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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 98-02-24

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

Albanian Telegraphic Agency


  • [01] Calm night in Shkoder city
  • [02] Parliament supports government in fight against crime - Dokle
  • [03] Press review
  • [04] Prodi, Vranitzky call Albania's PM
  • [05] Main organiser of attack against police detained
  • [06] Government focuses attention on Shkoder - official
  • [07] Damage to Shkoder university estimated at some $40 000
  • [08] EU says Berisha's failure to keep promise is unacceptable
  • [09] Police arrest three organisers of Shkodra events
  • [10] Albania's foreign minister leaves for Germany
  • [11] Crime escalation - aggressive challenge to state, Helsinki says
  • [12] Meidani encourages AMBO's U.S. entrepreneurs
  • [13] Solana praises Albania's role to safeguard peace, stability
  • [14] Defence ministry denies reports on tanks' movements to Shkodra
  • [15] Albania president meets with Belgian investors
  • [16] Health state of those maltreated by Macedonians is improving
  • [17] Court not to make decisions without reshuffle, Gjata to resign

  • [01] Calm night in Shkoder city

    SHKODER, Feb. 24 (ATA) - The night of Monday was quiet in the town of Shkoder. Different from the previous nights, no gunshots were heard.

    With the arrival of the special forces from Tirana and with the reorganization of local police forces, all the state institutions, which escaped destruction, were taken under complete control. Patrols in the streets of the city have continued all over the night. Work is expected to start in the institutions which were not damaged, as well as the teaching process in all schools of the districts.

    Ali Lacaj, the governor of Shkoder, told ATA that "we are waiting for a government expert team to come to Shkoder and closely see the damages caused and define the measures to avoid them as soon as possible."

    The governor also said that the OSCE ambassador in Tirana, Daan Everts, is expected to come in Shkoder to meet with local authorities.

    Sources from the hospital report that there was no one needing to be taken to the hospital last night. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] Parliament supports government in fight against crime - Dokle

    TIRANA, Feb. 24 (ATA) - By K. Kostreci: Albania's deputy Parliament Speaker Namik Dokle told ATA on Monday evening that "the Albanian parliament will give all the necessary legislative support to the government to fight crime, in general and turn to normal the situation in Shkoder, in particular." He added that this would enable the restoration of tranquility in Shkoder and in the whole Albania.

    Among the measures to be taken by parliament is the urgent examination of the anti-crime package on Tuesday.

    "A paid political gang has acted in Shkoder, whose vanguard is the Tirana gang," said Dokle.

    He added that this gang freed criminals from the prison, torched banks, documents and even cultural objects.

    "At the time when the bandits with masks were torching Shkoder, the bandits without masks were holding news conferences in Tirana," said Dokle further on, referring to the news conference of the Democratic Party head, Sali Berisha, in which, according to Dokle, he did not distance himself from crime and criminals in Shkoder. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] Press review

    TIRANE, Feb 24 (ATA)-The Shkoder event which broke out on Sunday morning with a protest of the local DP at the city's centre and which later turned into a real tragedy, is covered by all Tuesday's newspapers.

    "The chronicle of a night in flames", is a title of Koha Jone which says that fire engulfs the police station, banks, down to the ancient library.

    After the police destructions and burning, the bandits broke into the Post's bank, which was emptied around 19.30, the paper says reporting on the events taking place in this city until Monday 13.30, when special forces arrived bringing under control the city's main institutions.

    The paper also reports on the suspension from duty of lieutenant- colonel Havari and his replacement by Lulezim Smakaj.

    Police sources also report that over 10 persons were arrested at around 13.00 by the special forces.

    Gazeta Shqiptare, relating to this event, reports that Nano called the National Security Committee. "No criminal band can subdue the state and people", was the message of the meeting of ministers Ceka, Brokaj and Klosi yesterday with Albanian Prime Minister. Nano asked at this meeting full engagement of the order and local government structures to calm down the situation.

    Responding to Berisha's accusations of constitutional putsch, the prime minister's spokesman said that "the DP leader has never been a prime minister and he has not considered the prime minister".

    The SPA condemns the vandal acts of the armed bands in the Shkoder city; Zeri i Popullit carries the article:"Berisha's clan , the political rear of the bands". It carries the statement of the government coalition parties, that of the SPA parliamentary group, which denounce the violent Anti-Albanian acts.

    The governor decides: "Emergency situation", under this title Dita Informacion reports on the course of events in Shkoder, stressing that by midday special forces bring the situation under control and in the evening the situation seems calm.

    In contrast, Rilindja Demokratike reports that the Government sets Shkoder to the torch; and Albania continues under the same motto with the article: "The state sets Shkoder on fire"./

    "Europe: Berisha inspires terror" is the title of an article in Koha Jone regarding the telephone talk of Albania's Prime Minister with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Former Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, who reacted harshly and with concrete names to the latest events in Shkoder.

    Prodi and Vrantizky reconfirmed solidarity and maximum support to the number 1 of the Albanian government.

    "Berisha should give up the strategy of tension and boycott of institutions and keep his promises to the International Community," Prodi said in his telephone talk.

    The spokesman of the prime minister says that the number 1 of the Italian government told his Albanian counterpart that, despite the latest developments, all should realise that finally Albania is a country where one can work and invest.

    Gazeta Shqiptare cites Vrantizky as telling Nano in the telephone talk:"The DP and Berisha should be clear that they will be given no chance of revenge, as no one in the West is going to throw away the energy investment and aid spent to return your country to normality".

    The paper says that Prodi guarantees that "Five armoured cars will be provided to the Albanian police, while joint groups of experts will very soon compile a list of priority demands in favour of police".

    Dita Informacion carries an article under the title :"Europe ruins Berisha's credit", while Zeri i Popullit cites Nano as saying "The fact that Berisha did not condemn the bandits who burnt and looted courts, police, libraries and charitable institutions, self-denounces the deliberate political strategy and inspiration ". /

    "Parliament on Tuesday will approve the anticrime package", is a topic reported by a series of today's papers.

    Koha Jone says that "The Council of Ministers yesterday sent to parliament for approval the anti-crime package, proposed by the Interior Ministry and passed by the Government on February 19," the spokesman of the Prime Minister says.

    The government harshly responds to the Shkoder event, says on this issue Gazeta Shqiptare, stressing that now policemen will shoot at sight.

    Parliament on Tuesday will pass the anticrime package, says Zeri i Popullit, while Shekulli says that, in the context of the anticrime measures, the government has approved a full package of laws on public order. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] Prodi, Vranitzky call Albania's PM

    - Berisha should give up strategy of tension and boycott - Prodi

    - No chance of revenge will be given to Berisha's DP - Vranitzky

    TIRANA, Feb. 23 (ATA) - Despite the latest events in Albania, all should realize that finally Albania is a country where one can work and invest, the Italian Premier, Romano Prodi, told Albanian PM Fatos Nano during a telephone talk.

    "I express the solidarity and personal support for you and your government and will urge the Italian government and investors to accelerate projects, programs of assistance and aid for Albania," stressed Prodi.

    He also said that the Italian government will soon turn into reality a medium-term plan for the rehabilitation and equipment of the Albanian police, helping them in the fight against the organized crime in Albania, which, as it seems, has also regional connections.

    Stressing the support for Nano government, the Italian Premier stressed that Sali Berisha should finally give up the strategy of tension and boycott of institutions, and keep his promises to the international community.

    "I know everything happening in Albania, I know who is behind and inspires the crime and terror of recent weeks," the former Austrian chancellor and mediator of the Albanian crisis, Franz Vranitzky, told Premier Nano in a telephone conversation on the same day.

    "As during 1997, I will continue to support the reconciliation initiatives of those forces which work for the prosperity and peace of Albania. Meanwhile, said the former chancellor, I will propose to the circles, governments and international institutions to make clear to the Democratic Party of Sali Berisha that they will be given no chance of revenge, as no one in West is going to throw away the energy investment and aid spent to return your country to normality after last year's crisis.

    At the same time, I will strongly demand the acceleration of international assistance and the beginning of projects for Albania's restoration.

    Thanking the Italian PM and former Chancellor Vranitzky on behalf of the government and the majority he leads, Premier Nano said that the barbarism and crime have caused grave damages in Shkoder, one of the main cities of the Albanian civilization, by destroying, along with the state institutions, also the old library "Marin Barleti," as well as several charity religious institutions.

    We, added Nano, did not doubt on the involvement of Berisha in the recent event of Shkoder, but the fact that he did not condemn the bandits, self-denounces the deliberate political strategy and inspiration." /das/mt/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] Main organiser of attack against police detained

    TIRANE, Feb 24 (ATA)-By Th. Thanasi, One of the main organisers of the band, which stormed the police station in Shkoder and took part in the terror and vandal destructions in this city on Sunday, was detained on Tuesday night, leaders of the Interior Ministry operation tell ATA from Shkoder.

    The police have convincing evidence that Fran Voci was involved in the criminal activity in Shkoder. According to preliminary reports, he is an element trained for terrorism outside the country's borders, the same sources explain.

    During the last night, the special forces, coming from Tirana, in cooperation with the Shkoder police forces, detained three citizens, participants in the banditry acts of February 22 in Shkoder.

    On Tuesday morning the number of the detained, directly involved in this event, reached 17. /s.s/das/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] Government focuses attention on Shkoder - official

    SHKODER, Feb. 24 (ATA) - By M. Malja: Shkoder will be at the center of the Albanian government's attention, Lush Perpali, State Secretary for Local Government, declared Tuesday in the meeting held in the prefecture of Shkoder with local representatives.

    Perpali stressed the quick reorganization of police forces and urged local bodies to make known to the government the cost of damages caused on Sunday in several state institutions.

    Talking about foreign investments in this city, Perpali said that the Italian and Austrian investors have foreseen to implement special projects for the development of the Shkoder region.

    "But the Sunday events show that there are set political forces which do not want foreign investors to come and invest in this town," he said.

    According to the specialist Zef Kodrina, the damages are estimated worth 168 million leks and the institutions that were damaged are the affiliation of the Saving Bank, police headquarters and the courthouse of the district. /

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] Damage to Shkoder university estimated at some $40 000

    TIRANE, Feb 24 (ATA)-By P. Shuteriqi, The damage caused to the Shkoder city "Luigj Gurakuqi" university on Sunday by midnight is estimated at nearly $40 000.

    The armed gang which looted, terrorised and torched Shkoder, the ancient centre of culture, traditions of the Albanian people, did not spare either the temples of knowledge, such as the "Luigj Gurakuqi" university, sources of the Ministry of Education and Science told ATA on Tuesday.

    The ministry's spokesman says that even the library of this university has been ransacked and burnt down.

    Preliminary data show that the official documentation, such as register books and other documents have fortunately escaped damage and have been transferred elsewhere. /s.s/das/lm/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] EU says Berisha's failure to keep promise is unacceptable

    TIRANE, Feb 24 (ATA) - Presidency of the European Union (EU) expressed concern about the events of February 22 in Shkoder and called on opposition forces to integrate into the democratic process, a statement of the present E.U. president, United Kingdom Minister of State Tony Lloyd said on Tuesday.

    "The E.U. is deeply concerned about the violence of February 22 in Shkodra and calls on all political forces to use their influence to avert acts of violence," the statement said.

    "The latest violence makes the return of the Democratic party to parliament and its participation in the Parliamentary commission for constitution more important. The E.U. calls on the opposition to be integrated soon in the democratic process and contribute to Albania's reconstruction," it said.

    "It is unacceptable that Dr Berisha has failed to keep the promise he made to the European parliamentary troika and me personally to return as soon as possible to parliament. The fact that he and his party have taken such a decision is totally contrary to the aim of establishing and stabilising pluralist and democratic institutions in Albania." s.s/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] Police arrest three organisers of Shkodra events

    TIRANE, Feb 24 (ATA) - Albania's special police forces arrested early on Tuesday three persons, inhabitants of Shkoder, who have been among the organisers of the events in the city, a spokesman of the interior ministry said.

    A terrorist armed group attacked late on Sunday the police commissariat of the city of Shkoder taking it under control. The same group ransacked and set fire on some state institutions and "Marin Barleti" library.

    The three were sent immediately to the Tirana prison, the spokesman said in the statement.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] Albania's foreign minister leaves for Germany

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATSH) - By A. Haxhiu - Albania's foreign minister Paskal Milo left on Tuesday for a few-day visit to Bavaria and Baden Wurtemberg states, Germany, at the head of a delegation, a spokesman of the Foreign Ministry said.

    Milo is expected to meet senior personalities such as parliamentarians, state ministers, financial officials and powerful businessmen. ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] Crime escalation - aggressive challenge to state, Helsinki says

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - Albania's Helsinki Committee issued a statement on Tuesday considering very dangerous and grave the escalation of crime in Albania which represents the most aggressive challenge to the state.

    "The repeated violence is undermining the social peace and aims at fully destabilising Albania," the statement said.

    It added that the Shkodra event showed that the order and tolerance are not functioning normally which is very serious phenomenon.

    The Helsinki committee said that "Albania's revival in present situation can be done only through a serious commitment of all state structures and all forces of society united in a unique front against criminality, which has no stripes."

    It said that "the whole Albanian political class either in power or in opposition, is facing a big challenge of responsibility and ability to protect the interests of Albania and nation." ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [12] Meidani encourages AMBO's U.S. entrepreneurs

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - Albania's president Rexhep Meidani met on Tuesday with U.S. entrepreneurs of the American, Macedonian Bulgarian Oil (AMBO) company encouraging them for their work in construction of trans Balkan oil pipe lines, press and information office at the presidency said.

    Meidani praised this project as a concrete proof for the fulfilment of the infrastructure of the East-West corridor, or the eighth corridor, the same source said.

    "This pipe line will help bring closer the regional states with economic cooperation and development facilitating solution of many problems, turning national borders into points of rapprochement and not separation between countries," president Meidani said.

    The U.S. businessmen said they have a powerful financial support by the U.S. government to carry out this project.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [13] Solana praises Albania's role to safeguard peace, stability

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - NATO Secretary General Havier Solana has praised the positive and constructive role Albania is playing to safeguard peace and stability in the region in a letter to the Albanian prime minister Fatos Nano, press and information Department at the Council of Ministers said on Tuesday.

    Solana thanked prime minister Nano for his proposal on a meeting of EAPC ministers for Balkan cooperation in Tirana.

    In his letter, the NATO Secretary General underlined the special importance the Atlantic Alliance devoted to partnership with Albania which is expressed in creation and development of an individual partnership program.

    Solana, who is going to visit Albania this summer, expressed his conviction to promote cooperation with Albania. s.s/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [14] Defence ministry denies reports on tanks' movements to Shkodra

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - By Enkelejda Koraqi: No armoured carrier or tank has moved towards the city of Shkodra, North of Albania, out of a training program of the Defence Ministry, a ministry's spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Recently, some newspapers have reported on an alleged movement of tanks and other armoured carriers to Shkoder with a bad aim of involving the army.

    "This is not true. This is a slander of the above newspapers and an expression of their irresponsibility," Albert Mullai, the spokesman said.

    Late on Sunday, a terrorist group attacked the police station of the city of Shkodra taking it under control. On Sunday midnight, the same group ransacked and burned down some state institutions and "Marin Barleti" library. Shkodra was under police control on Monday.

    Mullai said that the army is continuing its normal activity according to its training programmes and will carry out the tasks charged by the constitution. The army does not ask permission from anyone, any political force or non-state structure.

    "The army will always be near the people, and will serve and defend the motherland," Mullai said. mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [15] Albania president meets with Belgian investors

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - Albania's president Rexhep Meidani met on Tuesday representatives of the powerful Belgian company "Tractebel", which aims at dominating the Belgian market in the field of power distribution and participation in the privatisation of power generation and distribution firm in Albania, press and information office at the presidency said.

    Meidani said that the presence of this company showed the increasing belief and interest of the foreign investors in the Albanian economy and encouraged Belgian businessmen to be in contact with specialized levels of the Albanian administration.

    The Belgian investors expressed their belief in the success of the Albanian economy stressing that the Albanian government enjoys the full economic and financial support of the international community. ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [16] Health state of those maltreated by Macedonians is improving

    LIBRAZHD, Feb 24 (ATA) - By P.Zekthi: The life of three youths from Librazhd (Central Albania) is out of danger after they have been maltreated by the Macedonian guards inside the neighbouring border, local hospital sources said on Tuesday.

    "We experienced the most savage tortures from 16.00 p.m. on Saturday until early on Sunday when we were brought to the other side of the border, " Fredi Aliko, 23, from the Bushtrice village, Librazhd, said to ATA.

    Aliko said that ten youths from Librazhd villages smuggled into Macedonia to find seasonal jobs. They were caught by the Macedonian guards three km inland Macedonia.

    Representatives of the Albanian inter state permanent commission at the commissariat of Pogradec said that they have not managed to contact the Macedonian side.

    This case is the first for this year, the Albanian border officers said. ake/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [17] Court not to make decisions without reshuffle, Gjata to resign

    TIRANA, Feb 24 (ATA) - By A. Simoni: Socialist deputies said on Tuesday in a parliamentary session that the Constitutional Court had not the right to make decisions until March 31, the date it had promised to be reshuffled. They decided to discuss soon the dismissal of the court's chairman.

    "The court cannot make any decision until it carries out rotation. It is a success for it has promised a reshuffle on March 31 thus reaching a compromise," Pandeli Majko, head of the Socialist parliamentary group.

    "According to article 1 of the constitutional provisions if the court fails to carry out reshuffle, suspends its activity thus it becomes a suspended body," Skender Gjinushi, Albania's Speaker said.

    The Constitutional court decided on February 20 that three of its members should be dismissed on March 31, 1998, responding to the proposal of the OSCE ambassador to Albania Daan Everts to step up reshuffle.

    The OSCE ambassador was the mediator of a dispute between the parliament and court coming out after the parliament approved the court's reshuffle.

    "The court cannot be suspended if it is said that it has violated the constitution but instead its members should be discharged and others should be nominated. If its activity is suspended where can the citizens appeal? The majority should act with constitutional courage," Spartak Ngjela, lawyer, said.

    Referring to Gjata's dismissal who failed to pass the scrutiny test, Namik Dokle the deputy Speaker said: "If a lawyer, either a court's chairman, has a suspected past this does not mean that all the constitutional court is such."

    Head of the parliamentary law commission, Socialist deputy Fehmi Abdiu said that the chairman of the Constitutional Court Rustem Gjata has sent some letters to Venice Commission (at the Council of Europe) on the dispute with parliament but has received negative responses. mima/ak/

    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at

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