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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 97-05-23
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From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>
Albanian Telegraphic Agency
 OSCE REPRESENTATIVES INSPECT PRE-ELECTION TERRAIN IN ELBASANELBASAN, MAY 23 (ATA) - By Pellumb Zekthi: Four representatives of OSCE held Thursday a meeting in the town hall of Elbasan in the context of recognising the procedures of the election process and everything else regarding this process.
Accompanied by the director of the local government department, Ferdinand Pone, they asked a more detailed information regarding the drafting of current lists of electors, and the ways a citizen should follow to be completed with identity papers before the election day, and the Secretary of the town hall, Yllson Pellumbi, made a description on these issues.
The OSCE group, with representatives from different European countries, was informed of the fact that the municipal council, with the proposal of the local round table of the political parties, will appoint 30 people who will deal with the new registration of the voters, trying to avoid anomalies and abuses in this direction.
Later on, they payed a visit in the region no. 3 of the town, where they were closely familiarized with the technic details of a possible polling station. /a.ke/kei/mt/k
 LETTER OF OSCE SPECIAL ENVOY ADDRESSED TO ALBANIAN PREMIERTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA) - The representatives of OSCE in Tirana handed on Thursday afternoon a letter of the OSCE special envoy, Dr. Franz Vranitzky, addressed to the Albanian Premier, Bashkim Fino, with regard to the election process in Albania, Premier press and information office reports.
The letter says that Dr. Vranitzky has declared to the participating countries in the meeting of the Permanent Council of OSCE that the international community can offer support and admonition in the preparation and application of the election process.
We, stressed the special envoy of OSCE in Albania, can make an intensive monitoring in the pre-election process and during the voting and will help with all the possible means in the post-electoral activity. The OSCE delegations, on their side, support unanimously the offering of assistance, admonition and intensive monitoring of the election process.
In the letter it is underlined that the Permanent Council asks from the Albanian authorities to provide the necessary organization base for the elections and if these main conditions would be not provided during all the election process, then the involvement of OSCE in Albania would be reviewed.
"I am conscious of the difficulties to be overcome for the security and successful development of the elections. We are ready to work with You and your government to create the conditions for the elections, which should represent the will of the Albanian people," stresses Vranitzky and adds that despite the limited time, all the OSCE countries would do their best to bear their responsibility.
The delegates in the Conference for Albania, to be held on May 26, in Rome, are ready with their further efforts with the international community, to go forward with concrete plans and defined to offer economic and financial assistance," says the letter of Vranitzky. /l.gj/kled/mt/sh/
 TRADE UNION OF CHROME MINERS REJECTS CONTRACTS TO SELL THE MINESTIRANA, MAY 22 (ATA) - The Trade Union of chromes will not agree with the solutions being discussed for signing the contract between Preussag and Albchrome, without taking into consideration the social options of the independent union of chrome miners.
An agreement discussed before with the Perussag company included a participation of Albchrome with a capital of 20 % against 80% of Perussag.
"Appreciating the cooperation of Perussag and other foreign companies which would like to cooperate with the Albanian companies of chrome, the trade union has always supported them, because in cooperation with these serious companies it can increase the level of miners and employees of the Albanian mineral industry," says a statement of the trade union./kei/mt/sh/
 BANK OF ALBANIA INCREASES INTEREST RATESTIRANA, MAY 22 (ATA) - The Bank of Albania changed the minimal level of the interest rates for the three-month deposits from 27% to 34%.
"The change aims at protecting the depositors from the current inflation," spokesman of the Albanian Bank reports. /kei/mt/sh/
 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF MACEDONIA PREVENTS TEMPORARILY USAGE OF [ALBANIAN FLAGSKOPJE, MAY 23 (ATA) - The Constitutional Court of Macedonia has decided to prevent temporarily the usage of the Albanian and Turkish national flag in the commune of Gostivar, until the final decision on this issue is brought, and this decision came into force on Thursday, Kosova Center for Information reports.
In this sitting, the judge Bahri Islami and Besim Selimi rejected this decision, with the reason that the Albanians in Macedonia use and consider the flags as national symbols and not as governmental symbols, as it says, of the foreign countries.
But, the Macedonian judges stressed that this runs counter to the laws in force for the usage of the national flags.
The chairman of the assembly of the Gostivar commune, Rufi Osmani, sent a letter to this court, where he reported that the prevention of the usage of the Albanian and Turkish national flag would tension the national relations in this commune. While, some Macedonian judges say that the usage of these flags tensions the international relations in Gostivar. /ag/kei/mt/sh/
 TERROR ON TRAVELLERS BY GANGS IN TEPELENATEPELENA, MAY 23 (ATA) - The armed gangs rob and terrorize the travellers in the segment of the road Tepelene-Gjirokaster, making insecure and difficult the movement in this road.
In the place called Ura e Leklit, armed and masked persons attacked and robbed on Thursday by 14:30 the travellers in a mini-bus. The gangs shot on those who had rejected, and due to this the citizen Alfred Buzi died. /kled/mt/sh/
 YOUNG MAN KILLED IN TIRANATIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA) - The citizen Eskil Topalli, 22, was killed Thursday in Tirana by 18:15 in "Rruga e Durresit", near the Yugoslav Embassy, causing panic on the inhabitants of the nearby villages.
According to the Police Commissariat no. 3, which is situated not more than 200 m far from the place where the murder happened, armed persons have shot on a vehicle towards Topalli, causing him sudden death.
The murder was committed for weak motives, sources of the police commissariat report./kled/mt/sh/
 PRESS REVIEWTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA) - "Shadows of distrust for Europe" is the editorial of Rilindja Demokratike. "The international community considered finished the debate for the Albanian elections of June, leaving to be understood that the blocking left wing will be not tolerated," says the editorial among others.
"SP with the heels over the head in the elections," reports the paper under the headline "Vranitzky removes the roadblock of the left wing for the June 29 elections."
"SP begins the tactic of purges," reports the paper and underlines that the Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj, "replaces the officials with the militant members of SP, without having the mandate to make changes."
"SP remains in the dilemma of boycott", reports the paper regarding the meeting of SP Leading Committee. The paper covers the meeting of President Berisha in Elbasan and Peqin under the title "Victory of DP, security for the future."
"The social democratic leaders gathers 150 people in the district of Vlore," reports the paper under the title "48 hours deadline for the Council of Europe".
"All together to save Albania", reports Zeri i Popullit, with regard to the yesterday meeting of the SP Leading Committee. The paper carries a statement of this committee issued in this meeting, under the title "To finalize the victory of the people's will."
"The political life over the past three months has brought a real overthrow even in the classic concept of alliances. The country is practically ruled by 9 parties. This fact is not little to change something from the political spectrum in the country," underlines the paper in its comment entitled "Albania needs a pluralist governing".
"The International Community will make everything possible for the elections," reports the paper regarding the report of the OSCE special Envoy for Albania, Franz Vranitzky.
"The West celebrates the victory, the Albanian politicians stunned," is the editorial of Republika paper, asking "Is the compromise reached?". "RP declared Thursday by his leader Godo that the round table of eight parties has not decided yet to take part in the elections," says the editorial.
Godo reacts after the statement of Nano to take part in the elections reports the paper under the title "The decision is taken by the table of the parties and not by Nano. "Vranitzky: the green light opened for Albania," reports the paper regarding the report of Vranitzky. RP ready for elections if guarantees are given," reports the paper regarding the consult of party branches chairmen in the districts.
"The most active policy in the Balkans" is the editorial of Rilindja paper. Vranitzky declared the accord of Albanian political parties", reports the paper. "The delegation of Kosova participates in the World Conference for globalism", reports the paper under the title "To construct bridges to develop a better world".
Albania paper under the title "170 000 persons will be discharged from work", the paper reports "Without having a mandate, the Minister of Finances, Malaj, in cooperation with the mafia of the Albanian finances, Genc Ruli, has started to replace the whole administration of the Ministry of Finances, Banks and the Insurances Institute." The paper carries the editorial "The elections still under menace of boycott". With regard to the meeting of President Berisha with inhabitants of Elbasan, the paper reports, quoting him as saying "The socialism of communists, dictatorship or rebellion." Under the title "OSCE: We will advise and monitor the elections", the paper cites Vranitzky "The election law fits completely with the political contract of May 9, where it was included a mixed voting system."
Koha Jone carries the editorial "he elections: the difficult bet of the opposition". The paper carries the article: Armed forces land in South". With regard to the Thursday meeting of the SP Leading Committee, the paper reports "SP seals, finally in elections". The paper also reports that Fino has declared the amount of 4 million dollars calculated by the government for the elections. The paper carries the article "Alarm in Vlore, Berisha expected to come", under the title "Many forces of the Committees of Salvation guard the strategic points of the district."
Under the headline "The big engine of socialist is ready for the decisive movement", Dita newspaper writes "Nano heading again". Regarding a letter of the OSCE envoy, Franz Vranitzky sent to the Albanian Premier Bashkim Fino, the paper reports referring to Vranitzky: "Albania to hold elections". According to the meeting of the General Steering Committee (GSC) of the Socialist Party, the paper reports that this party has accepted to participate in the elections only if they will be monitored by OSCE.
Gazeta Shqiptare reports: "Albanian issue arrived yesterday in Vienna: 'All agree on the monitoring of votes'". Referring to the meeting of SP Leading Committe, the paper writes on the position of this party towards elections: "(We will participate) in the elections when we are convinced that Europe will intervene".
According to the DP electoral campaign, the paper says that the candidates are ready, but "it exists the fear for the competition in the South of Albania".
The Independent newspaper referring to the telephone talks between the DP chairman Tritan Shehu and the Italian Ambassador in Albania Paolo Foresti, carried on the Wednesday's paper, reports: "Who spied upon Paolo Foresti". The paper carries the editorial "'Independent' blocked by police". Regarding the funds for the electoral campaign, the paper writes "The parties in campaign, the money in the bank. The election law stops the delivery of funds". The paper carries the article "The Albanian elections under the sight of Fino, Andreatta and Vranitzky". /kled/kei/mt/
 EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE IN CERRIK, ONE DEAD AND SEVEN WOUNDEDCERRIK, MAY 23 (ATA) - By P Zekthi: An armed group in the town of Cerrik, near Elbasan, today opened fire against special troops of the Interior Ministry who arrived in the town early in the morning today to release the police station of the town, which was stormed and occupied a night before by an armed group.
As a result of the exchange of gunfire, 8 members of the special forces were wounded, one of them, according to hospital sources of Elbasan, died at 12.30 today.
Sources in the police commissariat of the district say that during the event the newly-appointed chief of the commissariat, Agron Koliqi was also wounded.
Eye witnesses say that the armed group set fire to an armoured vehicle and plundered another vehicle of the special forces.
Presently there is panic spread throughout the town of Cerrik. Non-official sources also report that the armed group is keeping hostage 4 people of the special forces in exchange of the release of two of their friends from Cerrik. xh
 SP PRESENTS NEW REQUESTS ON ELECTIONSTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA)-The Socialist Party, although declaring participation in the polls, has presented today new requests about the election process.
At a meeting held today at the Prime Minister's office between Fino and the political parties contesting the election law, the SP and several other parties asked the government to lift the state of emergency.
"On one hand free and fair elections are requested in Albania and on the other hand there are still operation commanders, military movements and such like," the SP Public Relations Secretary, Pandeli Majko, said.
On the last day of parliament's proceedings last week, Prime Minister Fino told reporters that the state of emergency should not be lifted, but might be eased. He insisted that it is indispensable until the situation calms down.
The meeting also discussed the letter the special envoy of the OSCE for Albania, former Austrian chancellor Vranitzky, sent to Albanian Prime Minister Fino yesterday.
Majko said that the parties had asked Fino to take all measures, including the lifting of the state of emergency, preparation of the elections infrastructure. With the election infrastructure Majko implies the appointment of the prefects and secretaries, first in the areas they are missing.
The SP and several other parties have constantly been against imposition of the state of emergency in Albania.
Recently Albania has experienced an intensification of the violent acts by criminal gands in Vlore, Memaliaj and Cerrik, claiming several lives.
Last night one of these gangs attacked and raided the Cerrik police station, near Elbasan, while today this group attacked the interior ministry special forces, killing one policeman and wounding six others. The new chief of the Elbasan commissariat, Agron Koliqi, is among the wounded. pas/lm/Z
 PRESIDENT BERISHA MEETS LEZHE INHABITANTSLEZHE, MAY 28 (ATA)- By Z. Pergega, The President of the Republic today met with thousands of Lezhe inhabitants, who had gathered to welcome him.
Later he continued his meeting with DP members and sympathizers in the hall of the palace of culture.
Berisha, taking the floor, called on the people to turn the June 29 campaign into a civic and cultured campaign, a campaign of national reconciliation.
"First we should acknowledge our responsibility as a Democratic Party, and here should be the starting point of dialogue with the others, because only in this way we testify to the honesty and determination to correct the errors committed.
Berisha told the participants that the real cause of the rebellion lays with the communist-type scenario, applied in several countries of the world, many years ago, consisting in the fact that when they do not assume power by the free vote, they boycott the elections, aiming at exploiting the economic protests for political purposes.
Albania experienced such a scenario, but, different from the other countries, democracy in Albania did not give up.
Speaking of the DP alliances Berisha said that:"We are determined to widen the space for the opposition, not through participation in the government, this is for sure, but through forms and methods of control.
We also are open to the National Front Party and support those RP candidates devoted to democracy," Berisha said. s.sh/jz/lm/Z
 PRIME MINISTER FINO MEETS MULTINATIONAL FORCE COMMANDERTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA)- Prime Minister Bashkim Fino had a working meeting today with the Alba operation commander, General Forlani, according to the Prime Minister's press office.
Fino stressed that now it is high time for the troops of the Force to extend their presence further in the country. He asked Forlani the engagement of the operation forces in guarding the key road axes and possibly of the customs houses.
Further on, Fino asked the involvement of the Multinational forces during the electoral process for creating a more secure environment in the country.
Fino stressed that: "We have not asked the changing of the mandate of this force, but a more flexible interpretation of this mandate, so that it clearly responds to the Albanian reality.
Forlani considered very positive the relations of the Multinational Forces with the Albanian government and expressed the commitment to consider their mission in a wider diapason. He vowed to find the ways and avenues to create a concrete ground for the issues discussed.
Also attending the meeting were Justice Minister Spartak Ngjela, Secretary of State of Foreign Ministry Pavli Zeri and the diplomatic advisor to the Alba operation commander, ambassador Ungaro. s.sh/jz/lm/z
 FIVE KILLED IN CERRIKCERRIK, MAY 23 (ATA)- By P. Zekthi, A bloody gun battle was fought today between a group of gunmen and the special forces arriving from Tirana. The number of the killed from among the special forces has reached five, four of whom burnt in an armoured car.
This information was also confirmed by doctor Behar Gjevori at the surgery hospital of Elbasan district.
Meanwhile the armed group is said to have mined a block of flats, but the group of specialists to defuse the mine had not reached the town until 14.00.
The situation in the Cerrik town is extremely tense. The vehicles entering the town are checked by gunmen, who do not allow access of "undesirables". jz/lm/Z
 PETITION FOR RELEASE OF ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS SIGNED IN KOSOVAPRISHTINE, MAY 23 (ATA)- By B.Jashari, A petition was signed in Kosova for releasing all the political prisoners, Albanians, for stopping legal proceedings and arbitrary arrests of the citizens, as well as maltreatment at Serb police offices or Serb prisons' cells.
This petition, as reported today, has so far been signed by 40 000 citizens of the Republic of Kosova. The signing continues. The petition will be sent to international factors, to exert pressure on Belgrade's regime.
The petition is being signed at a time when hundreds of political prisoners are suffering in the Serb barracks, when the Albanians' arrests and maltreatment are daily, and when a new series of political trials has begun for another 60 Albanians. lp/jz/lm /Z
 ALBA MISSION DOES NOT UNDERTAKE TO CHECK BORDER CROSSING POINTSTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA)-By F.Nikolla, Italian General Luciano Forlani, Commander of the Multinational Protection Force, during a meeting today with Albanian Prime Minister Fino, did not undertake to guard the border crossing points and check their customs.
"Although not belittling the importance of checking the border crossing points, "Alba" does not undertake it as it is not included in the tasks envisaged by the mandate," Giovani Bernardi, spokesman of the MPF's press said.
As regards the development of the electoral process contacts have been established with the OSCE and ODIHR representatives to verify the support the MPF can give to their bodies in carrying out their task of monitoring the electoral process," Colonel-lieutenant Bernardi said.
General Forlani voiced his opinion to Prime Minister Fino that:"the MPF has implemented on a broad basis the assigned mandate."
"Alba", he said, has projected the deployment in a short term of a part of these forces in several areas where actually there is no standing presence of the MPF."
The MPF has several plans for its further extension but it is not yet decided which plan will be applied. So far, the military contingent is planned to extend towards Shkoder and Sarande. jz/lm/Z
 FOOD AID FOR REMOTE AREASTIRANA, MAY 23 (ATA)- By F. Nikolla, The programme of aid for Albania reports that wheat flour and biscuits, rich in proteins, arrived yesterday in Durres port by the "Vieko" ship.
The World Food Programme, WFP, reports that the ship unloading has begun today.
The Wheat flour is a donation of the Norwegian government and is the first contingent of an amount of 15 000 tonnes requested by the WFP for Albania.
This amount also includeS other aid that the U.S., Netherlands and Israel have provided for Albania.
The amount provided by Norway amounts to 6287 tonnes. Meanwhile, the WFP is reported to continue to issue demands for other donors to meet the needs. jz/lm/Z
 4 000 DOLLARS FOR 3 TV APPARATUSESTIRANE, MAY 23 (ATA) - By P Shuteriqi: Within the first 10 days of June, the families in Tirana will have the possibility to watch again in their TV sets the programs of RAIUNO, Canale 5 and Retequatro of the Italian magnate, Berlusconi.
According to the secretary of the Tirana Municipality, Kleanthi Kekezi, with an investment of 4 000 dollars INSIG makes possible the resumption of these transmissions in Tirana after a period of interruption of 3 months. The 4000 dollar investment will be used mainly to buy the apparatuses for the retransmission of the three Italian TV channels. jz/xh
 ASSISTANCE BY AUTOCHEPHALOUS ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ALBANIATIRANE, MAY 23 (ATA) - The Autochephalous Orthodox Church of Albania has so far distributed 200 tons of food aid in hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged and poor families in various zones of Albania, press office of this Church reports.
Additionally, during the coming three months, 3500 tons of emergent aid is envisaged to be distributed. The total value of the assistance amounts to about 1 047 800 dollars. Besides, medicines and vaccinations will also be distributed.
With the fund of 350 000 dollars by the World Council of Churches, the office Diaconia Agapes (Service of Love) and the social office of the Orthodox Arch-Bishopric, during the coming three months, aid for over 25 000 individuals throughout Albania will be delivered. ssh/jz/xh
 "THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD DISCUSS MORE DETAILS WITH OSCE" - GodoTIRANE, MAY 23 (ATA) - By Atlant Frasheri: The chairman of the Republican Party Sabri Godo recommenDed the Albanian Government after the reply of Mr Vranitzky for the demands of some parties of Albania for an intesive monitorinG of the poll, that it should take some measures to smooth the road towards elections.
"Initially it must discuss in details with OSCE what an intensive monitoring is, how far is it extended and which are its modalities, the government must also know if the logistic basis of the elections must be ensured," said RP chairman Sabri Godo after a meeting in the Council of Ministers today between Premier Bashkim Fino and the parties.
The parties taking part in the round table discussion after their demands were sent to Mr Vrnitzky, said that if the demands were not fulfilled they would not take part in elections. Yesterday, the Socialist Party declared it would participate in the ballot, leaving other parties to support it in adopting their decisions.
Godo, like other party leaders, asked the Government to lift the state of emergency.
Godo told reporters that he had asked Mr Fino that the Goverment must discuss with OSCE the role that the multinational force in Albania should play in securing the roads and the traffic and especially during the period of elections.jz/xh
 ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES EVENT IN CERRIK, PREMIER FINO MEETS WOUNDED POLICEMENTIRANE, MAY 23 (ATA) - Under the direction of the Prime Minister Bashkim Fino, Albanian Government today discussed in an extraordinary meeting the tragic event in the town of Cerrik, in which five interior Ministry forces were killed. The Interior Minister Belul Celo informed the Council of Ministers on the circumstances of the event and the measures to be taken to clear it out.
The Council of Minister would convene on May 24 after analysis of the event in the structures of the Interior Ministry in the center and in the district level will be made.
Today in the evening, Prime Minister Fino, accompanied by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Ekrem Kastrati, Interior Minister, Belul Celo, Minister of Health, Astrit Kalenja and the Secretary of State in the Defence Ministry, Ali Kazazi, went to the Military Hospital of Tirane to visit the policemen who were wounded in clashes in Cerrik town.
In the name of the Government of National Reconciliation, Mr Fino expressed to the families, relatives and friends of the victims his condolence and grief.
After briefed by the leading staff of the hospital, Mr Fino said to them to do everything possible to save the lives of the wounded policemen and wished them a quick recovery.
Proceding from the grave event, Mr Fino expressed the conviction that the forces of order would know to respond the acts of violence with the force of law, in protection of the life, tranquillity and security of the citizens. xh
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