(en) Albania Report - 04/02

Tue, 15 Apr 1997 21:43:00 GMT

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Note on Origin: The I-AFD (Initiative for an Anarchist Federation in Germany) is a small anarchist organisation in germany attempting to build an extensive structure of all anarchists regardless of theoretical differences to improve effectiveness, cooperation and discussion within the anarchist movement. It is organised internationally in the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations).

Robert (for the A-Infos Group in germany)


*I-AFD Group Hamburg I* (i-afd_2@anarch.free.de) ALBANIA REPORT from April the 02., 1997

Italian Prime minister Romano Prodi today met Albanian Prime minister Bashkim Fino in southern town Gjirokaster. Prodi announced that Italy was prepared to pay compensation to the families of the victims of last week's average. One news report even said Prodi mentioned Italy will do everything to help the victims' families. He also declared, Italian authorities will investigate the matter thoroughly. One station reported that Prodi even promised the vessel will be rescued whereas earlier reports said that Italian authorities would not take the effort as the vessel was some 800 ms below surface. Fino again welcomed the decision to send in troops and says he appreciates Italian troops to be sent despite the catastrophe. Most news reports quoted Fino to have said that the government welcomed the troops to safeguard medicine and food supplies brought into Albania.

TV stations emphasized the fact that Prodi and Fino met in "rebel held town of Gjirokaster". As Gjirokaster is run by a local comitee, there must have been some extent of co-operation before and during this meeting, but none of the TV stations said anything about that. They also did not mention whether there were any talks to the local council of Gjirokaster regarding co-operation on the humanitarian aid to come or with the foreign troops protecting shipments. Although the meetingplace might have been chosen as Gjirokaster is Fino's home town, it seems logical enough that this had been a topic of discussion, too.

Italy though may not send its troops to Vlore due to anti-Italian demos there during the last days, as news reports put forward again. The troops now were said to consist of up to 5,000 soldiers from six nations, but apart from the Italian, Greek, and French contingents, no further participating countries are named so far. It was specified today that Italy will probably send as much as 2,500 soldiers whereas earlier reports spoke of only 1,000. With the 500 Greek and 1,500 French soldiers, this totals 4,500, so they must still be looking for another country to join the mission.

The troops on OSCE mission are said to be ready to arrive in Albania within about two weeks. Fino today announced Albania was ready to accept them by the end of next week. There will be further talks on the mission in Greece tomorrow.

In Durres, the first regular ferry to Italy departed today, with - as was pointed out - "normal passengers". Pictures shown made clear that this departure was heavily guarded by Albanian police carrying guns and machine guns being positioned near the ferry. The passengers had to pass a police cordon to enter the vessel. The passengers shown did not carry heave luggage, but there were families with children.

There was another demo in Vlore to mourn the persons drowned in the average. It was a quiet and disciplined march, judging from the pictures shown on TV, with people again carrying flowers to the harbour which were thrown into the water, and there were people praying and wailing. The demo was guarded by local police in cars, and the one policeman shown wore plain clothes and no uniform which may indicate that there at least part of Vlore police did not return to their work after the council asked them to. Apart from the one boradcast where a man spoke to demonstrators, none of the demos shown put forward the impression of outbursts of anti-Italian feelings.

Again pictures were shown in which survivors of the average accused the Italian warship of having rammed the Albanian vessel. Most news reports also today said the cause of the collision was still unclear, but at least one report mentioned clearly the Italian warship had sunk the Albanian.

Another news report (BBC World) added that the local council in Vlore had denied any outbreaks of anti-Italian feelings and demos in Vlore. The local council added that there was a traditional friendship towards the Italian people.

I also noticed that since the Albanian vessel was sunk, there were no further reports of Albanian refugees being deported by Italian authorities and no updates on the number of deportees. I suppose Prodi's announcement of helping the victims' families might indicate what happened at sea, as it presents a definite contrast to first Italian announcements that they were not at all to blame for the catastrophe. After announcements of severe controls at German borders after Easter, there was no report mentioning whether any Albanian refugees have been detected by customs. They even did not say anything about the usual traffic jams at borders due to everybody returning from their holiday - this used to get regular coverage including pictures of cars queueing up for several kilometres.

cheers, catkawin ## CrossPoint v3.11 ##

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