Albania goes to Zagreb Summit
On 24 November, President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Ilir Meta and Foreign Minister Paskal Milo represented Albania at the Zagreb Summit on Southeast Europe.
Before the summit, Foreign Minister Milo told reporters that they would represent all regional Albanian interests. In a speech given at the summit, the Albanian president focused on the Stability Pact and its influence on Albania and the region, Albanian integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions and the future of Kosovo.
Mejdani said that foreign assistance to Albania should not be changed in the post-Kosovo crisis period. "I cannot imagine such unexpected forgetfulness after the promises and declarations of many national leaders and governments concerning political and economical support of Albania, especially regarding the agreement on stabilization and association with the European Union" said the President.
Expressing the need for strengthened EU cooperation with Albania, Mejdani said that Albania has only one future, which is the prospect of Euro-Atlantic integration. Arguing that the general election in Kosovo will represent a fundamental step towards democracy, self-determination and self-government for the Kosovo people, Mejdani said this should be accompanied by a reduced international presence and interdependence with the EU.
Meta meets Swedish Premier
On 24 November, Prime Minister Ilir Meta met Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson in Zagreb. The two leaders discussed Albania's steps toward EU integration. Persson was positive about this process and gave assurance that Sweden will support Albania in working toward EU integration.
Clinton greets Albanians on Independence Day
US President Bill Clinton hailed Albanians on their Independence Day, 28 November, with a message sent to President Mejdani. He wrote that Albania has reached an important crossroads in European integration, and that the Albanian people have shown courage despite the great challenges the country faces. Clinton stated that the United States would support the Albanians in working toward a better future.
Municipal election assessed
Last week, the Council of Europe's Local and Regional Congress (CELRC) and Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) issued a statement concerning the final assessment of the last municipal election in Albania.
The CELRC and ODIHR report remarked that Albanian politics is still characterized by a rivalry between the two main parties—Socialist and Democratic—and, as a result, by extreme polarization and a lack of trust in democratic institutions.
The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) should be independent and de-politicized, but the ruling majority of Parliament introduced provisions in the Electoral Code that are not in compliance with the Constitution's fundamental provisions and the recommendations of foreign experts.
According to this assessment, the first round marked significant progress towards meeting the standards for democratic elections despite irregularities, but the second round was less transparent and inclusive. The CEC failed to address inaccuracies in voter lists and invalid ballots.
Milo to Adriatic and Ionian Seas initiative
Foreign Minister Paskal Milo participated in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of Adriatic Ionian initiatives in Zagreb. This initiative, which was founded in May of last year in Ancona, Italy, includes all countries bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Italy and Slovenia.
According to Albanian Foreign Ministry sources, even Serbian Foreign Minister Goran Svilanović took part in this initiative for the first time. This was the third meeting held on this initiative, and Italy turned over the initiative chairmanship to Croatia.
Continued Greek absurdities
Ervin Baku, Brussels correspondent for the Shekulli newspaper, writes in an article of 22 November entitled "Greece Continuing with Absurdities" that a general scepticism among EU parliamentarians was confirmed by a Greek EU parliamentarian's statement concerning Albania's democratic institutions and a Greater Albania in-the-making.
According to this article, MEP Anna Karamanou declared at a parliamentary session that the idea of a greater Albania was even part of educational programs in Albanian schools. "These Greek absurdities not only failed to receive support among the parliamentarians, but even caused an outburst of laughter. Olivier Dupuis, a Belgian deputy, declared these Greek absurdities as ridiculous," wrote Baku.
Kondos praises Albanian polices
In an interview, general director for the North Greece police, J Kondos, praised the work of Albanian police against illegal traffic over the Albanian-Greek border, especially in the border cities of Vlorë and Sarandë.
Kondos expressed enthusiasm over the fact that the Albanian strategy against illegal traffic is working very well and hailed the Albanian government's uncompromising determination to continue this war against illegal traffic.
Artur Nura, 25 November 2000
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