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Vol 2, No 32
25 September 2000
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Albanian NewsNews from Albania
All the important news
since 16 September 2000

Artur Nura

The 1 October local election campaign continues...

Opposition leader Sali Berisha recently attacked the government in a public meeting and press conferences, accusing it of having manipulated voter lists. Specifically, Berisha claims that 350,000 to 400,000 supporters of the Democratic Party have been removed from the rolls. Prime Minister Ilir Meta, during a conference with Minister of Culture and Sports Edi Rama stated, on behalf of Socialist party candidates for the Tirana municipality, that Berisha's accusations are lies.

Meta appealed publicly to Berisha to visit his office and discuss the issue in the presence of the Organisation for Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights (ODIHR), a subsidiary of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which will be monitoring the elections across the country. Both the OSCE and the ODIHR have stated that Berisha's accusations are unfounded.

Meanwhile the 1 October local election campaign continues on two levels: large public rallies and more constructive media debates. Significant differences are apparent between the two. Public meetings held in city squares, led respectively by Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha and Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, reveal deep individual and political differences between the opposing candidates, who in live media debates tend to display a greater degree of tolerance and mutual understanding.

 

Çam people demand return of expropriated lands in Greece

After the collapse of Communism, Albania's Çam population established the Çamëria Association, dedicated to achieving the return of their expropriated lands in Greece. In the summer of 1991, then Greek Foreign Minister Karolas Papoulias responded that a bilateral commission should settle these demands. However, in reality, the chance of forming such a commission was slim, since current Greek law provides no legal means of challenging land requisitions by the Greek state.

After the Second World War, the official Greek position, still unofficially held today, was that the Muslim population of Çamëria collaborated with the German occupying forces during the war. As a result, they wereand areconsidered war criminals and were sentenced as such under Greek law. Greek authorities approved a law sanctioning the expropriation of Çamëria properties, citing the community's collaboration with the Germans as the main reason for the decision.

Recently, Albania's Çamëria Association delivered a memorandum to the Albanian Republic Peoples Advocate demanding that the new advocacy institution exert its power to remedy this great injustice. 4000 Çams were killed and another 150,000 were resettled. They have been exiled from their ancestral lands for 56 years, with no opportunity to visit the graves of their parents, siblings and children.

 

Socialists appeal for co-operation among all Albanians of the Balkans

At a recent press conference, Arta Dade, Socialist Party secretary for foreign relations, observed that in the last elections in Macedonia attempts were made by irresponsible politicians to provoke instability in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. Dade issued a call on behalf of the Social Party to all Albanian political forces to reach an understanding and co-operate in demonstrating the shared values that were displayed during the Kosovo crisis.

 

Oil monopoly in Albania?

The Ministry of Public Economy and Privatisation has issued a press statement saying that the rise of fuel prices in the local market is not a result of a fuel monopoly in Albania, but rather of changes in the international market price of oil. Ministry experts observed that there are currently 29 licensed oil-trading companies in Albania. Prices have been rising recently, with another leap in just the last few days, when the cost of imported diesel rose from ALL 84 per liter (USD 0.56) to ALL 90 per liter (USD 0.6).

According to independent experts, however, laws currently in effect for importing and marketing petroleum products in Albania do favour a monopolist environment, and the recent Government firing of Zef Preçi, former minister of economy and privatisation, is connected to his objections to these policies. The newspaper Albania has recently launched a public debate on the issue in its pages.

 

Albanian Folk Festival 2000

The Albanian Folk Festival 2000 began last week in the southern city of Gjirokastra. Great artists of traditional Albanian folk music and dance are participating, coming from throughout Albania and the region, as well as other European countries. President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Ilir Meta and Culture and Sports Minister Edi Rama attended the first day of the festival, as did US Ambassador Joseph Limprecht.

Artur Nura, 24 September 2000

Moving on:

 

THIS WEEK:
Seán Hanley
Anti-Capitalism

Andrew Kotas
Steel Structures

Jan Čulík
Czech Depression

Andrew Stroehlein
Online Journalism

Mark Preskett
Moldova's Bad Luck

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Fuelling Hungary

Mel Huang
Grave Diving

Sarah Whitmore
Ukraine's Constitution

Wojtek Kość
Jerzy Giedroyc (1906-2000)

Kinoeye:
Benjamin Halligan
Miloš Forman

Books:
Sam Vaknin
Dreamworld and Catastrophe

Press Reviews:
Oliver Craske
UK: Velvet Demonstrations?

Andrew Mrozek
Germany:
Left Hanging

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