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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 98-01-28

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency


  • [01] PRESS REVIEW (1)
  • [02] Press review (2)
  • [03] Press review (3)
  • [04] Parliament speaker says road to constitutional process is open
  • [05] Prosecutor's office: We know who committed terror in Shkoder
  • [06] Albanian, Italian prosecutors' offices to have concrete working relations
  • [07] NATO pledges aid for Albanian army
  • [08] Albania's premier responds to European troika's suggestions
  • [09] Killer of Italian citizen detained
  • [10] Soros finances new youth sports associations
  • [11] Serb military and police forces move near Drenice in Kosove
  • [12] University departments to be institutionalised
  • [13] Kosova Democratic Forum calls for reaction before it is too late
  • [14] Senior judiciary officials fail to pass scrutiny test
  • [15] Killer of Italian citizen detained
  • [16] Albanian President condoles with family of Italian businessman Rossi
  • [17] Italian investors express readiness to continue work in Albania
  • [18] NATO gives priority to Albania
  • [19] Wishes of Albanian President Meidani on Bairam
  • [20] Foreign aid to continue for justice system in Albania
  • [21] Mass on first anniversary of death of Cardinal Mikel Koliqi held
  • [22] Albanian Ambassador in Paris meets Boutros Ghal
  • [23] Albanian representatives to discuss problems of local government in Strasbourg
  • [24] Discharge of official, who fails to pass scrutiny test, soon in Parliament's agenda - Gjinushi
  • [25] Dossier for Berisha to be opened; his figure has never been scrutinized - Gjinushi
  • [26] NATO asks Albania to continue policy of calming down conflicts in the Balkans
  • [27] European Commission allocates 150 million ECUs for 8th corridor
  • [28] Pretext by opposition to slow down constitutional process have no logic - Meidani

  • [01] PRESS REVIEW (1)

    TIRANA, Jan 28 (ATA) - The response in writing of the Albanian prime minister Fatos Nano on Tuesday to the letter of the OSCE representative office in Tirana, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and European parliament, which urged all the political forces to declare their opinions in writing on the Troika statement, is covered by today's press.

    "Nano: Here are the troika's commitments," is the title of the article of the daily Koha Jone. "We will carry out all your suggestions," this is the core of Nano's response to this statement.

    It quotes Nano as saying "The written commitment of all the political forces will help sensitize Albania, not only for political and economic reforms underway, but also as a guarantee not to allow the repetition of these actions, which aim at damaging the political balances and constitution order."

    The daily Shekulli says "Prime minister Nano called on other political groups representing the minority, to join the process suggested by the European troika and the philosophy of cohabitation applied by the Albanian government."

    The Democrats reacted immediately after Nano's statement on Troika's, the daily Koha Jone said quoting Ylli Vejsiu, the DP leader, as saying "It is a statement, which should be hailed sincerely. The tendency to create a quieter climate, free of artificial political conflicts, should be one of the main concerns of the politicians both of the ruling coalition government and opposition."

    "The Troika's statement encouraged the political constructive dialogue," is the title of the article carried by Zeri i Popullit on Nano's response to the troika's suggestions.

    Rilindja Demokratike under the title "Nano, the last to speak," says "It was the letter of the OSCE mission in Tirana which obliged him to express his view on the points of the consulting package addressed to the government.


    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] Press review (2)

    Today's newspapers highlight the dialogue between the European Union (EU) and Albania in Brussels.

    "E.U.: Tirana passed the test, now its our term," is the title of the daily Gazeta Shqiptare which says that Paskal Milo is given the green light for aid and political support by the ministers of the European Union.

    "You are O.K. and we will be the same," this is the message of the 90- minute political dialogue between the E.U. and Albania in Council of Ministers headquarters in Brussels.

    "Only three days after the other Europe, that of the political circles, said Yes to Nano, the European Union hurried to cement its stand guaranteeing an ongoing aid, and money for Albanians of all levels and colours," the same daily says.

    Koha Jone quotes Milo, Foreign minister, as saying "Brussels follows troika," after Albania passed the "European test".

    The daily reports that the British Secretary Robin Cook, who opened the political dialogue between Albania and E.U., said "This dialogue is organised to give an impetus to Albania-E.U. relations."

    The meeting confirmed the support for the reforms undertaken by the Albanian government in overcoming the crisis and urged the DP to return to parliament and take part in drawing up the constitution.

    Foreign policy commissioner of the E.U. Van Den Broek suggested that the "reform in administration should know only professional nor political criterion."

    The daily Shekulli under the title "E.U - Albania, an evident progress," dwells on the analysis of the work of the Albanian government by the E.U. structures, quoting Van Den Broek saying "Progress has been achieved in macro economic field," and others.

    "We hail the efforts of the Albanian government to emerge Albania from the crisis and reconstruct it. Our aim and wish is to find ways to help Albania," the daily Zeri i Popullit quotes Robin Cook as saying in the Brussels dialogue.

    The daily Dita Informacion also quotes the British Foreign minister.


    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] Press review (3)

    Today's press, referring to the Greek press, reports on money of the pyramid investment schemes which were deposited or hidden in Greece.

    Under the title "Money of pyramid schemes in Greece", the daily Koha Jone, referring to the Greek police staff quotes by the Greek daily Elefterotipia, says that over $40 million have been deposited in the Greek banks by the representatives of the Albanian pyramid schemes.

    History of the money transfer seems to be an early affair, the daily Koha Jone says. It reports that former governor of the Bank of Albania has written to Albania senior officials, including former president Berisha, that "many pyramid investment schemes are transferring the money abroad." A report of the special commission investigating on money laundering said that over 13 billion Drachmas have been laundered in Greece during 1997, or 40 percent of Greece's GDP, the same daily says.

    Sources of the Greek police said that the so-called Albanian mafia ranks first in money-laundering in Greece and these are money gained mainly by the traffic of weapons, drugs and prostitution, the daily Shekulli said.

    "Money-lending 'migrate' to Greece", is the title of the daily Dita Informacion which underlines "experts of transparency believe that these transfers are been carried out in the most critical months Albania experienced, March-June last year."

    The same topic is highlighted by the daily Albania, which reports "Money laundered estimated at 13 billion Drachmas". It also says that the Albanians' money has been deposited in the banks of neighbouring Greece.


    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] Parliament speaker says road to constitutional process is open

    TIRANE, Jan 27 (ATA)-By K.Kostreci, "The road to the constitutional process in Albania, based on the adopted legal procedures, is open," said Skender Gjinushi, speaker of Albanian parliament, at a meeting with the Croat ambassador to Albania, Mladen Juricic.

    "Juricic brought Gjinushi an invitation from the Speaker of the Croat parliament to visit Croatia," the parliament spokesman told ATA.

    "The Balkans badly needs development, emancipation and stability," said Gjinushi, considering dialogue and cooperation the most efficient ways.

    Meanwhile, Juricic said that a closer cooperation between the two countries is in the interest of Albania and Croatia, also considering the fact that this year Croatia leads the Central European initiative.

    Responding to Juricic's interest in Albania's latest developments, Gjinushi said that the fact that the three European institutions: OSCE, European Parliament and the Council of Europe Assembly, expressed themselves on the developments in Albania through a joint statement, is very important for the democratic developments in Albania.

    Gjinushi invited Croatia to increase investments in Albania, "because Albania is going towards stability and normality".

    "Your visit to Croatia will provide more security to the Croat investment," Juricic told Gjinushi.

    He expressed the interest of the Croat oil company "Ina" to continue oil research work in the zone of Vlore. lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] Prosecutor's office: We know who committed terror in Shkoder

    TIRANE, Jan 27 (ATA)-By Th. Thanasi, The arrested for the Shkoder event, with a group of armed men creating terror inside the city's police station, on streets and wounded two police officers, have explained what happened and the prosecutor's office, based on the inquiries, has defined the persons responsible who directly took part in the criminal activity.

    "The inquiries into the Shkoder event are underway," Prosecutor General Arben Rakipi told ATA.

    "Cooperation with the Interior Ministry will help catch the persons involved in these penal acts," Rakipi says, adding that "the arrested have explained what has happened and the execution of the decisions taken by the prosecutor's office is expected by the police".

    Rakipi said that for investigation reasons, the prosecutor's office decisions will not be made public.

    Asked whether there will be other arrests, Rakipi said that "I know that the investigation has been carried out correctly and the persons directly involved in the Shkoder event are defined." lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] Albanian, Italian prosecutors' offices to have concrete working relations

    TIRANE, Jan 27 (ATA)-By Th. Thanasi, Cooperation and mutual relations, materialised with a clear vision of the future, were the conclusions of the talks of the high ranking delegation of the Albanian Prosecutor's Office, headed by Attorney General Arben Rakipi, and the Italian counterparts of the Anti-mafia Prosecutor's office and that on other issues.

    Italian prosecutors, both of the Anti-mafia and of ordinary events, are interested that the relations with Albania and the Albanian prosecutors be strengthened. This will help fight and prevent criminal activity in both countries, as there have been many concrete cases in which the criminal activity is prepared in Albania and with Italy suffering the consequences and vice-versa, Rakipi told ATA.

    Rakipi says that an exchange of visits in the future will create concrete working relations, also allowing joint investigations into issues concerning the two countries. These bilateral relations are thought to be established first in the prosecutor's officers in Tirane, Vlore and Durres.

    The visit of the Albanian prosecutors to Italy lasted three days. Besides the Attorney General, the Albanian delegation also consisted of the first prosecutors of the districts of Tirane, Durres and Vlore. The Albanian delegation was also received by the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Alberto Maritati.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] NATO pledges aid for Albanian army

    TIRANE, Jan 27 (ATA)-By Th. Thanasi, Security policy, civil and institutional relations and budget handling and draft were the topic of discussion between the representatives of the Interior Ministry, headed by State Secretary for Defence Policy Perikli Teta and the NATO delegation, at the Defence Ministry on Tuesday.

    "Your presence is the greatest guarantee and the clearest expression of Albania's cooperation with NATO. The aid provided by this organisation to construct the Albanian army is immense and we greatly appreciate it," Teta said.

    The head of the NATO delegation, Ulcich Branderburg, said that NATO and the other countries "will provide Albania with a great assistance for the reconstruction of democratic state institutions and the army as an important part of the democratic state".

    The NATO experts team will offer opinions and assistance regarding civil control in the armed forces, increase of their efficiency, civil education, the army's relations with the society, with the media, and the complexity of relations in the military.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] Albania's premier responds to European troika's suggestions

    TIRANA, Jan 27 (ATA) - Albania's prime minister Fatos Nano welcomed the letter of the OSCE representative office in Tirana also on behalf of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe and European parliament, which urged response in writing for some suggestions presented recently by the European troika, a spokesman of the prime minister said on Tuesday.

    Nano, on behalf of the coalition government he led, considered the suggestions of Troika as a "concrete commitment and aid of the Democratic Europe for the efforts undertaken by the coalition government to encourage the political, constructive dialogue in Albania."

    "In support of the statement of the European troika, analysing the situation in Albania, political, social and economic situation, the Albanian government expresses its readiness to be engaged in fulfilling the process of drawing up the constitution successfully, of normal monitoring of parliament, guaranteeing independence of judiciary, equal rights of competition in media trade and implementing an administrative reform in conformity with international standards," Nano said.

    He believed that "a written commitment of all political forces will help stabilize Albania, which will be an institutional basis not only for political and economic reforms underway but also a guarantee that none of the groups engaged in the communication will not repeat actions, which damages political balances and constitutional order."

    On this occasion Prime Minister Nano calls again on other political groups of the minority to join the process suggested by the European Troika and the philosophy of coexistence implemented by the Albanian government, putting an end to the strategy of parliamentary boycott, destabilisation of public order, indictments brought against media, inspiration of acts to violate and ignore the law by local government representatives or officials affected by the reform in public sector, be they mayors, police chiefs, judges or others.

    Nano also welcomes the statement of the U.S. State Department in support of the processes of reconstruction and building of the Albanian state, with the conviction that a close Euro-Atlantic coordination will help create a normal political-economic atmosphere and overcome problems of security in Albania.

    In conclusion, Nano assures the Euro-Atlantic allies that "the coalition government as well as the political majority it runs will evaluate and use with efficiency the political and financial aid and support provided by the international community for Albania's reconstruction, not allowing abuses, which have gravely damaged the image of Albania in the West of late".

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] Killer of Italian citizen detained

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA)-By S. Spahiu, One of the assassins of the Italian citizen, Stefano Rossi, was detained early on Wednesday.

    Sources of the Interior Ministry told ATA that citizen Ilir Avdillari, 30, who, together with his brother, Nazmi Avdillari, born and living in Yzberisht, Tirana suburb, are accused of killing the Italian citizen, 24, owner of a shoe factory, has been detained.

    Another person, member of the Yzberisht band, whose name is not made known for investigation reasons, has also been detained.

    This band, according to confessions by the arrested themselves, is charged with around 20 crimes, such as murder and robbing.

    The Albanian police managed to identify the killers immediately after the incident. They are the brothers Nazmi Avdillari, 26, and Ilir Avdillari, 30, convicted several times. Both have been persons in the run by police for killing and theft.

    Stefano Rosi, owner of the "Niki Shoe" factory, which produces shoes, was returning to his factory at 10.30. a.m. with some 20 million lira for his workers' salaries Police, which detained Ilir Avdillari, have blocked the site of the crime and have been engaged in tracking down the other. s.s/lm/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] Soros finances new youth sports associations

    TIRANA, Jan 28 (ATA) - By P. Shuteriqi: One of the projects of the Soros Foundation program on development of education in Albania is that of setting up new youth sports associations.

    "This project will be carried out by Soros Foundation and the fund is estimated at $ 60 thousand," Olton Hysenbegasi, ADEP manager said to ATA.

    Such association will operate in the cities of Tirane, Vlore, Shkoder and Belsh, Elbasan, where the youths will take part in aerobics, mini football, basketball and volleyball.

    So far this project "has been applied in Tirana, Vlora and will be soon applied in Belsh and Shkoder," Hysenbegasi said.

    The Soros project foresees the setting up and functioning of such structures in 22 eight years schools and secondary schools, respectively 5 in Tirane, Belsh and Shkoder, and seven others in Vlore, with four thousand students.

    Equipment and appropriate sports environments in schools and training of 15 teachers of physical education will be fulfilled within a two-to- three year period.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] Serb military and police forces move near Drenice in Kosove

    PRISHTINE, Jan 28 (ATA)- Movements of Serb military and police forces were noticed in regions of the Vushtrise commune, neighbouring Drenice, in Kosove, yesterday.

    Police forces were sent towards Drenice yesterday also from Kline. A police helicopter flew for several hours over Kline and its suburbs, which continue to be under the Serb police tight control, sources of the DLK and the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosova say.

    Besides police forces, Serb paramilitary forces of the known Serb criminal, Arkan, who has committed crimes during the Bosnia war, are also reported to have been sent to the Skenderaj county, in Drenice. b.j/p.ta/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [12] University departments to be institutionalised

    TIRANA, Jan 28 (ATA) - By P. Shuteriqi: Academic and scientific council of the Tirana University discussed on Wednesday the institutionalization of departments to influence life in faculties.

    "Normalization of the university life and definition of norms in conformity with the law on higher education and its status were some of the problems dwelt on by the council," Maranglen Spiro, university rector said to ATA on Wednesday.

    They insisted on "institutionalizing department as a fundamental education and scientific unit in faculty with the attributes known by law."

    Maintaining some of the traditions from previous chairs and sections, they asked for "independence of these departments in conformity with university autonomy."

    The Tirana University, which numbers 620 teachers, has seven faculties where the previous chairs are turned into sections and 42 existing departments in "small deanery grouping some sections and organising all the education and scientific activity."

    The work "is going well and it is preceding the elections of university senate," the rector said adding that the respective sections and departments are considering curriculum vitae of every teacher to define the volume of their scientific work. ssh/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [13] Kosova Democratic Forum calls for reaction before it is too late

    PRISHTINE, Jan 28 (ATA)-The political parties united in the Democratic Forum of Kosova (FDK), through an appeal addressed to the Contact Group, U.N General Assembly, OSCE and European Parliament, express concern with the possibility of a serious escalation of the situation in Kosova, after the latest crackdown expedition of the Serb police forces in Prekaz of Drenice, the Kosova Information Centre reports.

    The appeal says that that the fresh memory of the macabre scenes of Bosnia is awakened by reports that leaders of the Serb paramilitary forces have been seen in Prekaz.

    The FDK warns that "an eventual conflict provoked by the Serbs in Kosova, is likely to extend further under the current circumstances".

    The forum supports the proposals for an international conference on Kosova which will pave the way for the German-French initiative, as an initiative "which considers the Kosova issue more closely and seriously".

    FDK also calls for a more effective diplomatic pressure on the Serb regime to enable the beginning of an Albanian-Serb dialogue, mediated by an international authority side, and which would immediately be followed by an international conference on Kosova. p.ta/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [14] Senior judiciary officials fail to pass scrutiny test

    TIRANA, Jan 28 (ATA) - By K. Kostreci: The state control on scrutiny of senior officials' figure asked the presidency of the Albanian parliament and Council of Ministers to discharge two senior officials nominated by these bodies because they failed to pass the scrutiny test.

    "These officials should leave the post within 15 days. They have the right to appeal in the Appeal Court and if the above bodies do not reach a decision, I am obliged to make public their names," Nazif Bezhani, head of the scrutiny commission, said on Wednesday.

    Bezhani refused to make public the names and asked the same by the nomination bodies.

    He added that the commission reached these conclusions after reconsidering the archives of SHIK, Interior Ministry, State archives and those of Defence Ministry.

    Bezhani said that these officials rejected to meet the head of the commission and were not present at the meeting.

    Based on the provisions of the law 8043, dated 30,11,1995, the decisions of this commission are compulsory for the nomination bodies, excluding any possibility of cancellation or reexamination by them.

    The latest amendments to the law also envisage the institute of decision reexamination, but this is a right of the commission of law violation is ascertained.

    "Today we examined mainly the Justice bodies. We will concentrate on these structures in February, not leaving aside the bodies of Public Order, NIS, and those of the state," said Bezhani.

    He said that the control of the archives documentation on those nominated by decree of the President of the Republic, according to the request issued from the presidency, including government members, Diplomatic Corps and other bodies, is envisaged for February.

    Bezhani expressed the view that now the composition of the Commission is not only complete but also pure. s.s/ak/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [15] Killer of Italian citizen detained

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA)- By Th. Thanasi: The police directorate, in cooperation with the forces of police commissariat no. 2 and 4 detained early on Wednesday the citizen Nazmi Avdillari, 26, inhabitant of Yzberisht, Tirana, accused of killing the Italian national, Stefano Rossi, 24, owner of a shoe-factory in Kombinat quarter.

    "Avdillari was detained on Wednesday at 04:00 in Sukth, district of Durres, in the house of his friends, where he was hidden," sources from the Tirana police directorate reported to ATA.

    "The operation for the detention of the perpetrators began right after the crime," said the director of the Tirana police, Fadil Cani. After the control of the zone, "several weapons and material proofs were found on the spot, blaming the culprits."

    There is enough evidence for Nazmi, charging him with the murder of the Italian owner, sources from the Interior Ministry report. Meanwhile, the order forces are engaged in tracking the other perpetrator, Ilir Avdillari, the brother of the detained.

    Another person, member of the Yzberisht band, whose name is not made known for investigation reasons, has also been detained. This band is charged with around 20 crimes, such as murder and robbing.

    Stefano Rosi, owner of the "Niki Shoe" factory, which produces shoes, was returning to his factory at 10.30. a.m. with some 20 million lira for his workers' salaries and Ilir and Nazmi Avdillari ambushed and shot him dead.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [16] Albanian President condoles with family of Italian businessman Rossi

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA) - Albania's President Rexhep Meidani has sent a message of condolences to the family of Italian businessman, who was killed in Tirane on Tuesday, which says: "With great grief I learned of the assassination of your beloved family member, Stefano Rossi in Tirane. The young boy had come from neighbouring Italy to Albania to create jobs and welfare for the workers of his factory and to realise together with them the dreams of fair profit. He represented that group of Italian investors who have deeply felt the thirst of neighbouring Albania to be developed and they are here to contribute to this development. The criminal hand rose against our gratitude for these people and killed Rossi perfidiously.

    I assure you that this killing has deeply moved not only the Albanian workers and friends of Rossi, but the entire public opinion in Albania. I would like you to accept my condolences also as an interpretation of these friendly sentiments." /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [17] Italian investors express readiness to continue work in Albania

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ata) - By Keida Kostreci: Italian investors voiced their readiness on Tuesday in Tirane to continue their investments in Albania despite the event of last Tuesday when an Italian businessman was killed in Tirane.

    The Committee of Italian Entrepreneurs in Albania and a group of investors working in Albania, accompanied by the Adviser of the Italian Embassy, Francesco Azzarello, voiced their readiness in a meeting with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Economy, Anastas Angjeli.

    "Since the beginning of the meeting I conveyed to the Italian group the condolences of this Committee for the killing of the Italian investor Rossi in Albania and assured them that Interior Ministry structures and the Government are predisposed to solve this question and that one of the killers had already been seized," Angjeli told ATA after the meeting.

    In the name of the Parliament and the Government, Angjeli expressed to the investors the appreciation for the great contribution that the Italian state and people are making to assist Albania and especially for the contribution of Italian investors with their investments and the export- import relations, for which Italy takes first place in Albania.

    The Italian investors raised some problems on the legal improvements regarding the ownership, taxes, fiscal system and other issues related with the difficulties they encounter to ensure the respective documentation to get licenses for work in Albania.

    "I think that this dialogue started with this association and with other associations will contribute to the improvement of our legislative work," said Angjeli.

    He assured the Italian investors that the foreign investments in Albania will be more and more guaranteed from the legal point of view. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [18] NATO gives priority to Albania

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - By A. Keko: The development of a suitable structural, procedural and legal framework for an effective democratic control of the army and the sound civil-military relations were in the focus of talks held Wednesday between the Albanian State Minister close to the Council of Ministers, Kastriot Islami, and the NATO delegation, headed by Ulrich Brandenburg, senior official of the Division of Political Affairs in the International Staff of NATO.

    "Albania has priority in NATO plans, said Brandenburgu. The interesting references of the NATO delegation will help the institutionalization of an effective democratic control on the armed forces." He stressed that our contacts with OSCE and the Council of Europe will help both parties to carry on the work started."

    "Our first impression is that Albania has made big progress, while the second impression is that you have already started the work for drafting a new constitution," stressed Brandenburg.

    Islami conveyed to Brandenburg the message of Premier Nano for the precious aid that NATO has pledged for the contemporary institutionalization of all democratic elements regarding the army, as well as his request for a common acceleration of the work in this direction.

    "The democratic and effective control on the armed forces and the sound civil-military relations, as the main objectives of the current Albanian government, are the main conditions for the integration of our army with the armies of other countries, and first with those of NATO," said Islami.

    Further on, he put forward the practises and procedures on defence, pointing out the fact that the President or the Prime Minister should control where, when and how are the armed forces used, because the civilians have the right to take the decision of declaring a war or peace through the parliament elected by the free vote and that the civil supervisors have the right to draft the military policy.

    With regard to the use of military force, Islami said that "Our opinion is unshakeable, everything in this direction should be regulated through rules, without equivoces and in complete accordance with the Leading Code for National Security Issues, approved in the Summit of the Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe (today OSCE) of Budapest in 1994." /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [19] Wishes of Albanian President Meidani on Bairam

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA) - On occasion of Bairam, Albania's President Rexhep Meidani addressed a message to Moslem believers.

    "This celebration, following the days of Ramadan," writes Mr Meidani, "marks for Moslems the end of a period of reflection for the relation of each of them with the spirit, but also for the fact that we all must be united and understand one another, that a rich man understand the poor, living for a short time like them and depriving themselves from some of the material satisfactions in favour of a clean spirit. I believe that this reflection between us will continue, because the efforts of the rich to understand the poor in a country where social problems are a great concern, will help creat a general climate of peace and human love in Albania.

    "Along with the greeting and best wishes," writes President Meidani, "I would like to encourage you to increase your contribution to the fund of the efforts the Albanians are making today for a spiritual enrichment of all, irrespective of their religion. This encouragement is natural in the moment we are passing because I am convinced that the road towards material welfare must pass through that of spiritual enrichment.

    "Having more and more assets is not everything, a rich spirit is the real asset." Only in this way the life of the Albanians will become better, in all the senses and the illusions to reach this point as soon as possible will disappear, leaving less and less room to the evil in our minds and actions," the message of President of Albania, Rexhep Meidani reads in conclusion. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [20] Foreign aid to continue for justice system in Albania

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - Albania's Minister of Justice Thimjo Kondi held Wednesday a meeting with the representative of the European Community in Tirana, Elio Germano. Germano told him that the European Community is ready to complete the aid worth 1.8 million ECU for the justice system in Albania, concerning the rehabilitation of six courts which, according to him, will be of contemporary standards.

    Minister Kondi also met on Wednesday with the Director of the Justice Department in USA, Steven Hargrove, who expressed the readiness to help the Albanian Justice Ministry with the juridical legislation, training of judges, judicial police and the staff of prisons. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [21] Mass on first anniversary of death of Cardinal Mikel Koliqi held

    SHKODER, Jan 28 (ATA) - By Myfit Malja: On occasion of the first anniversary of the death of first Albanian Cardinal, Mikel Koliqi, a mass was conducted on Wednesday in the Cathedral Church of Shkoder.

    Attending the mass were thousands of believers and the chairman of the Bishop Conference, My Lord Rrok Mirdita, the secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Albania, Benardito Anu and the Bishop of Mirdite, My Lord Angjelo Masaro.

    The mass was conducted by My Lord Rrok Mirdita, Angjelo Masaro and assistant bishop of Shkoder, Zef Simoni. The latter said among others that "today we are commemorating a death as well as a revival. The life of Cardinal Koliqi passed through a number of sufferings, as were his many years in the prisons of the dictatorship. But he did never separate from religion. With the triumph of the democratic processes, he made a valuable contribution to the revival of religion. He was not only a clerical, but also a distinguished musician. Mikel Koliqi was the first Albanian Cardinal ordained by Pope John Paul 2 in 1994."

    Then, the senior emissaries of Catholic religion and family members of Koliqi placed bouquets of flowers in the crypt of the Cathedral Church where Cardinal Koliqi was buried. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [22] Albanian Ambassador in Paris meets Boutros Ghal

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - On the verge of the Ministerial Conference of the countries of the Franco-phone Forum, to be held in Paris on February 9-10, 1998, the Albanian ambassador in the Republic of France, Luan Rama, met with the Secretary General of Franco-phony, former Secretary General of UNO, Boutros Boutros Ghal.

    Sources from the Foreign Ministry report that Rama conveyed to Gahl the greetings of Albania's President Rexhep Meidani, with the wish for a rapid integration of Albania into all the structures of Franco-phony.

    Gahl said that "with the restoration of order and tranquility, in the spirit of a national conciliation and cooperation, I am convinced that Albania will find its integration in the way of the country's democratization." He said that he will begin his first visit in Franco-phone countries in June of this year in Albania. "We will work together, so that Albania will profit from all the programs of Franco-phony," said Gahl.

    He mentioned economy, culture, science, education, communication, and others, as priority fields of the aid for Albania. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [23] Albanian representatives to discuss problems of local government in Strasbourg

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - By K. Shehu: The problems of domestic democracy and partial local elections will be on the focus of discussions of the Albanian delegation in the meeting "AD HOC GROUP," of the local authorities of the Council of Europe, which will be held on January 31 in Strasbourg.

    This was reported to ATA by Tirana Mayor Albert Brojka, who is also member of the Albanian delegation, headed by the State Secretary for the Local Government, Lush Perpali. Attending the delegation will be also the chairwoman of the district council of Tirana, Hatixhe Kellezi.

    Now there are in Strasbourg the representatives of Albanian Parliament, deputy speaker Namik Dokle, the chairman of the parliamentary group of the Democratic Party, Genc Pollo, as well as the deputies Haxhi Aliko and Jonuz Begaj, who will discuss about these problems.

    According to Tirana Mayor, "there are four points in the agenda of the meeting, which have to do with problems of local government in our country, discussions which will be held in form of questions and answers."

    In the focus of discussions will be also the information of the Secretariat of Local Government of the Council of Europe since the election day on June 29 and up to now, the report of Mr. Pelegrini, who has been the envoy of the Council of Europe in Albania since 28-29 October, 1997, regarding the meetings held with representatives of local and central government. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [24] Discharge of official, who fails to pass scrutiny test, soon in Parliament's agenda - Gjinushi

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - By A. Simoni: The request of the state control commission on scrutiny of senior officials' figure, named by the People's Assembly, will be soon introduced in the agenda of parliament and will be examined within two weeks, Albanian Speaker Skender Gjinushi told ATA on Wednesday.

    "We have asked from the state commission on scrutiny of figure of senior judiciary officials, who depend on us: the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, and the reply in writing arrived today," said Gjinushi.

    "We hope he will be the only one," ended Speaker Gjinushi, regarding the senior official who failed to pass the scrutiny test of the commission, headed by Nafiz Bezhani; the same commission also requested on Wednesday the discharge of another official, depended by the Council of Ministers. /s.s/mt/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [25] Dossier for Berisha to be opened; his figure has never been scrutinized - Gjinushi

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA) - By Aurel Simoni: "Also the figure of President Sali Berisha must be re-verified, although, in fact, his figure has never been scrutinized," the Chairman of the Presidency of the People's Assembly, Skender Gjinushi told ATA on Wednesday.

    "Berisha's figure has never been verified because the law, drafted in 1995, was not applied for the people elected before January 1996," said Gjinushi, adding that "the association of the formerly politically persecuted did not complain of this, as it is doing now, demanding that the law be amended."

    The chairman of the Commission for the Scrutiny of the Senior Officials, Nafiz Bezhani, declared for Koha Jone on Wednesday that "only the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Parliament Speaker have the authority to demand the verification of the figure of Sali Berisha."

    "Now all deputies and former deputies must be scrutinized - said Gjinushi - because some of them have forgotten who they are: the Democrats, who once shouted for the verification of figures, must now understand that the law will be applied to the letter."

    "The law on the verification of the figures was drafted in 1995 not to discharge people from their posts but to keep them in the posts they had - said Gjinushi, adding that the former deputy Interior Minister, Agim Shehu and deputy Azem Hajdari continued to hold their posts, although the DP newspaper Rilindja Demokratike wrote for Azem Hajdari, when he was involved in trade union activity, that Hajdari is an "agent."

    "With the amendments to the law made by Nafiz Bezhani - said Gjinushi, - the law was improved and it is the first time now that it is being correctly observed." /s.s/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [26] NATO asks Albania to continue policy of calming down conflicts in the Balkans

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: NATO Secretary General Javier Solana has voiced his concern about the situation in Kosove and has asked Albania to continue the policy of dialogue and the calming down of conflicts in the Balkans.

    "We have demanded a greater pressure by international institutions on Belgrade which must follow a policy of detente, a fact which found consensus also in the Crete Summit," said Albania's Foreign Minister, Paskal Milo in a news conference on Wednesday after a visit to Brussels.

    Milo said that he had explained in his meeting with Mr Solana the Albanian policy of good neighbourliness and the peaceful way for the solution to the problems.

    "Treating the question of Kosova as a national issue, we have demanded that it be really solved through a peaceful way and dialogue, but we also asked that it be not seen only as a question of human rights and as a national issue of Serbia," said Milo.

    He stressed that the European Union has demanded from Belgrade to launch a positive political signal, by observing the agreement on education he has signed with Prishtine.

    "We see the solution to the question of Kosova not as a single act but as a continuous process," said Milo.

    During the meeting that Milo had with Solana on Monday, the latter stressed that the viewpoints of the Albanian Government on the question of Kosova have had the unreserved support of the international community, adding that more pressure should be exerted on Belgrade. /s.s/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [27] European Commission allocates 150 million ECUs for 8th corridor

    TIRANA, Jan. 28 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: The European Commission has approved the aid worth 150 million ECUs for the 8th road corridor, a project which will start to be implemented in March of this year in the segment of the road Durres-Rrogozhine.

    Albania's Foreign Minister, Paskal Milo told Wednesday a news conference, after a visit in Brussels, that the inauguration ceremony for the 8th road corridor will be also attended by the commissioner Van den Brook.

    "The Greek party has no rejections regarding the 8th corridor, on the contrary it has voiced the will to be connected with this corridor through vertical lines," said Milo.

    He stated that Albania was fully supported by the European Union regarding the economic projects.

    Milo informed that the European Commission will hold a meeting in February, in which it will analyse the stages of the aid for Albania, what has been realised and what not, aiming at accelerating the aid for Albania.

    The aid of the European Community from 1991 until 1996 reaches the amount of 557 million ECUs. EU decided to offer Albania in the International Conference of Donors in October 1997 some other 100 million ECUs. The PHARE program in 1998 will enable the allocation of another amount worth 42 million ECUs for Albania.

    The Humanitarian Office of the European Community has contributed with another donation since the beginning of the crisis in Albania. /s.s/mt/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [28] Pretext by opposition to slow down constitutional process have no logic - Meidani

    TIRANE, Jan 28 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: "There is no logic in the fact that on the one hand the opposition agrees on the integral text of the Constitution and on the other hand it finds pretexts to slow down its process," Albanian President, Rexhep Meidani told the Italian paper Avvenire on Wednesday.

    But, according to the President, the greatest threat to Albania comes from the local social problems accumulated under communism but which have aggravated in the past years, especially during the period of crisis.

    "The killed and the injured in the recent days show how serious is the fight we are staging against trafficking and organized crime which, directly or indirectly, are being encouraged by political tensions," the paper cites Mr Meidani.

    Speaking of the situation in Albania six months after the installation of the new government, Meidani said that some objectives have been met, such as the establishment of the public order, the recovery of institutions and the improvement of some laws.

    "We are in the first steps of a process whose destiny is to go ahead, then the work for the drafting of the new Constitution will be decisive, above all, to divide clearly the powers, and for the independence of magistrature," stressed Meidani.

    According to him, still the judiciary is not yet functional and many sentences are wrong, but the state is fighting that the judiciary be independent.

    With regard to the question of Kosova, the President said that "we are facing a situation of a strong conflict which arouses fear" and calls for an urgent intervention of the international community. xh/

    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at

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