The OSCE comes to town
On Monday 13 November, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson-in-Office and Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero Waldner made a two day visit to Tirana. Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Premier Ilir Meta, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, former President and leader of the Democratic Party Sali Berisha and other Albanian politicians held talks with Waldner in Tirana. The main issues discussed were new regional possibilities after the changes in Belgrade, the last Albanian local elections and illegal trafficking in the region.
According to Albanian press reports, Waldner declared that the Yugoslav Foreign Minister has expressed the will to involve Albania and other regional neighbours in the future of Kosovo. Also, Waldner, OSCE Ambassador Gert Ahrens and Albanian authorities demanded a milder tone towards Koštunica, the new Yugoslav president. Waldner has asked Albanian leaders to demonstrate a more constructive approach to President Koštunica, because, according to her, Yugoslavia has made "dramatic changes."
Waldner also said that the last local election process was a step forward, compared with past experiences, referring to the meeting she had with Sali Berisha, who complained of irregularities in the election process and gave her a report on fraud. Waldner told reporters that she has advised Democratic party representative to wait for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights' (ODIHR) final report.
Finally, Waldner praised the Albanian government for its remarkable progress in quelling the trafficking of human beings, which has turned into a transregional crime.
Voting for Yugoslavia
Albania has voted in favour and unconditionally for Yugoslav membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This political act has been hailed by the Albanian media and left wing politicians but was opposed by independent and right wing politicians.
The newspaper Shekulli hailed this political act as representing the emancipation of Tirana leftist officials. At the same time, the newspaper Albania, in an editorial written by Lazer Stani, seriously criticised the vote. Stani argued that the latest changes in Yugoslavia do not prove that Serbia has changed its ways. "Change in Serbia, in any case, remains hindered by the indoctrination of the Serbian population with nationalistic ideology and chauvinist myths," said Stani.
Too much for one summit
General Secretary of the European Union Javier Solana declared that the "Zagreb summit will finalize the Balkans' border conflicts," during his last visit to Tirana. However, Head of the Foreign Parliamentarian Commission and the Republican Party Sabri Godo disagreed, saying that the traditional problem of Balkan borders cannot be finalized with a single conference.
According to Godo, Albania does expect the separation of Kosovo from Serbia. "I cannot believe that the situation there is going to be fixed at the Zagreb Summit," Godo said. Godo argued that the Zagreb Summit, (24 November) organized by the European Union, with 24 participant countries will not be able to solve the problems of the Balkans with one conference. Godo believes the United States will need to be involved in any permanent solution.
The Democratic Party Reform Group (DPRG), of which the lead deputies are Genc Pollo, Ferdinand Xhaferri and Ylli Vejsiu, will probably be joined by other centre-right deputies to establish a third party. Sali Berisha has never accepted the DPRG grouping. The big political parties, the Socialist and Democratic Parties, dominate Albania's political landscape.
These parliamentarians will be joined by other deputies and significant leaders of other centre-right parties, including Sabri Godo of the Republican Party, Zef Bushati of the Christian Democratic Party and Fatbardh Hushi and Nexhat Kalaj of the United Right Party. This organization will aim to constitute a third political force in Albania.
Relations with Greece
According to the Albanian Telegraphic Agency, Greece has sent a letter to European Foreign Commissioner Chris Patten regarding the Greek minority issue in Albania. Athens will send Albanian authorities the same warning from Greek Premier Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Jorgos Papandreou, demanding more action against illegal immigration and better control of borders.
The Albanian Parliament approved a law for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS infection in Albania. The law defines precisely the obligations and rights of all living in Albania, both Albanian citizens and foreigners, who are infected with this disease.
Artur Nura, 17 November 2000
- Archive of Albanian news reviews
- Browse through the CER eBookstore for electronic books
- Buy English-language books on Central Europe through CER
- Return to CER front page