, in order to adopt the proper measures, perhaps even the evacuation of some families if need be."
As a result of an army depot explosion in the village Kolsh, about 4 km from Lezha town, on April 24 in the evening, 8 people were wounded and a considerable number of houses was damaged. kei/xh
"The Right Wing members: To stop together the return of communists on power", is another article published by the paper.
"SP betrays the Committees," reports the paper on the third page. "SP, at least formally, declared Friday the public divorce with its armed wing, but meanwhile it is still to be verified whether such a distance will become a reality," reports the paper.
The anti-communist forces in Albania hope that the presence and engagement of USA for the solution of the crisis should take the concrete institutional shape," reports RD under the title "USA: The persons who destabilized Albania should be not tolerated." "The U.S. State Department expresses the delight for the agreement reached among the political forces in Albania," reports the paper.
"The political contract - successful step of Vranitzky in Albania," reports Zeri i Popullit, under the title "The elections before the end of June".
The paper carries a pronouncement of the socialist leader Fatos Nano, after signing the agreement. On the second page the paper publishes an interview with the deputy Socialist Speaker of the Parliament, Hamit Gjoni under the title "Efforts for the manipulation of an adventure with consequences." "In Southern districts functions the local government, which has the main role in organizing the elections," underlines the interview.
The Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj, presents in Parliament the draft-law on the transparency of the loan-taking companies under the title "Transparency, so that Albania is helped".
Under the title "Gramsh again in revolt", the paper reports that the special forces of police sent from Tirana provoke the people".
"The proposal of Berisha accompanied with bombs" is the editorial of Republika paper. "UDB and MAFIA play with SHIK" reports the paper on the first page.
"Out of the four times I have come to Albania, this is the first time when a real agreement is reached. The political parties understood that they would feel responsible towards the generations, if they would not understand each-other," the paper quotes the former Austrian chancellor, Franz Vranitzky, under the title "Vranitzky: The best agreement reached so far". "DP excluded from the Right Wing", is another article published by the paper.
Rilindja paper, with regard to the news conference of Vranitzky, carries the article "The new political consensus of the parties". Under the title "Intensification of Serbian violence on the Albanians", the paper carries a report on the Violation of the Human Rights and Freedoms.
"Parliamentary and presidential elections postponed until December 24", reports the paper and underlines that this decision of chairman Rugova was not reached by the consensus of all the political parties, represented in parliament.
Newspaper Albania writes: "Vranitzky declares the agreement of the ten parties: elections within June, without committees. All the political forces have agreed to accept the poll outcome." The paper also carries an editorial entitled "The right wing signs the contract of the victory." The paper makes coverage of the interpellation of the Finance Minister, Arben Malaj, citing him to have said that "We cannot ask for the lost money." "Five right wing parties were committed yesterday to a prior to and after electoral cooperation and to co-governing, considering it as the only road to prevent any possibility for the return to power of the communists," writes the paper under the title "The right wing prepares for coalition."
"June, elections by contract," writes Koha Jone. The paper entitles its editorial "Vranitzky contract." "The political parties, participants in the round table mark another step on the difficult road towards the normalization of the local situation," says the editorial. "The con sequences of the Albanian tragedy published for the first time," writes the newspaper stressing that the toll of the anti-pyramid schemes protests is 1 200 killed and 6 000 wounded.
The newspaper carries pronunciations of the Interior Minister Belul Celo and the State Secretary in that Ministry Lush Perpali under the title "The Salvation Committee." "Serious threat," names them Mr Celo and a "serious concoction" is the name by Perpali.
"Our misery getting cheaper," is the title of an editorial in Dita. "Vranitzky: In elections on our conditions," writes this paper regarding the signing of the political contract among the parties.
"The capital in the terror of bombs yesterday," writes the paper with regard to an explosion which blasted in the Soros Foundation offices.
Under the title "Personal orders of Celo make the situation tenser," the paper carries an interview with the "socialist high official in the Interior Ministry, Lush Perpali."
"Vranitzky leaves, battle for the law," writes Gazeta Shqiptare. "The OSCE ultimatum: the parties get convinced and sign," writes the newspaper.
"According to the agreement of all the parties, the committees should dissolve 46 days before the election day," writes the paper. "The government cannot continue to govern if the law is not accepted," cites this paper the socialist leader Fatos Nano in an interview.
"Gramsh, special troops brought down by armed civilians," writes the newspaper. kled/mt/xh
"We are ready to go to Shkodra and farther in the North, moreover, the Romanian troops have been installed in Gjirokaster and will spread even farther in the south," said Forlani.
The full deployment of the forces after the arrival of Forlani in Tirane marked the end of the first stage of the Alba Mission, whose main objective is to secure international emergent aid for Albania.
The multinational force duty is to help facilitate the transport in its main terminals, the ports and airports, to secure the communication roads for the delivery of the humanitarian aid, by guaranteeing the activity of assistance of the humanitarian organizations and safeguarding their headquartes in Tirane.
In the first stage these forces were stationed in the western and southern part of Albania. The second stage includes the gradual extension of the forces to inland areas of the country.
"It is a difficult job, and naturally, the public opinion expects much from us," explained Forlani, "but it takes time."
Regarding the work made so far, General Forlani said that he was pleased with it and they were examining the situation so that to spread the operation farther." kei/xh
The Premier Prodi was accompanied in the meeting by the Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, Interior Minister Giorgio Napolitano, the Minister of Law, Giovanni Maria Flick and the Finance Minister of Italy, Vincenso Visko.
After a tete-a-tete Fino-Prodi meeting, another broader meeting was held with the participation of the Albanian Foreign Minister Arjan Starova, the Minister of Law, Spartak Ngjela, Minister of Finances Arben Malaj and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Ekrem Kastrati.
Italian Premier Romano Prodi voiced first of all his pleasure over the Political Contract reached on May 9, 1997 between Albanian political parties, considering it a success of Albanian democracy which unblocks the approval of the law on elections and their conduct in the set timing.
"This will make possible a concrete Italian-Albanian cooperation in all the fields," said Mr Prodi. In this aspect, he underlined that the group of coordination for the beginning of this cooperation is already formed.
Mr Prodi shared the same opinion with Mr Fino for a broad interpretation of the Resolution 1101 of the U.N. Security Council for the involvement of the Multinational Forces to oversee the electoral process in Albania.
They also talked on the question of the work to start for the preparation of the international Conference on Albania, initiated by Italy.
They decided that a senior official meeting be held within May 26, 1997 and the Ministers' Conference be conducted prior to elections regarding a sort of Marshall Plan which has the support of the U.S. and of international financial organizations.
Prodi and Fino also talked on the assistance that Italy has decided to provide for the consolidtion of the force of order in Albania and the beginning of this plan by the next week.
They also discussed the issue of exodus, and Premier Prodi and Interior Minister Napolitano focused on the efforts for the clarification of misunderstandings that have emerged with the refugees of the Irini ship. In this context they discussed the preparations to accept seasonal workers from Albania, not including those who have entered Italy illegally.
The Italian Government explained about the work going on to recover the bodies of the victims of the tragedy of Otranto and the personal commitment of Premier Prodi in this issue.
The talks also covered the cooperation in the field of Finances, the Italian concrete assistance for Albania in this direction. As far as the field of law is concerned, deadlines and concrete directions were set for cooperation such as qualification of judiciary people, aid for the improvement of the prisons and concrete aspects of legal cooperation.
Both sides agreed to discuss also the question of fishing boats which are now at Italian coasts.
At the end, the premiers Prodi and Fino spoke before reporters. xh
This was made known at a meeting held today by prefect Tonin Alimehilli with leaders of the district local government and public order.
The huge damages of this institution during the March unrest were repaired through an emergency aid fund, worth 4.5 million leks, provided by the district chamber of commerce and the 1.5 million leks collected by high school teachers and citizens.
Meanwhile some 300 000 dollars are expected to be provided from the Soros Foundation, a fund to be used for securing laboratory equipment and other damaged means. s.sh/jz/lm /Z
Present to receive him at Rinas airport were his Albanian counterpart, Shaqir Vukaj, deputy minister Alfred Moisiu, deputy chief of General Staff, Major-General A. Vincani, and others.
"Your visit coincides with the agreement reached by the ten political parties on the June elections, Vukaj said at the meeting on the occasion.
Based on a platform approved by the government, efforts are being made to reorganise the army as soon as possible, Vukaj said.
Confirming the good proceeding of the multinational operation Alba, Vukaj said that the Multinational Forces were welcomed everywhere by the people and they are deployed as planned.
He also raised the demand that these forces be extended towards the two main axis, especially in the direction of Shkoder and Korce, as well as the demand to secure the airports of Gjadri and Kucove.
Andreatta considered today's visit significant, stressing that the agreement of the political forces would bring about a better situation in building the rule of law in democracy.
In conclusion Vukaj stressed the need of aid and support from Italy in NATO, for a a normal development of the planned activities in the context of the Partnership for Peace Programme with NATO. s.sh/jz/lm/Z
"It is clear that the multinational forces will not be directly engaged in the electoral process, but they will guarantee the protection of the observers and by protecting them, they guarantee the country's protection on an especially delicate day, such as the day of elections," Andreatta told a joint news conference with Albanian Defence Minister, Shaqir Vukaj, today by midday.
He considered this option a contribution "to secure a calm and transparent electoral process" and for this an OSCE mandate was necessary, he said.
Asked of his recent statement that "in case the Fino government fell and the election date was not set, he would ask the withdrawal of the Italian forces," he responded:
"We are here to help with a process of reconstruction of the Albanian state and not to help an unconcludable political process that would lead towards a confrontation on the ground. Therefore I thought to speak clearly," Andreatta said.
Asked whether it would be better that the mandate of the force was that of restoring order, as the needs for humanitarian aid, as it is seen, are small," he said:
First of all, the Albanian government asked us a military force intervention. There is no economic comparison between the cost of a humanitarian operation and the cost of that which is carried out under the protection of the military framework. The U.N. and the countries participating in this mission did not want this operation to have the characteristics of a police operation. Therefore we are helping the Albanian police multilaterally and bilaterally with equipment and training," he said.
Andreatta informed that the first Italian state police prefecture, Finance and Police guards have come to Tirana to engage in this performance.
"In an indirect way the security of humanitarian aid and free movement of the humanitarian supplies has positively affected the Albanian situation, " he said.
Andreatta favoured the widening of the mission in other centres and patrolling of the roads of all the Albanian territory as the first step of restoring order.
To the question: if the elections failed to be held within the mandate, would he recommend the withdrawal of the forces or the widening of their mandate?, he said:
"It it not easy to obtain authorisation from the international authorities and parliaments of all the participating countries to widen the tasks of the force, a thing which would further limit the sovereignty of the Albanian government."
"My statement for withdrawing the forces is linked to a specific reason, the loss on the part of the Albanian politics of the capability of compromise, which would allow all the Albanian political forces to reach an agreement on the elections."
As regards the humanitarian activity of the Multinational Protection Force (MPF) he admitted that the civil organisation of the MPF is daily receiving demands from various parts of Albania and that it has contacts with 50 humanitarian organisations, and besides the aid, it also carries out services.
Andreatta promised aid in equipment and vehicles for the Albanian military forces, as well as assistance in training and logistic support.
Andreatta left Albania on the same day. jz/lm/Z
The district local government representatives an the chairman of this commune, Dede Deda, familiarised the Turkish ambassador with the damages caused by the mine explosion: (seven injured, 14 houses completely destroyed and 67 others suffering considerable damages).
After visiting several of the affected families the eight years school and the commune centre, Okcun promised that the Turkish troops involved in the operation Alba, alongside escorting deliveries from Durres to Lezhe, would also contribute to the recovery of the affected families and social institutions.
Also a team of doctors from Turkey will examine the affected area.
On this occasion the Turkish ambassador, was accompanied by the commander of the Turkish troops, Sulejman Bozkurt, brought relief for the affected 30 families. s.sh/jz/lm/Z
The gunmen, but without masks, robbed almost all the people at this point of their possessions.
They injured a 13-year-old girl from Delvine, who was coming from Greece with her father. She was immediately sent to the Ioannina hospital.
Over 200 people, who were robbed of their possessions, were mainly from Fier and Elbasan.
This has been the first case of robbery of these proportions since the beginning of turmoil in the Gjirokaster district. s.sh/jz/lm