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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 97-05-18
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From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>
Albanian Telegraphic Agency
 CHAIRMAN OF PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY SENDS LETTER TO OSCE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY CHAIRMANTIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - The chairman of the Presidency of the People's Assembly, Pjeter Arbnori send a letter to the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Havier Ruperez, which says:
"Thank you for the confirmation through your letter for the participation of your delegation in the monitoring of the general parliamentary elections in Albania on June 19, 1997. I have the honour to assure you that Albania will have free and fair elections.
This is also ensured by the adoption of the new electoral law, conformed to all srecommendation of OSCE, presented by Mr Vranitzky, and based on the political contract of the 10 parties, signed on May 9, 1997.
On occasion of the general parliamentary elections, many delegations will come to Albania from various international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Assembly and delegations from parliaments of EU member countries and I believe that this will contribute a great deal to the transparence of the electoral process. We will welcome on this occasion also the delegation of the OSCE Assembly and it is in our honor that this delegation be led by you personally." eva/xh/Z/
 DP CONCERNED ABOUT LEFT WING FORCES ATTITUDETIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - The Democratic Party, committed to a correct and equal electoral process, considers with concern the latest attitudes of the left wing forces regarding their participation in the elections, says a declaration of the DPA. To these stands are also added the ultimate threats for an armed march towards Tirana which the committees made in Vlore yesterday.
A meeting was held yesterday by southern committees in Vlore yesterday, in which a leader from the Socialist party and one of the Democratic Alliance took part. They have encouraged and supported calls for war which representatives of these committees launched in the meeting.
The committees representatives were pronounced in the meeting for a military march towards Tirana, leaving for the last consideration the free elections. The representative of the Elbasan committee, Luftetar Matohiti, declared that "it's gone the time of empty words, now the armed uprising must be organized." Such declarations have been also made by the representative of Kucova, Perparim Bizhga, representative of Himare, Thanas Qirici, the committee of Vlore, Albert Shyti etc., who voiced the alternative of an "armed people's pressure."
The representative of Skrapar has declared:"We must appeal to the population of Tirane to leave the city, so that to avoid a bloodshed. The diplomatic corps must do the same. Police must be paralyzed, only in this way the ideal of our committees is attained." Shyti has declared: "Either uprising or dissolution of the committees." The representative of Tepelena has stated that "we are not being able to do anything through diplomatic ways."
The Democratic Party stresses once more that such warmongering declarations have the political support of the Socialist Party and other parties of the left extreme which are in alliance with these parties, which with their latest stands are encouraging violent terrorist solutions. ake/jz/xh/Z/
 PRESIDENT BERISHA CALLS ON POLITICAL FORCES AND GOVERNMENT FOR SERIOUSNESS IN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNTIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - Spokesman of the President of Albania reports that President Berisha appeals to all political forces and the National Reconciliation Government to be committed with full seriousness and their potential to realise an electoral campaign worthy for free and fair elections, which Albania needs so much today more than ever.
Berisha invites international institutions, the Council of Europe, OSCE, other specialised European and American institutions to make their contribution to the observation of the polls in Albania and to the full transparence of these process.
President Berisha calls on Albanian citizens to make their contribution to the electoral campaign dignified both for them and Albania, to an electoral process which would create all Albanians the possibility to express their will through the free ballot. ake/jz/xh/Z/
 ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER TAKES PART IN ALL-EUROPEAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCETIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - Upon an invitation of the Government of the Norwegian Kingdom and the Pompidu Group of the Council of Europe, the Albanian Interior Minister Belul Celo, in the lead of a delegation, took part in the All-European Ministerial Conference "On international cooperation and the policies of the fight against drug-trafficking and abuse," which was held in Tromsos from May 14-16.
During this visit to Norway, Minister Celo had a number of meetings with his counterparts from other countries, participants in the conference as well as with the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Norway. ake/jz/xh/Z/
 EARTHQUAKE LEAVES 45 FAMILIES HOMELESSGRAMSH, MAY 17 (ATA) - By Pellumb Zekthi: The morning earthquake of May 16, has damaged and made impossible to live 33 homes in the city of Gramsh, which belonged to 45 families.
Sources of the district council say that for the present conditions in that district, the said families are quite hopeless, because the local government has no sources and means to compensate them for the damage.
The situation becomes more difficult for the fact that some state and public buildings are occupied violently by some other families who are now living in them. ake/jz/xh/Z/
 FATOS NANO CHANGES POSITION REGARDING PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONSTIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - By Atlant Frasheri: The Socialist Party has not yet adopted a fixed position regarding the participation or not in the new earlier elections of June 29, because it hopes that new amendments can be made in the electoral law passed by Albanian parliament.
"I have no hurry to take a decision now to take part in elections or not," said the chairman of the Socialist Party, Fatos Nano after today's meeting of the political parties participating in the National Reconciliation Government, with Prime Minister bashkim Fino.
The Socialist leader asked that a consensus must be reached among the political parties which would guarantee a normal process of free and fair elections with the participation of all the political forces.
"In order to reach a consensus of all," said Nano, we proposed some technical amendments for the technical formula of the law and of an administration of the polls."
Nano asked that "this administration, which has made this process more disputable, should give Albanians guarantees that it will be a process which ensures them where their vote will go."
The Balli Kombetar party chairman Abaz Ermenji was not pronounced whether his party would take part in the polls or not.
The law approved by the parliament has taken into consideration the amendments proposed by DP deputies, some amendments from the law drafted by the government, the 12 points proposed by the OSCE envoy, Franz Vranitzky, and amendments proposed by the President of Albania, Sali Berisha, which create favours for the small parties.
The SDP does not agree to take part in elections with this electoral law.
"We are for free elections. There is nothing that can hurry us. Conditions are more important than a postponement," said Skender Gjinushi, SDP chairman.
While the leader of the DAP, Neritan Ceka, said that "by the next week we will lay the alternative "Either the law or Berisha."
OSCE envoy, Austrian former Chancellor Franz Vranitzky said in a news conference Friday that "plans are fulfilled from the formal point of view in the law approved by the parliament."
Also for the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which have reported of their commitment to the technical preparations of the electoral process, it is no important what is the kind of the electoral law on the basis of which the elections will be held. ake/jz/Z/
 DP PROPOSES A SOCIAL PACT AMONG PARTIESTIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - By Atlant frasheri: The Albanian Democratic Party proposed to Albanian political parties in a meeting with Prime Minister Bashkim Fino the adoption of a social pact which would serve as a basis for the normal conduct of earlier parliamentary elections of June 19.
"We proposed today to all political forces to gather and in two or three days to sign a social pact, in which we will be committed to create a peaceful, good and calm climate during the polls," said DP chairman Tritan Shehu after the meeting.
Shehu considered as very fruitful this meeting whose objective were the preparations for the coming elections in Albania. He reiterated the DP's determination to cooperate with the government and the political forces to create the best possible electoral climate.
Shehu said that they discussed in the meeting the work to be made for the preparation of the electoral campaign, preparation for the elections, sub-legal administrative acts that the government should prepare, its work, its cooperation with international institutions, which will help in the observation of the ballot in Albania.
With regard to the electoral law passed by the Parliament, Shehu said that it is complete and ensures free and fair elections.
"We," he said "have an electoral law which accomplishes many requests. It carries all recommendations of Mr Vranitzky, hence OSCE, a considerable part from the law prepared by some collaborators of Premier Fino, and the part prepared by DP deputies." jz/xh/
 PRESS RELEASETIRANE, MAY 17 (ATA) - The meeting held today by Prime Minister Bashkim Fino with ten political parties dwelt on the new electoral law. The SP chairman, Fatos Nano declared in the meeting that his party opposed that law because it favours the small parties.
"We do not need such a law because it favours small parties," he said pointing out that the Socialist party had no interest in the small parties.
Some days ago, Nano's party blocked the process of talks with Mr Vranitzky claiming that the law did not make proper allowances for the small parties. Now that new law has reduced to 2 per cent the limit for access to the parliament and has more facilitating conditions for the electoral competition of the small parties, Nano declares that he had remarks for the law precisely for these favours.
Such irresponsible declarations and attitudes with nostalgic doses for the single-party system show once more the communist demagogy of this party, which has never taken interest in the small parties, free elections, political agreements or in a democratic electoral law.
Differently from the socialist position, the Democratic Party considers that the drafting and approval of the new law is a guarantee to a fair and free electoral campaign and a premise for a more pluralistic parliament in the future. xh/
 UNCERTAINTY ON SARANDE-GJIROKASTER ROADSARANDE, MAY 18 (ATA)- By Sh.Hajno, Passengers travelling on a bus of the Saranda-Gjirokaster line were recently subjected to body controls by armed bandits, near the Grapsh village, 20 km from Gjirokaster.
"Under the threat of pistols, they robbed 40 passengers of all their money," one of the persons present on the spot said.
Over the last two months, on the national route segments Sarande-Gjirokaster and Sarande-Kakavije passengers on eight buses and tens of cars have been robbed of their possessions, with six people being killed. a.ke/kei/lm/k
 THIRD EXPLOSION ROCKS KARDHIQI BRIDGE IN GJIROKASTERGJIROKASTER, MAY 18 (ATA)- By H. Cani, Unknown men attempted the destruction for the third time of the Kardhiqi bridge, 10 km north of Gjirokaster, late last night.
The Kardhiqi bridge is the only one linking the Gjirokaster town with the neighboring state of Greece, and with the other parts of the country. Explosive devices, TNT, had twice been placed on this bridge in 20 days. But, fortunately the wrongdoers have failed to realise its destruction.
The third attempt has damaged one of the three arches of the bridge, minimizing again the possibility of vehicles' passage.
Specialists of the road inspectorate say that the movement of trucks is almost impossible. There have been no damages in people, but the nearby houses at a range of 500 square meters have been shaken by the explosion, as the amount of the explosive has been smaller. a.ke/lm
 PRESIDENT BERISHA MEETS ELECTORATE OF SHIJAKSHIJAK, MAY 18 (ATA) - By R Floqi: Today at 6 p.m. President of Albania Sali Berisha had a meeting with the electorate of the city of Shijak.
Scores of cars accompanied the Presidednt from the village of Maminas to Shijak. Berisha had a stopover in that village, and from there he made for the town of Shijak, where a meeting was planned to be held in the cinema hall, but upon the request of the citizens, it was held in the square in front of the cinema building.
"I greet all inhabitants of Shijak for their support for democracy in Albania, for its present, past and future," said Berisha, taking the floor before the present citizens who cheered "Down with communism" and "Shijak is with you."
President Berisha was accompanied by deputy Azem Hajdari, and his wife.
The Democratic Party defeated rebellion through political means, said Berisha, and avoided the efforts of the communists to divide Albania. This showed the irreconciliability of the former communists in Albania with the loss they suffered through the free vote.
Berisha stressed the role the political agreements of March 9 and May 9, 1997 played to force the former communists to abandon terror and the communist theory of violence.
President Berisha appealed to the international community to monitor the June 29 elections. Further on Berisha spoke about the committees, which he considered as the armed wing of SP, which are now turned into ugly scarecrows.
"We must conduct an intensive and sincere dialogue, so that with our free vote be masters of our freedom, masters of our property, joy and dignity, masters of Albania's dignity," said Berisha.
In his address, President Berisha stressed the democratic character of the people of Shijak and voiced the conviction that the Democratic Party was going full of faith in the June 29 ballot.
Berisha stressed that "in coalition with the right wing forces, we shall destroy former communists in Albania." He called on those present to conduct "a campaign which will be civilized for the values of democracy and for Albania's integration into Europe."
After President Berisha, deputy Azem Hajdari took the floor. He stressed the role of President Berisha in avoiding the armed conflict, instigated by former communists.
"There are people who seek to make Albania like the castle of Rozafa, which they try to ruin as soon as they see it is developing, but the people of Shijak shows that they are a fortress of democracy which cannot be ruined," he said.
Further on, the mayor of Shijak and other speakers took the floor. ssh/xh
 TELEPHONE TALK BETWEEN FINO AND KINKELTIRANE, MAY 18 (ATA) - Today in the evening Albanian Premier Bashkim Fino had a telephone talk with Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany, Klaus Kinkel, in which they exchanged opinions with regard to the latest developments in Albania.
Mr Kinkel said to Premier Fino that Germany was following with interest the events in Albania and on that occasion he expressed the support for the Government of National Reconciliation and wished a successful overcome of the situation. Mr Kinkel declared to Mr Fino that his government was informed of the way how the Albanian Parliament approved the electoral law and that he had made a declaration expressing his concern for the way how the law was passed. He called on all the political forces to find the way of compromise and to realise the elections within the deadline.
"This," said the chief of German diplomacy, "is in the interest of the Albanians and of th einternational community which is committed to help Albania overcome the crisis."
Premier Fino expressed his thanks for Germany's support for the National Reconciliation Government and its concrete commitment. Mr Fino informed Mr Kinkel of the efforts he was making with all the political parties to reach a compromise on the electoral law and he considered the international support as an important element for the realisation of the parliamentary elections within the timelimit, elections which must be free and fair in order to restore belief in the free vote. xh
 JUNE 29 WILL BE THE DAY OF THE GREATEST VICTORY IN THE HISTORY OF ALBANIAN DEMOCRACY - BerishaLAC, MAY 18(ATA)- By S. Spahiu, June 29 will be the day of the greatest victory in the history of the Albanian democracy, President of the Republic Sali Berisha said at a meeting with Lac inhabitants on Sunday.
Berisha called on the Lac inhabitants to say yes to democracy, to say yes to their freedoms, to say no to rebellion, to say yes to the future, the country's integration into Europe.
Berisha did not deny the responsibility of the Democratic Party, which did not take the appropriate measures against the loan-taking phenomenon.
"We will see towards the future, correct our errors, make the democracy even stronger, based on freedom, property, national dignity, individual dignity," Berisha said.
The president called on the Kurbini inhabitants and all Albanians "no to lose trust in the DP, the force that toppled the dictatorship, that made Albanians owners, free people".
"Over the last five years we have accomplished more than we had expected. In the years to come we will accomplish even better and faster. We will consolidate our institutions, our democracy," Berisha said further on.
Berisha condemned the rebellion that took place in several districts of the country.
"The rebellion was a scenario. The loss of power by the free vote, the total inability to win by the free vote, self-exclusion from the political life, intolerance, exploitation of economic protests for shameful political aims, this scenario failed in Albania," Berisha said.
President Berisha expressed optimism in the future. The DP will build an emergency short-term programme to cope with the grave damages of the rebellion, to quickly rebuild institutions, property, to attract foreign investment, to enhance employment, he said.
Berisha said that "Albania's future is only one, it is democracy, it is Europe".
The winter of rebellion will remain a bad dream in the memory of the Albanians, while democracy will be their sure future, Berisha said in conclusion.
Later Berisha responded questions by participants at the meeting.
He expressed the conviction that the right wing coalition would win considerably.
Berisha was categoric in answering the question whether he would tolerate to SP pressures and demands on the new election law and said that they were certain to be held on June 29.
As regards yesterday's statement of several parties asking amendments to the electoral law, Berisha said that it was an elegy for the loss on June 29.
"I will not decree their requests," he said. Berisha condemned the activity of the committees set up in several districts of the South.
"They are part of the SP, the ugly symbol of the evil ," he said.
Berisha expressed the conviction that Vlore and Gjirokaster would vote against the Socialist Party, against the committees. kei/lm/k
 LEK CONTINUES DEVALUATION ON FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKETTIRANA, MAY 18 (ATA)- This week end on the foreign exchange market in Tirana marked a devaluation by 3 lek in the exchange rate against the dollar.
On Saturday, May 17, 1 USD was bought at 150 lek and sold at 157.5 lek, from 153 lek it was bought one week ago.
Since the beginning of the year, the lek has been devaluated by 53 lek against the USD.
The lek devaluation has also brought about an increase in the prices of the imported main food and industrial items.
Although the law bans the selling of goods in foreign currency, in many trade units the imported industrial items, especially household electric appliances, are being sold in dollars. a.gj/kled/lm/k
 CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF VISITS INFANTRY DIVISION IN GJIROKASTERTIRANA, MAY 18 (ATA)- The chief of the Army General Staff, Major-General Adem Copani and other high ranking officers of the Defence Ministry visited the Infantry Division in Gjirokaster, where on May 15, a powerful explosion rocked an ammunition dump, killing the first captain, Ferdinat Dosti, while on duty, and wounding several other militaries.
They were given briefings on the damages caused and the performance to systemize the ammunition, in order to avoid incidents endangering the lives of the inhabitants of the zone, according to the Defence Ministry Press and Information Office.
Afterwards, Copani visited the Gjirokaster hospital where four wounded militaries are being treated and several families of the officers being cured in the Athens' hospital.
Copani also met officers and noncommissioned officers of the tank unit of Gjirokaster and artillery unit in Tepelene, discussing measures to recover the situation in these units. a.ke/kei/lm/k
 STATEMENT OF SEVEN POLITICAL PARTIESTIRANA, MAY 17 (ATA)- Seven Political Parties, the Socialist Party, the Social-Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Democratic Alliance Party, the League for Democracy Party, the Human Rights Union Party, the Democratic Party of the Right, analysing the situation created after the arbitrary approval of several amendments to the electoral law of May 26,1996 only by the DP parliamentary group of the DP and rejecting the draft-law presented by the Government of National Reconciliation, note:
1.The amended law does not make up any essential improvement to the election law of May 26,1996, whose defects, shortcomings and consequences are already known.
The proposed system is not fruit of the compromise but an absurd, worsened variant of the previous system.
The administration of the elections is shifted from the government to the President of the Republic, through nomination by him of the Central Commission and chairmen and deputy chairmen of the constituency commissions.
The law preserves the same electoral map like in the latest elections, division which does not respect the geographic -administrative criteria and for these reasons it has been opposed since at that time. This division keeps on foot the infrastructure of the manipulators set up by the DP in the past elections.
The DP law reflects nothing of a series of major issues, such as control on compiling and correcting the electoral lists, criteria on locating the polling stations, the way of identifying the voter, the appropriate timetable of closing the polls, criteria on issuing the results and complaint of violations.
No change is realised either for an equal use of the media or the financing of the parties.
On all these issues the draft-law of the Government of National Reconciliation, prepared by experts of the parties, Ministry of Justice and ODIHR makes a series of important and necessary improvements.
2. Rejecting the draft-law of the Government of National Reconciliation blocks the activity of this government in organising the polls, being added to a series of other obstacles counterpoising the measures taken by it. Under these conditions it cannot guarantee free and equal elections and, as as result, it should not take up this responsibility.
In order to unblock this crisis situation, ready to render their own maximal contribution, the political parties offer this requests, which are conditions for realising free and equal elections and for participation in the polls.
1.The achievement of an urgent agreement to realise an applicable and acceptable law by all, consisting in the following points:
-The Central Electoral Commission should be appointed or proposed by the Government of National Reconciliation and it should take the decisions by two thirds.
-An electoral system of compromise should be applied (which eliminates the absurdity of the system presented by the DP).
-The division in constituencies should be a right of the government and based on the criteria defined by the law.
-Control should be guaranteed by the electoral commission on the voters' lists.
-The ways of identifying the voter by the Government and ODIHR should be defined.
-The voting be closed at 18.00.
-The formula proposed in the draft of the Government of National Reconciliation on the use of the media and financing of the parties should be applied.
-The state power-opposition formula should be replaced by the term "Parliamentary parties in the 1992-1996 period", or the "Participating parties in the Government of National Reconciliation or in elections (according to the occasion)".
-The law should stipulate the participation of international observers, especially in the central commission, their rights and guarantees.
2. The new leaders of NIS should be appointed immediately (in three days).
3.The RTV steering council should be set up according to the government formula, for running the television during the whole campaign (in three days).
4. A detailed contract on cooperation between the government and international organisations on their participation, monitoring and guaranties regarding the realisation of elections at all stages under the guarantee of a high international authority.
The parties consider the aforesaid proposals as the last possibilities for compromise in realising free elections and their participation in them. /s.sh/kled/lm/sh/
 MEETINGS OF ALBANIAN JUSTICE MINISTER IN ENGLANDTIRANA, MAY 17 (ATA)- Albanian Justice Minister, Spartak Ngjela, in the course of his visit to England, continues his meetings with British senior justice officials, the spokesman of Albanian Justice Ministry says.
In his meetings with the authorities of the Lord Chancellor Department, Ngjela showed interest in the functioning of the British justice, including appointment of judges, their training and independence.
They promised Ngjela training for the Albanian judges and a further cooperation between the two countries in justice.
Ngjela also met with the director General of the British Prisons, Tony Pearsod, who familiarised him with the system of prisons and expressed the desire of a further cooperation in the future.
Ngjela visited one of the most famous prisons of England, Wormwood Scrubs. The governor of this prison, Richard Cookson, promised training for the Albanian prison staff in England.
During the visit of minister Ngjela, the British media has shown interest in his visit and the situation in Albania.
Ngjela was interviewed by the TV station "Sky TV". He responded questions about the situation in Albania, especially the parliamentary elections to be held soon. a.ke/kled/lm/sh/
 OSCE WORKING GROUP VISITS SARANDESARANDE, MAY 18 (ATA)- By Sh. Hajno, An OSCE working group, headed by Giorgio Canarso, had a working meeting recently with representatives of the district council and town-hall of Sarande, Southern Albania.
"The OSCE team, which is charged with monitoring the elections, interested itself in public order problems, the work to compile the voters lists and other issues," the chairman of the district council, Thoma Papagjika, told ATA.
The OSCE group was received at the Sarande town-hall by vice-mayor Qirjako Martiko.
This is the first group of international organisations coming to this district to monitor the upcoming elections. a.ke/kled/lm/sh/
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