(en) Albania Report - 04/08

Thu, 17 Apr 1997 23:28:22 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 08., 1997

The first French soldiers today left for Albania and will arrive there by Thursday. The French troops will be stationed in Durres and their task will be to safeguard humanitarian aid arriving at Durres and Tirana. The French contingent will have 1,000 soldiers. The comment said that French troops were not quite convinced, and one soldier interviewed said that they only had two days to prepare the mission as compared to 2 or 3 months when they were sent to Somalia.

Greek troops will be send to Vlore, as was announced today. Italy now was said to prepare sending 2,000 troops. But whether the mission will actually see Italian participation remains to be seen: the former Communist Party has already announced they will vote against sending troops tomorrow, and today also the opposition consisting of rightwing and centre parties said they are going to vote against an Italian participation. Prime Minister Prodi appealed to MPs to vote in favour of it, as he claimed it would not be honourable not to lead the mission. The Italian government, as was said, will need support from MPs of other parties as the coalition cannot achieve the majority needed.

Today for the first time critical comments were given as to the military mission. It was pointed out that UNO finally refused to give its protection in spite of the positive decision taken at first. Some comments said that there were strong doubts whether humanitarian aid in fact does have to be protected by a military mission. They pointed out that Medecins Sans Frontieres opposed it, and also International Red Cross already has sent in humanitarian aid without facing any difficulties. One comment added that Medecins Sans Frontieres and Red Cross recommended other i.e. non-military ways to help.

Comments pointed out that Italy certainly meant to benefit from this mission since they do not want to accept huge numbers of Italian refugees and a military mission would give them opportunity to control the wave of refugees. This justification, as was emphasized, no longer can be applied since there were no refugees coming in after the Albanian vessel carrying 130 people was sunk. It was now openly criticized in some comments that Italian authorities see Albanian refugees as criminals. Comments pointed out that Italian authorities said that the rate of crimes soared after Albanian refugees arriving in 1991.

Surprisingly enough this criticism came up only now, as only now it was mentioned that Medecins Sans Frontieres were operating in Albania as well as Red Cross already having sent in staff and aid which before was not reported at all.

Another comment said that Prime minister Fino asked for military help and meant this to indicate that he resp. his government had a strong position. In fact this was denied by comments, as apparently last week Fino was waylaid by armed bandits when on his way to a town in the North and had to return to Tirana. Comments said that the persons attacking Fino supported Berisha, and the town Fino meant to go to also was in the hands of Berisha's supporters. This actually was the first time reports said that there were persons supporting Berisha and that they obtained arms, too. Former reports suspected that some arms depots in Tirana might have been raided by Berisha's supporters.

Comments put forward that the only justification the military mission may have now was to strengthen democracy, but may end up supporting a government which was isolated.

At the same time, some reports said the Albanian army was again getting together to join foreign troops in safeguarding shipments to Albania. Pictures were shown with some Albanian troops marching, but there was no indication whether these were current pictures or material taken from archives.

Late-late news announced that the Italian senate approved of a participation in the military mission. Tomorrow (Wednesday), Italian parliament will take its vote and up to now, neither former Communist nor rightwing/centre opposition have taken back their decision. ## CrossPoint v3.11 ##

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