German minister in Tirana
President Rexhep Mejdani met with Christoph Zöpel, state minister in the German Foreign Ministry, on Thursday 2 November in Tirana. Mejdani informed the minister about recent reforms in the Albanian economy, legislation and politics, stressing the prospects of favourable results that could lead to a more rapid negotiation for the Association and Stabilization Agreement that would allow Albanian membership in the European Union (EU).
Zöpel expressed his personal support and the support of Germany for the integration of all of southeast Europe into the European Union. "Only the elimination of borders by means of such integration can prevent regional conflicts," declared Zöpel.
The minister also met with Sali Berisha, current Democratic Party president and former president of the republic (1992 to 1997).
Japan's Mori thanks Medjani
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori sent a thank-you letter to Rexhep Mejdani for supporting recent reforms in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Mori asked that Albania's support for such initiatives be continued until the reforms are adopted by the UNSC, and "we will have a more extended Security Council with new permanent and temporary members."
Justice Ministry strengthens role
The Albanian Parliament last week approved a special law for the Ministry of Justice. "This law demonstrates the Albanian Government's interest in cooperating with the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United States of America and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe," said Prime Minister Ilir Meta in a speech before Parliament.
"This law aims to bring about a qualitative improvement in the active role of the Justice Ministry in preparing state judicial policies and an improvement in relations of the Ministry with the state institutions-the courts and prosecutor's offices-that implement judicial practices," Meta told reporters.
According to Justice Minister Arben Imami, the law does not reduce the independence of the different parts of the judicial system but better organises relations among them.
Democratic Party protests elections
The Democratic Party (DP), which refused to accept in full the outcome of the recent local elections, has launched a series of protests against what the party claims were manipulated electoral results.
Several thousand DP militants from the capital and other cities have attended weekly rallies in Tirana's main square. After listening to political speakers, the demonstrators marched in protest in front of the Prime Minister's Office and along the main boulevard of Tirana.
Montenegrins in court
Montenegrin citizens Milan Milic, Rodovan Bokojovic and Ranko Kejezevic were arrested by Albanian polices while illegally transporting 17 Albanians towards the Italian coast. A court in the northern Albanian city of Shkodra set an indefinite prison sentence for the three Montenegrins, accusing them illegal trafficking and border crossing. The Albanian citizens involved have been sentenced to reporting twice a week to tribunal police.
Greece denies entry to Kurds
Greek police refused to allow 24 Kurds to return to Greece after they were expelled by Albanian police. For the first time in recent experience, Greek police authorities at the Albanian-Greek border crossing of Kakavija refused to allow the Kurds to enter Greece, from where they had originally crossed into Albanian territory.
Albanian police authorities told reporters their documents clearly showed that the country of origin of these illegal Kurdish immigrants was, in fact, Greece.
On Thursday 2 November, Greek police brought 401 Albanian immigrants by force to the Kakavija police checkpoint at the Albanian-Greek border. According to Albanian police, these Albanian immigrants to Greece were in possession of valid documents but had been detained in Athens, Patria and others Greek cities, although they were not tortured or mistreated.
The same police sources report that this is the largest number of Albanian immigrants to have been detained since the recent local Albanian elections. Albanian immigrants have told reporters that they were detained for three to four days at Greek police stations, and afterwards were brought by bus to the Kakavija border control.
Last week, an Albanian citizen was been killed by Greek police while trying to cross the border into Greece
Kadare on freedom for Kosovo
Renowned Albanian novelist and Nobel-prize candidate Ismail Kadare met on Friday 3 November with other prominent Albanian intellectuals and foreign diplomats. Kadare expressed his ideas about and vision regarding recent political developments in Albania and throughout the region, on Albanian foreign policy, and on Kosovo's present status.
"Freedom for Kosovo is indisputable, because a people's freedom must first be accepted as a concept and then founded on a precise formula. I use the word 'freedom' because it is an incontrovertible approach and has a widely understood definition," said Kadare at the meeting.
American ambassador Joseph Limprecht also attended the gathering.
Artur Nura, 3 November 2000
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