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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 98-03-10

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency

CONTENTS

  • [01] Confirmation of good Albanian-Greek relations
  • [02] Cook says Belgrade should begin dialogue with Kosova Albanians
  • [03] Aldona Elezi, Miss Albania '98
  • [04] Kosova Albanians keep fleeing attacked areas
  • [05] Greece: "Greater autonomy for Kosova"
  • [06] Serb forces issue ultimatum to bury Albanians killed in Drenice
  • [07] DP returns to parliament to discuss national issue
  • [08] Socialists greet DP's return to parliament
  • [09] Greece to help implement FIBA program for Albania
  • [10] Contact group's commitment - realistic, necessary action
  • [11] OSCE hails DP's return to parliament

  • [01] Confirmation of good Albanian-Greek relations

    -From visit of President Meidani to Greece- TIRANE, March 9 (ATA)- President of the Republic Rexhep Meidani was received at the Presidential Palace by his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos on Monday by midday.

    Afterwards, formal talks were held between the delegations of the two countries which also signed agreements on cooperation in education and culture and a protocol of cooperation for a joint control of sea borders between the two countries, according to the president's press and information office.

    Later Meidani and Stephanopoulos held a news conference.

    "I have come to Greece to confirm the good relations between our two countries and give a further impulse to cooperation, expressing once again the will of the Albanian state to further promote these relations in all fields of mutual interest," said Meidani.

    Meidani thanked President Stephanopulos and the Simitis government for their special contribution to the successful development of these ties.

    He then dwelt on the issue of the Greek minority in Albania which, "with its aspiration for democracy and development, gives a further impulse to our friendly and fraternal relationship."

    "Also in the future, I assure you that the Albanian state will respect all the rights of the minority according to international standards".

    Referring to the Albanian emigrants to Greece he said that: "We hold that the Albanian emigrants have created today a new bridge of friendship between our two peoples. We evaluate everything the Greek government and especially President Stephanopoulos have done as regards legalisation and improvement of the Albanian emigrants' conditions."

    "I am convinced that we, together, will work still harder to respect and implement the human rights and freedoms in all their aspects."

    "We are pleased to observe support from all political and human forces of both countries for the development of the Albanian-Greek relations. All possibilities exist that they become an example of good neighborliness for the Balkans," he said.

    "Albania sees in Greece a priority partner," said Meidani, adding that "We proved this partnership in the difficult days our people and country underwent, when it provided our country with humanitarian and material assistance. And later, it helped us with the restoration of law and order and economic recovery".

    In the context of the important reforms undertaken by the Albanian state Meidani expressed the wish for the realisation of all agreements signed so far and support from the Greek government and citizens to encourage Greek investments in Albania.

    "We are convinced that the Greek state, in the future too, supports Albania's integration with the Euro-Atlantic structures," Meidani said further on.

    Referring to the worsening of the situation in Kosova, which presents a serious risk for security and peace in the region, Meidani said that "we believe that Greece, as a member country of EU and NANO, employs its role and authority inside European, Euro-Atlantic and international structures to make Belgrade give up violence against the civil population and hold talks to find a lasting solution to the Kosova issue".

    After this meeting Meidani met and held talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Meidani had separate meetings with leaders of Greek parliamentary political forces. /a.ke/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] Cook says Belgrade should begin dialogue with Kosova Albanians

    TIRANE, March 9 (ATA)-By A. Haxhiu.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in a telephone conversation with Albanian Premier Fatos Nano on Monday, considered successful the meeting of the Contact Group and its recommendations on Belgrade, the spokesman of the prime minister says.

    The Contact Group met in London on Monday to examine and take measures for the situation created in Kosova.

    "Based on the document approved, President Milosevic is given a ten days time to publicly engage in opening unconditional dialogue with the Kosova leadership."

    "Otherwise, Russia, too, along with the other countries of the Contact Group, will consider taking a package of tough financial measures against Serbia. Likewise, the member nations also agreed to ban entry in the Yugoslav Federation of all kinds of arms used for repression," said Cook.

    Cook also said that the Contact Group would continue consultations with neighboring countries of the former Yugoslavia, such as Albania and Macedonia.

    To this end, Britain's junior Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd would undertake a diplomatic mission to Tirane and Skopje this week.

    "Albania will continue to be an active partner of the Contact Group and the whole international community in tackling the Kosova issue. Albania expects substantial changes in Belgrade's approach and until the Group's next meeting on March 25, it will make efforts to set forward concrete proposals for a peaceful and acceptable solution for the parties," said Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano.

    Nano hailed the stand of the Contact Group, which did not treat the Kosova issue as an internal affair of the former Yugoslavia.

    "We will keep checking the border and try, through political means, to pacify extreme nationalist tendencies manifested among various Albanian circles." /a.ke/das/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] Aldona Elezi, Miss Albania '98

    TIRANE, March 10 (ATA)-By F. Nikolla, Aldona Elezi, 19, from the town of Burrel, was selected Miss Albania '98, among 31 young women, contesting from throughout Albania and the diaspora at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana on Monday.

    Elezi 1.79 tall, brunette and blue eyed, weighing 59kg, longs to be an actress.

    For the first time Miss Albania '98 was awarded a golden crown, worth $15 000. /s.sh/das/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] Kosova Albanians keep fleeing attacked areas

    PRISHTINE, March 9 -The Kosova Information Service reports: Albanians continue to flee the areas attacked by the Serbian forces. Around 10 000 people have been settled in Mitrovice, Obiliq, Vushtri, Fushe-Kosove and Lipjan. Over 3 500 others have gone to Montenegro.

    Meanwhile, Albanians from several villages of the Gllogoc Commune began to return home today.

    The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms has appealed to the diplomatic missions in Belgrade and organisations concerned with human rights to set up an international commission to identify and carry out the victims' autopsies.

    A similar appeal has also been addressed to the Contact Group, while the International Penal Tribunal in the Hague has been issued a request for an experts' commission to find out the truth and help bring an indictment of war crimes.

    At least 400 people were maltreated in Monday's peaceful protests against Serbian violence.

    Meanwhile, the ATA correspondent in Prishtine, Belul Jashari, referring to a news conference at the Kosova presidency, reports that Serbian forces in Drenice have killed no Albanian terrorist, but killed and massacred Albanian civilians.

    Some 14 women ans 12 children have been killed during the latest military actions and massacres by Serbian forces in Prekaz and Drenice.

    Many killed Albanians have been burnt beyond recognition.

    Albanian sources do not yet have full reports on the Albanians' death toll, but according to several data they are likely to excede 100, according to the news conference of the Kosova presidency. /rxh/pas/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] Greece: "Greater autonomy for Kosova"

    -From the visit of Albanian President Meidani to Athens- ATHENS, March 10/ATA correspondent to Greece Robert Goro reports:

    Under the pressure of tragic events in Kosova Albania and Greece reconfirmed the very good level of their relations.

    Albania's President Rexhep Meidani, who has been visiting Greece since Monday, has met with his counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    They stressed that the current relations do not have problems but only issues which Athens and Tirana are ready to tackle, through mutual understanding, to find appropriate solutions.

    Kosova -the highlight

    The highlight in both meetings was Kosova. Greek President Stephanopoulos stated that they shared the same views as regards the Kosova issue, whose solution should be based on logic and wisdom.

    Meidani also pointed to the role to be played by Greece in this regard, as a European Union and NATO member, to make Belgrade halt violence and open talks to find a right and lasting solution.

    Also, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis dwelt on the Kosova issue in his speech at a dinner given in honour of Mr. Meidani.

    Simitis stood by the Greek stand and stressed that a vicious circle is created in Kosova which should be broken up.

    "The Greek stand is clear," said Simitis. "We condemn separatist tendencies, support the existence of the present states in the Balkans and are against any other change of borders. We unreservedly condemn terrorism, as well as armed repression. We support human rights and denounce any violent repression of free speech."

    "An essential and sincere dialogue is needed to lead to the solution of the problem of the region and recognition of a greater autonomy for Kosova, without changing the borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, " he said.

    Treaty of Friendship ratified

    Talks between the two presidents were crowned with an exchange of dossiers on the ratification of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, which was signed in Tirane on March 21, 1996.

    Speaking of this act, Simitis underlined that the treaty confirms the two countries's respect for the principle of non-violating the respective borders, of territorial integrity and non-interference into internal affairs.

    The Greek minister of the Merchant Fleet and Albanian Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry, Ndre Legisi, signed an agreement on a joint patrol of the sea border by the Albanian border police ans Greek troops, to fight contraband and illegal traffic of emigrants.

    Another agreement, expected to be signed, was that on cooperation in education, but, as the Greek president explained, it was not realised for technical reasons, and which would be carried out right after the respective corrections.

    On the first day of his visit to Athens, the Albanian president had separate meetings with leaders of Greek parliamentary parties.

    On Tuesday he is visiting Athens' Chamber of Commerce. /cela/pas/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] Serb forces issue ultimatum to bury Albanians killed in Drenice

    PRISHTINE, March 10/ ATA correspondent from Prishtine Belul Jashari reports:

    The Serb forces have issued an ultimatum that the 48 killed Albanians be buried today, no later than 13.00, failing this, they warn, the burial will be carried out by the Serb forces.

    The bodies of 48 Albanians, among who 12 children, 14 women and two girls, were transferred yesterday from the Prishtine hospital's mortuary to Skenderaj.

    The relatives of the dead and the people have asked that the victims are not buried before an international commission arrives in Drenice.

    The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (KMDLNJ) in Kosova has asked the Contact Group, numerous international organisations and diplomatic missions to urgently set up an international commission of forensic experts and other specialists to carry out the victims' autopsies, their identification and investigation into the case.

    An experts commission of KMDLNJ coming from Skenderaj to gather evidence of the massacre against Albanians, was forcibly stopped and not allowed by the Serb forces to enter Drenice.

    The Serb forces are also stopping many citizens on their way to take part in the burial, which is not known how and when will be carried out.

    In the meantime U.S. special envoy of President Clinton for the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, who is in Belgrade, is expected to arrive in Prishtine.

    The U.S. senior diplomat today visits Prishtine for the second time in a short a while, because of the tense situation created after Serb massacres in Kosova. /p.ta/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] DP returns to parliament to discuss national issue

    TIRANA, March 10 (ATA) - By A. Haxhiu: National Council of the Demmocratic party (DP) decided on Monday to return to parliament after five months of boycott, sources close to the council said on Tuesday.

    "The DP will return to parliament to defend the national issue and make public its alternatives. We will work in parliament to achieve our aim, the creation of a care taker government," Sali Berisha, the DP leader, told a news conference on Tuesday.

    The DP boycotted parliament on September 18, 1997 after its deputy Azem Hajdari was shot and wounded by former Socialist deputy Gafurr Mazreku. mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] Socialists greet DP's return to parliament

    TIRANA, March 10 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: Socialist parliamentary majority greeted on Tuesday the decision of the Democratic party (DP) to return to parliament after five months of boycott.

    "The DP's decision to return to parliament is a very positive step and continuation of responsible steps of the Albanian political forces after the Kosova events," Pandeli Majko, head of the Socialist parliamentary group said.

    "I would not judge the circumstances of their return to parliament, but hail the DP concrete action," Majko said.

    The decision to return to parliament was taken by the DP national council on Monday.

    The DP leader Sali Berisha said on Tuesday that his party will return to parliament to defend the national issue and make public its alternatives, one of which, as he said, was the creation of a care taker government.

    Before yesterday's national council, some DP deputies headed by Berisha participated in an extraordinary parliamentary session last Thursday to discuss the situation in Kosova, after Majko's invitation.

    Meanwhile, the DP parliamentarians have been present in parliamentary delegations abroad and in meetings with foreign delegations in Albania.

    Head of the DP parliamentary group Genc Pollo has resumed on Tuesday his work in parliament. mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] Greece to help implement FIBA program for Albania

    TIRANA, March 10 (ATA) - By A. Keko: Under secretary general of International Federation of Basketball (FIBA) Patrick Baumann told a news conference on Tuesday that "the Euro Basket 2000 program of assistance" will be successfully implemented in Albania by the powerful Greek Federation of Basketball.

    Present at the news conference was president of the Greek Basketball Federation George Vassilakopoulos, who said that this will be an all-round assistance with seminars of specialists and coaches, tours of Albanian basketball teenager teams to Greece, contacts of basketball leaders and others.

    During its stay in Albania, the high ranking FIBA delegation met with deputy prime minister Bashkim Fino, deputy minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Kreshnik Tartari and deputies of the parliamentary education, science, culture and sports commission and leaders of the Albanian Football Federation (FSHF). ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] Contact group's commitment - realistic, necessary action

    TIRANA, March 10 (ATA) - The Albanian government and all public opinion got acquainted on Monday with the final statement of the Contact Group on the situation in Kosova.

    A spokesman of the Albanian Foreign Ministry said that the Albanian government praised the decision of the Contact Group as realistic and necessary.

    "It is in the interest of the Yugoslav Federal Republic (Serbia and Montenegro) that the Belgrade authorities carry out the recommendations of the Contact Group, stop military operations in Kosova, establish tranquillity for their citizens and bridges of cooperation with the international community. Respect and implementation of recommendations is in the interest of all regional countries and broader because they aim at calming the tensed situation in Kosova and preventing a spillover of the conflict in the Balkan," he said.

    The Albanian government has followed with concern the latest developments in Kosova and has given its maximum and concrete contribution to ease tension and find a solution to the dispute between Belgrade's authorities and Albanians of Kosova through peaceful ways and direct negotiations at the presence of the international side, the spokesman said.

    He added that the Albanian side, on its part, was committed to fulfil all its obligations resulting from the statement of the Contact Group and urged all the warring sides and those concerned to observe them.

    The Albanian government expressed its conviction that the Contact Group, other international organisations and different countries concerned will have their impact in normalising the situation in Kosova and respect all rights of Albanians there on basis of all norms and international documents. ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] OSCE hails DP's return to parliament

    TIRANA, March 10 (ATA) - The OSCE representative office to Albania hailed the decision of the Democratic party (DP) to return to parliament calling it a positive and necessary step for a democratic lasting process and political dialogue in Albania, an OSCE press release said on Tuesday.

    It said that they, especially, hailed the statement of the DP national council quoting the party saying "it commits itself with all democratic means to carry out its aims."

    The international community has long asked for the DP's return to parliament following the appeal of the tri-parliamentary mission in January this year, the press release said.

    It added that they will continue to monitor closely the steps taken by the Albanian government to fulfil the recommendations of the tri- parliamentary mission on the judiciary, the civil services, the media and parliamentary procedures.

    The OSCE and its international partners have started to monitor systematically the parliamentary practices as it has been asked by the statement of January 23, the press release said.

    "We underline the importance of a responsible attitude of all the sides active in parliament and hope that the legislation continues its work and contribute in Albania's political stability and development, the press release ended. ake/ak/


    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at http://www.telpress.it/ata


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