The statement says that for more than two months, in six districts of Albania's south, the so-called salvation committees have violently prevented the distribution of the independent newspapers and those of the right wing parties such as "Albania" and "Rilindja Demokratike", by often burning them.
"The bandits have set fire to the transport means and in several cases have manhandled news agents and the technical personnel charged with press distribution," the statement says.
The committees have only allowed the distribution of the newspaper "Zeri i Popullit", organ of the Socialist Party and other similar papers like Koha Jone, etc.
The statement says that the Journalists League of Albania have repeatedly asked the aid of the Albanian government, and Bashkim Fino, personally, to create equal conditions for the Albanian press, but, in no case have the Government and Prime Minister Fino formally taken any action to change the situation.
"The political selection of the press and prevention of distribution based on political motives constitutes a very grave act and is against the fundamental principles of a democratic society," the statement says. s.sh/kei/lm/z
At 22.00 unknown men, now labelled in the town as"bridge destroyers", with a considerable amount of explosive, damaged the Viroi bridge for the second time.
Three days ago an explosive material made a big hole on the bridge and damaged a luxurious local nearby.
Last night's explosion makes movement of trucks and buses on the bridge impossible, and only small vehicles can move on it.
Also, near the Mashkullore village, some 500 metres from the national road, a large amount of TNT has gravely damaged a bridge on the Drino river and has shattered the nearby houses.
The May 18 explosion, the fourth of this kind rocking the Kardhiqi bridge, some 10 km north of Gjirokaster, has made impossible the movements of trucks on this bridge.
The Kardhiqi Bridge, built in 1939, was projected by the Italian engineers and is one of the most important bridges linking the south with the other part of Albania. pas/j.z/lm/k
Sources of the Greek media have stressed that 170 of these emigrants were intercepted on their way to Greece last weekend.
They were travelling on several trucks offered by Greek traffickers as against a payment of 3.5 million drachmas.
The emigrants intercepted on the Larisa-Lanica road were added another 30 ones caught at the Greek Island of Corfu recently.
Greek information sources increasingly speak of cooperation between Albanian traffickers with Greek ones in illegal emigrants, drug and, lately, of weapons trafficking. s.sh/j.z/lm/k
Police Commissariat sources say the identity of the victim is not known yet.
No family relative has so far appeared at the police commissariat regarding the victim.
After 10.00 a.m., Tuesday, the people's movement was limited in the maximum, and that of the vehicles was almost suspended.
Myrteza Caushi, dubbed "Zani", who controls Vlore with his group declared Tuesday a mourning day, after the murder on Monday of his right arm, Arben Latifi, the private agency ENTER says.
After the Vlore citizens did not observe Zani's order, bombs were thrown on the city's market at 9.00 a. m.. Members of the Zani group fired guns in the air in different parts of the city.
According to ENTER, Zani has resumed forceful recruitment of youths, who have been seized by force and massacred or killed if refusing.
Two youths, Arben Latifi and Gjergj Cukalla, both 25, were killed on Monday in a gun battle between two armed groups at the Rilindja quarter, near the oil middle school, while a man was killed by a stray bullet.
Haxhi Demiri, chief of the commissariat, replaced last week Milto Kordha, who resigned after declaring himself unable to restore order in Vlore. a.ke/kei/lm/k
One $ US was bought at 160 lek and sold 164 lek, in contrast with one week ago with one $ US bought at 153 lek.
Since the beginning of 1997 the lek was devaluated by 55 lek against the U.S. dollar.
The lek devaluation has brought about price rise of the main imported items.
The exchange rate of foreign currency against lek on May 21,1997
Savings bank Currency buying selling 1 $ US 156 163.5 1 mark 93.2 96.7 Lira (1000) 94 98 Drachmas(100) 57.4 60
Free market 1 $ US 160.5 164 1 Mark 96 99 Liras (1000) 97 100 Drachmas(100) 59 61
On one hand they show themselves capable of governing and on the other hand they cooperate with the rebels in Albania's south, Grossruck is cited as saying.
He warns the OSCE not to become the ball of the former-communists' game.
Grossruck says that only clear objectives can pull Albania out of the crisis: Assigning clear tasks during the OSCE intervention and, first of all, restoring the infrastructure for the country's internal security; discharging from functions and surrendering of weapons by the rebels in the south and a clear election law.
Grossruck stressed that this law should again ensure a broad-base political discussion in parliament and on other hand realise a standing governing majority. inge/jz/lm/Z
The referendum on the form of government will be held throughout the territory of the Republic of Albania along with the voting for the candidates for deputies to the People's Assembly, on June 29,1997. jz/lm/Z
The paper carries a note entitled:"Albright turns down Fino: Don't play with the elections", as well as an interview of G. Pollo, DP Secretary General, entitled: "SP still silent on the social pact". The paper also carries the articles:"SP should pay one billion liras" as well as "SP prepares non recognition of elections".
The paper carries EDU's full report on the pre-election situation entitled:"Committees, obstacle to free elections".
As regards events in Vlore, the paper carries the article: "Mourning day with bombs in Vlore. Zani orders forceful recruitment".
Zeri i Popullit carries the editorial entitled: "No room for illusions". It also carries the article:"International pressure increases. Compromise the sole solution", asking Berisha to make allowances.
The paper carries a pronouncement of socialist leader Fatos Nano under the title: "Reestablishment of Government's authority, condition for restoring trust in democracy".
The paper carries an interview of Prime Minister Fino with the BBC under the title:"International organisations to guard the ballot boxes". It carries the article :"The DP law, model for presidential manipulations".
The paper carries the article (backed by documents): "This is how the criminal plan against the south would be realised".
Republika carries the article:"Shkoder bridges mined by NIS". The paper carries the article:"The RP ready for the great contest". The paper carries the article: "The head of Greek consul bodyguard in Gjirokaster kills himself". Another article asks whether we will have or not a transparency on the pyramid schemes".
Rilindja carries today the communique of the spokesman of Prime Minister Fino entitled:"Albania on the brink of a deeper crisis with unforeseen consequences". The paper covers the meetings of President Berisha in Fier entitled:"All democrats should rely on their friends". As regards the situation in Albania, the paper carries the article:"Killings, tension, chaos".
Albania says in its editorial that the international community called on socialists and Prime Minister yesterday not to hinder the electoral process.
The paper carries a pronouncement of B. Driza, president of foundation "Populli" entitled:"The people's money in the U.S.". The paper carries the article "EDU: We will continue to support DP".
The paper also carries the article:"Chief of the U.S. CIA is under investigation on relations with the Northern Epirots'". The paper carries the article:"SP and its allies hold Albania hostage".
As regards President Berisha's visit to Fier, Koha Jone carries the article;"Bullets and stones thrown at Berisha's convoy of cars". The paper carries an interview with the social-democrat leader, S. Gjinushi, entitled:"SP hides behind the other parties". The paper carries a reaction of the Finance Minister, Malaj, entitled:"Arben Malaj shows his pockets". The paper carries the article:"Leka Zogu-a citizen and not heir to the throne".
Dita carries the editorial:"Strange attack on the opposition" as well as the article:"Do the companies have money in the bank". In the article:"The U.S: We will tell off Berisha", the paper says that Prime Minister Fino telephoned last night Albright, Vranitzky and Prodi on the election issue.
Independent carries today fragments of the secret talk (according to the paper), between Foresti and Shehu" entitled:"Who ruined Vranitzky's contract". The paper carries the article:"Fier: Shootings before Berisha".
Gazeta Shqiptare carries the article:"Vranitzky's ultimatum expires". jz/lm/k
Unidentified men shot dead Sokol Marku, who was in his house, and Afrim Kalaj, from the Mamurras town, guard at the private villas in this area.
Family sources near the spot said that the villa of Fran Marku, the brother of the victim who works in Italy as emigrant, had been stolen days ago. kei/lm/k
Details of her wounding are not known yet.
On the same day, the youth A. Reka died in hospital, after being hit by brothers Kokona on personal motives.
Both authors of the killing surrendered themselves to the police commissariat, according to sources inside the Durres commissariat. a.ke/eva/lm
DP spokesman stresses that Mr Shehu rejects in a press release the publishment of such a slanderous and immoral material. He said that he would bring to court the "Independent" paper.
The journalists of the "Independent", former journalists of Koha Jone newspaper, have also written and uttered slander about outstanding figures of the European policy, like the Chairman of the European Parliament, Mrs Leni Fischer, Mr Alois Mock, Byhler, Mischel Pericard, Casini, Schwimer, Vintonjak, Lord Finsberg, Franz Vranitzky, as well as about former deans of the Diplomatic Corps in Albania, the ambassadors of Rumania, Bulgaria, etc, - ends the spokesman. /a.ke/jz/mt/sh/
The chairman of the IMF delegation expressed in this meeting his profound concerns for the macro-economic situation in the country. He stressed that the main difficulty stands on the non realist budget, presented by the government, and mainly in the reserves in its incomes. With regard to the banking system, Mr Kankonen insisted in the necessity of respecting the independence of the Central Bank, and in the continuity of the privatization process of the state banks.
Mr Kankonen stressed the necessity of the complete transparency of all loan-taking companies, of the collapsed foundations, as well as of the companies which exercise activity, as a preliminary condition for the cooperation of Albania with the international community.
President Berisha stressed that one of the main causes that I have asked the conduct early elections has been the prevention of the further macro-economic aggravation. I would like to ensure you that after the elections Albania is resolute to cooperate for a very serious program with IMF and the World Bank (WB). It will realize quickly the complete privatization of economy, telecom, energy, banks, etc; and we are very interested in the total transparency of the pyramid schemes, and I consider dishonest to give political nuances to this problem. I have to explain here that just for this problem I appointed the Minister of Finances from ex-opposition.
After the collapse of pyramid schemes, the leadership of the opposition declared repeatedly in tribunes, in front of the angry creditors that their money were taken by the government, they signed petitions to return the money robbed by the swindlers of the companies and promised that they would return the lost money to the citizens as soon as they came to power.
Under the direct influence of the IMF, finally through the Minister of Finances, the ex-opposition confirmed that the government could not return the lost money, which they did not do on March 1, when I asked them very big concessions, on the condition that they should confess this. But now it is important that the Minister of Finances should implement the law and engage experts chosen by him, to control these companies and to tell the Albanians and the international organizations what money have profited the government and who are the senior officials of the government or of the parties who have put money in these schemes, or who have taken those money in the last days before the collapse of these companies and where did the lost money of citizens go. I ask this not for political aims, but I am convinced that this is requested today by all those who two months ago believed as true the statements of ex-opposition, and as a contribution that the ex-opposition should give for the stability of the country.
With regard to the claim that the deadline for the control of these schemes was short, I think that if the will of the Ministry of Finance would exist to engage in the process of transparency, this deadline would be enough for a significative preliminary report, but unfortunately, two months have passed since the establishment of government, and except a law, which excluded the collapsed foundations from the governmental control, and which was changed by the parliament by charging directly the Ministry of Finances to control these schemes, not other step is made.
With regard to your suggestion, stressed President Berisha, for the nomination of an administrator in the companies which have activity, I personally agree, but in the draft-law, presented in parliament by the government, this request was surprisingly missing, and then efforts were made to blame the parliament as if it had avoided this request. The Government should define the competencies and the mandate of this administrator, and I have no objection to decree it, ends the report of the President's Press and Information Office. /a.ke/kled/mt/
In the meeting organized on this occasion in the square of the town, along with hundreds of citizens, attending were also the deputy Jemin Gjana, the prefect Gjovalin Bzheta, and other leaders of local government.
Leka Zogu stressed among others that the development of Albania has the support of friends in the world. The political forces should also find the compromise among them. Zogu said that he will make the compromise only with the people.
Later on Leka, Zogu held a conversation in the Culture Palace of the town with intellectuals and other guests, where he responded to the questions of the participants./kled/mt/sh/
The Chairman of the Conference, Prof. Nestor Tereska, familiarized the participants with the main issues to be solved by the Albanian University system in the current conditions, as well as in the future.
The participants discussed on the new principles in universities for the new academic year, as well as on several modalities of presenting the proposals for opening the courses and scientific teaching units in universities./kled/mt/sh/
Shehu asked the Council of Europe to accelerate the implementation of the programs of assistance, accorded to the School of Magistracy, which will start the teaching process in October 1997, mainly in drafting the teaching programs and the program of selecting its students.
Mr De Vel stressed that the Council of Europe will support with all the means and for everything that has to do with the consolidation of judicial power in Albania, considering it a political signal that Albania will strengthen by strengthening the independence of judicial power.
"This is one of the main issues of all the European institutions, like OSCE, European Union, Council of Europe, etc," underlined the Director of the Juridical Affairs near the Council of Europe, Mr De Vel.
They also agreed in the meeting for the concrete aid that the Council of Europe is ready to offer to the judicial power in Albania, concludes the spokesman of the Constitutional Court. /s.sh/kled/mt/sh/
"Some problems can be arranged by several sub-legal acts, but also in the context of the accord of the Government with the parties and with the President," HRUP leader Vasil Melo told ATA.
Melo put forward the possibility of reviewing some constituencies, in which, according to him, manipulations have been noticed.
With regard to the time of closing the elections, Melo said that he did not agree with the request, declared on behalf of eight political parties, to end the voting at 18:00, but at 20:00."
"These are technic aspects which can be arranged without damaging the whole election law," said Melo.
The HRUP leader was very worried about the situation in South and considered it "very confusing".
"This political situation creates much space to the criminal gangs, as well as to the others who are interested to make confusion," said Melo, who sees the possibility of stabilization "in a political accord of the parties".
Melo said that two of the requests of his party for a pluralist government, with the representation of all political parties, and the setting of the election day, were fulfilled. It had remained only the third point of the international monitoring of elections as a guarantee, so that they are free and fair. /kled/mt/sh/
"I read today an article which speaks of a conversation I have never made. I complain because it is not the first time such facts are published, and which have been confuted later even by those who have attributed them to me."/mt/sh/
All the defendants have rejected the accuses for terrorism and do not accept the Serbian trial.
The Serbian prosecutor does not have evidence to testify the terrorism. He has as evidence the "alirimi" newspaper, organ of the "Movement for Liberation of Kosova", and statements of the defendants during the investigation under inhuman tortures.
Many citizens also gathered today in front of the Serbian trial in Pristina, despite the presence of police forces. /ag/b.j/kled/mt/sh/
The forces of criminal police sent the injured thief to the hospital of the town. /s.sh/kled/mt/sh/
In this meeting, Prime Minister Bashkim Fino presented to the government the draft of a letter for Mr Franz Vraitzky, special coordinator of OSCE in Albania, which was approved by the Council of Ministers. Premier Fino asked through the letter the international community and concretely the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union to be committed to a successful realisation of the elections in Albania.
The final solution which would ensure fair, free and equal elections with the participation and incontestability of all is the guarantee for an intensive observation at all levels of the voting process in Albania by the international communityu (OSCE, CE, EU) after the pattern Joint Action, known and applied in precedent cases, stresses the message of Mr Fino to Dr Frnz Vranitzky.
Today's meeting of the Council of Ministers also approved the structure of the Central Election Commission, as was agreed upon yesterday between Premier Bashkim Fino and the President of Albania, Sali Berisha. xh
Mr Fino briefed the Greek Minister of the situation in Albania and especially of the difficulties to reach a consensus for the realisation of the elections despite the great will of the political forces.
The Prime Minister voiced the predisposition and total commitment of the political forces in Albania to find a solution out of the impasse after the approval by the Parliament of the Electoral Law, and their concern for the creation of indispensable guarantees for free and democratic elections. Mr Fino informed Mr Pangallos of some demands he will present to OSCE for maximal guarantees in the monitoring of the elections.
Foreign Minister Pangallos reconfirmed to Mr Fino the support of the Greek Government for the National Reconciliation Government of Albania and asked him to continue his direction in the the Government until its mandate ends.
Pangallos expressed the support and assistance of Greece in the bilateral aspect and in all the international organizations for a correct and democratic voting process in Albania. He told Premier Fino that he was keeping continuous contact with his European colleagues to help Albania in the electoral process and the realisation of the Government of National Reconciliation for the monitoring of the poll.
Minister Pangallos voiced his desire to pay a visit to Albania, visit which will be realised soon. xh