Seneste 4 udgaver af »Sidste Nyt fra Albanien, Kosóva og Makedonien«:
Sidste Nyt #302
Sidste Nyt #301
Sidste Nyt #300
Sidste Nyt #299
Udgaver siden seneste »Albansk Almanak«:
Internationale organisationer International organizations
Verdensbanken, IMF m.fl. World Bank, IMF etc.
OSCE, Europarådet OSCE, Council of Europe (CoE)
EU European Union (EU)
ICTY - Tribunalet i Haag ICTY
Balkan, generelt The Balkans
Kosóva Kosóva [Kosovo]
Øst Kosóva / Presevo-dalen / Syd-Serbien Eastern Kosóva
Serbien og Montenegro. Serbien (alene) Serbia-Montenegro. Serbia
Montenegro (alene) Montenegro
Makedonien Macedonia [FYRoM]
USA United States (US)
Danmark (Norge, Sverige) Denmark (Norway, Sweden)
Regnskabsrod vedr. indsattes penge
SRSG appoints task force to oversee management of prisoner accounts
PRISTINA 17-MAY-2006 Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (SRSG) Søren Jessen-Petersen today appointed a team to oversee and enhance the financial management of prisoners personal accounts.
On 17 March 2006, following concerns that financial records for prisoners personal accounts at Dubrava prison could not be properly reconciled, UNMIK Department of Justice (DOJ) together with officers from the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) began an investigation. The FIUs investigation revealed a number of irregularities in the accounting system.
Thereupon, UNMIKs Division of Administration, in coordination with DOJ, conducted a full review of the matter. On 12 May 2006 the investigative panel confirmed irregularities in the current procedures for administration of prisoners personal accounts in Dubrava.
The SRSG was advised that the existing records of funds held and monies due could not be reconciled. Initial indications suggest that the discrepancies amounted to approximately 65,000. At this stage, no findings of criminal wrongdoing have been established.
The SRSG said: I am disturbed to learn of these developments. Failings of this sort are completely unacceptable, particularly when monies held in trust for others are at stake. They call for the most urgent remedial action. I have therefore set up a Task Force to oversee and manage prisoners personal accounts with immediate effect. The Task Force will remain in place until I am satisfied that proper systems are functioning. At the same time, I will ensure that any missing monies are replaced in full so that no prisoners suffer financially in any way.
The Task Force comprises legal, financial and IT/systems experts. The SRSG has ordered them as of today to begin their work, to put the necessary procedures in place as quickly as possible to ensure that prisoners money is not at risk.
The SRSG has requested the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services to carry out a thorough audit and investigation into the matter. Should the evidence warrant it, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
SRSG in Decan/Decani: a microcosm of democratic multi-ethnic Kosovo
PRISTINA 13-MAY-2006 Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo (SRSG) Søren Jessen-Petersen, accompanied by Prime Minister Agim Ceku and COMKFOR Lt. Gen. Giuseppe Valotto, today visited Decan/Decani municipality where they met Municipal Assembly President Nazmi Selmanaj and other municipal officials. This was followed by a Town Hall meeting involving frank and open discussions with the public on issues of concern to the municipality, including economic development, property issues, returns, freedom of movement and the Special Zoning Area for Decan/Decani canyon.
The SRSG stressed the unique significance of Decan/Decani as Kosovo evolves in the course of the status process. This is a place where different communities live and [therefore] a place where the leadership can show, and is showing, that the people of Kosovo are committed to build a democratic and multi-ethnic society, he said, and added: The economic situation in Decan/Decani is very difficult. However, with status, investments will be coming and Decan/Decani could be a key area in the region.
He explained the purpose of declaring the Decan/Decani canyon a Special Zoning Area. The SRSG said, A beautiful valley, a lot of natural treasures and the Visoki Monastery, all this belongs to everybody. Everybody needs to be in a position to use the assets of the valley. But it has to be done on the basis of the laws in place. That is the only thing that the Special Zoning arrangements are about. It simply says: Let us promote all the necessary economic activities there and at the same time protect all the assets including the Monastery. So this is to the benefit of each and every citizen.
The SRSG noted the public relief at the relaxation of security restrictions around the Monastery. In response to the way the municipality and the people have handled the situation, KFOR has decided a couple of weeks ago to ease the protection measures around the Monastery, he said, And we all see now improvement in freedom of movement, which is the goal of everybody.
One of the issues discussed was the concerns of the War Veterans Associations on the recently promulgated law on the status and rights of the war veterans. The SRSG said, The law recognises the contribution of the war veterans to bringing Kosovo to where we are today. It is a law that aims at addressing the social needs of the families and of the veterans. All the other discussions and issues should not miss these two points. The Prime Minister and I have agreed to look at ways to accommodate some of the concerns in consultation with the United Nations in New York.
SRSG and COMKFOR visit the Kosovo Protection Corps
PRISTINA 12-MAY-2006. Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo (SRSG) Soren Jessen-Petersen, accompanied by COMKFOR Lt. Gen. Giuseppe Valotto and KPC Coordinator Maj. Gen. Chris Steirn, today visited the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) establishments across Kosovo.
KPC Commander Lt. Gen. Sylejman Selimi received the SRSG at the Civil Protection Brigade Headquarters in Pristina, where they witnessed a Training Demonstration. This was followed by a Map Exercise at the KPC Training and Doctrine Command Centre. They also visited the KPCfs Bob-Doganaj/Doganovic Road Project in Kacanik/ Ka.anik municipality and Graxhanik Road Project in Kamenice/Kamenica municipality. The SRSG congratulated Lt. Gen. Selimi for making a strong start as Commander of the KPC with able support from his new Deputy Maj. Gen. Rrahman Rama. gI am pleased to see the KPC working for the benefit of all the people of Kosovo,h the SRSG said. The SRSG noted the progress made by the KPC since his previous visits: gI have made many visits to the KPC; this is the first with Gen. Selimi,h he said, gI am more and more impressed with the KPC. I see that the KPC works increasingly with the people and for the people, that it is more and more composed of, and integrated with, all the people of Kosovo.
The SRSG thanked KFOR gfor their never failing support to the KPCh.
Uge 19 ved KFOR hold 14, kosovo.
15-05-2006 kl. 13:26
Redigeret af major Per Heien
chef for Adjudantursektionen samt Presse- & Informationsofficer
Vi har det stadig godt i Kosovo. Vejret er blevet bedre og er, i skrivende stund, på niveau med det gode vejr hjemme i Danmark. Når man nu ikke kan være hjemme ved familien i Danmark er Kosovo faktisk et udmærket alternativ.
I den senere tid har der dog været et par episoder i og omkring det danske ansvarsområde. Disse episoder er af de lokale medier blevet blæst op til mere, end hvad de er. I Kosovo er der en lidt kedelig tradition for vejrøverier. Det betyder, at røverne stiller sig ud på vejen og standser forbipasserende trafik.
Røverne er typisk bevæbnet med skydevåben. Disse røverier går altid ud over lokalbefolkningen, og kun når røverne er helt sikre på, at hverken vores eller politiets patruljer er i nærheden.
Et sådan røveri blev forsøgt begået lige uden for det danske ansvarsområde for en uges tid siden. Problemet var, at den forurettede fører var en Kosovo-Serbisk præst der, sammen med sin familie, forsøgte at køre op til Sokolica klostret nord for Mitrovica.
Der skete heldigvis ingenting med hverken præsten eller hans familie, men de lokale Kosovo-Serbiske medier benyttede hændelsen til at påstå, at der var tale om forsøgt vold fra Kosovo-albanernes side.
Det var både politiets og vores opfattelse, at der var tale om et "almindeligt" røveri, som kunne være begået af såvel Kosovo-serbere som Kosovo-albanere.
Senere på ugen blev der et par gange kastet sten efter en FN-bus fyldt med Kosovo-Serbere. Det skete i en Kosovo-Albansk by i det danske ansvarsområde. Igen skrev medierne om viljen til interetnisk vold. Da vi borede lidt dybere i sagen, viste det sig at være børn fra den lokale skole, som havde kastet stenene.
Det er utroligt ærgerligt, at disse "drengestreger" og særligt omtalen af disse, kan være medvirkende til at bremse den gode inter-etniske udvikling, som parterne har været inde i. De lokale myndigheder er meget opmærksomme på konsekvensen af sager som denne og har allerede iværksat en række tiltag for at imødegå lignende sager i fremtiden.
Senest blev der begået et væbnet røveri mod en tankstation lige uden for det danske ansvarsområde. Uheldigvis blev tankens to ansatte såret af skud, da røverne skød imod dem. Røveriet er ikke blevet opfattet som inter-etnisk vold af hverken KFOR, det lokale politi eller de lokale medier.
Selvom kriminaliteten er stigende er der ikke nogen forøget trussel med de danske soldater i Kosovo. Som tidligere nævnt går røverierne "kun" ud over lokalbefolkningen, og så snart at vi viser os, er der ingen tegn på nogen kriminel adfærd. Soldaterne i Den Danske Bataljon gør et stort og godt stykke arbejde, hvilket gør dem meget vellidte blandt lokalbefolkningen, dette være sig både Kosovo-Serbere og Kosovo-Albanere.
VIP besøgene er overstået
Ugen her bød også på besøg, nemlig af chefen for Hærens Operative Kommando generalmajor P. Kiærskou. Han blev modtaget med æreskommando i lejren og blev hurtigt efter ankomsten guided rundt i lejren for her at se, hvad der foregik og ikke mindst for at snakke med soldaterne.
Selvom besøget var kort, så var tilbagemeldingen til alle hernede, at besøget var gået godt og at generalen havde fået de nyeste indtryk af situationen i området.
Under sit besøg var generalmajor Kiærskou ude at se bataljonens ansvarsområde, herunder overværede han nogle af de daglige opgaver, vi udfører. Derudover holdt generalmajoren en orientering for bataljonen omkring forsvarets nye opbygning og de danske internationale missioner samt fremtidige opgaver for det danske forsvar.
Under denne orientering gav generalmajoren også de tilstedeværende mulighed for at stille spørgsmål, som blev benyttet i god udstrækning til bl. a. emner som fremtidig udsendelse og arbejde under det nye forsvarsforlig. Med en dugfrisk viden om den nuværende situation i Kosovo tog generalmajoren hjem to dage efter sin ankomst.
Siden sidst har logistik sektionen været ude på længere ture. Vi har flere gange været i den fattige landsby Banja for at forhandle om en jordleje. Jorden, vi skal leje, er omkring 400 kvadratmeter og skal bruges til parkering plads til de franske tropper, der tit kører patruljer i området.
Samtidig med at chefen forhandlede lejen på jorden, så talte han med byens talsmand om at få jorden ordnet, så den kan bruges til biler. Det endte med, at en lokal mand fik til opgave at sætte stakit op og få jorden planet og gjort klar.
Vi har også i samarbejde med Liaison and Monitering Team (LMT) været ude og se på en markskade, som nogle amerikanske tropper lavede, da de havde en operation i området. Vi var ude og kigge og tage billeder af det, men har stadig ikke fået det afklaret med ejerne.
Udveksling med en belgisk deling
Det var mandag den 8. maj, at 1. deling fra panserinfanterikompagniet havde udveksling med en belgisk deling fra den nærtliggende franske lejr Belvedere. Det blev en dag, som kom til at byde både på en tur på skydebanen, og en overnatning i det fri i det nordlige Kosovo nær den serbiske grænse.
Efter ankomsten til skydebanen blev der lagt hårdt ud med nærkampsskydninger efter nye amerikanske standarder, som primært fokuserede på ildkamp i byer. Det var også her, at man fik mulighed for at prøve deres våben, både deres personlige rifler og deres lette maskingevær, såvel som de prøvede vores.
Efter frokost gik turen nordpå til belgiernes teltlejr på en bjergtop ved Leposavic. Det var her man mandag eftermiddag kunne finde 1. deling i fuld færd med at slå bivuakker op, præcis som vi gjorde det under øvelser i Slagelse, og det bragte da også en lidt nostalgisk stemning at skulle overnatte, hvor soldater nu engang hører til - i det fri.
Aftenen stod på grillmad, og fælles hygge efterfulgt af nogle såkaldte "joint"-patruljer, hvor en dansk og en belgisk gruppe kører patrulje sammen. Da vi vågnede op til solskin og fuglesang næste morgen, var det med en god oplevelse bag os, og vi var en del indtryk rigere.
Crowded Riot Control, nu med hund!
Solen bagte ned. Det var torsdag den 11. maj, og major M. Ipsen, chefen for panserinfanterikompagniet under den danske bataljon, var taget til den franske lejr, Belvedere med et reduceret panserinfanterikompagni for at træne Crowded Riot Control (CRC), denne gang for at træne med angrebshunde, som "hemmeligt våben".
Efter iklædningen af CRC-udrustningen blev vi introduceret for formiddagens nye kollegaer, som bestod af tre kampberedte angrebshunde med dertilhørende førere. Det viste sig hurtigt, at hundene kunne deres kram, da de blev lukket ud gennem kæden for at sætte tænderne i en snart uskadeliggjort uromager, der var iklædt beskyttelse.
Hundenes effektivitet fik vi snart at mærke på egen krop, da vi blev tilbudt at blive bidt. Dette sagde foruroligende mange ja til, og på geled stod vi i kø, alt i mens vores kammerater blev rykket rundt af hunde, som meget nødigt havde lyst til at give slip, når de først havde bidt sig fast i armen.
Alt dette var med en bidesikker armslynge på, men folk oplevede på egen krop, at kraften fra bidet stadig sagtens kunne mærkes. Alt i alt en dag, som bød på en oplevelse ud over det sædvanlige.
Alle MP´ere i aktion ved DANCON-marchen
MP stillede med fire mand som hjælpere til DANCON-marchen. To MP´ere afskiltede marchruten, og to dirigerede trafikken, da marchen startede. Klassiske MP discipliner, som ikke er de mest krævende og svære opgaver, men når det er halvdelen af vores nuværende styrke, vi brugte på opgaven, betød det, at kun tre MP´ere gik marchen, og en sad tilbage som vagthavende på MP-stationen.
Så alle MP´ere var i arbejde. Alt gik selvfølgelig som planlagt, og vi kunne nyde endnu en søndag i Kosovo med brunch og regn i massevis.
Alle MP´ere i aktion ved DANCON-marchen
President Moisiu calls on the political parties to begin the concrete work for the realization of the electoral reform.
May 16, 2006
The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu has sent a letter to the leaders of the political forces that participated in the round table of political parties held on December 7, 2005, through which it is pointed out the importance of beginning the work to realize the electoral reform.
Expressing my special consideration for you and the political force that you lead, I avail myself of this opportunity to present my deep concern about the long delay regarding the beginning of the work for preparing and realizing the electoral reform. The last parliamentary elections, alongside the notable positive achievements demonstrated also shortcomings and uncertainties, which were detailed in the final report of ODHIR/PSCE. Their correcting and preparing on time of a transparent, inclusive and active electoral process makes up a need and a necessity in the efforts of Albania to achieve the required standards in its Euro-Atlantic integration process.
Because of such an importance, I called on December 7, 2005 a round table composed by the political force led by you and other parliamentarian political parties. At the end of it, the round table, through full consensus approved a joint declaration through which the parliamentarian political parties expressed the full political willingness to realize a full and long-term electoral reform, which can guarantee the holding of free, fair and democratic elections and also expressed the concrete commitment that in order to realize the reform to found a Parliamentary Commission with the participation of all the parliamentary political forces by December 2005.
During the last months, through direct official contacts and communication with the institutions and public opinion, I have continuously pushed the political forces to fulfill the commitments taken upon in the round table of December 7, 2005 and to immediately begin the work for the realization of the required electoral reform.
Judging upon the up to the present developments, it results to me that there have not yet been taken concrete developments in this direction and that is why that I would like through this official communication to bring once again to your attention the importance and the need of beginning the concrete work for the electoral reform and to invite you to exercise all the political influence of the political force that you represent to initiate, support and contribute in the realization of a full, transparent and inclusive electoral reform.
The President of the Republic, Alfred Moisiu handed today to the renowned historian Noel Malcolm the Medal of Gratitude for his precious contribution in presenting the Albanians to the world opinion through historic studies.
During the meeting, President Moisiu pointing out the numerous changes in the Balkans, praised the importance of the objective and scholarly treatment by the scholar in order not to leave room to speculations about history and also to serve to the achievement of the joint objective of the regional integration in the European Union. In this context, Mr. Moisiu expressed the consideration and the gratitude about the work carried out by Mr. Malcolm towards the preservation and promotion of the Albanians rights in Kosova.
On his part, Mr. Malcolm thanked President Moisiu for the reserved reception and especially about the appreciation and respect demonstrated through the accorded decoration.
The speech by Prime Minister Berisha at the Summit of American-Adriatic Charter, Dubrovnik
Dear Vice President Cheney,
Dear Prime Minister Sanader and Prime Minister Buckovski,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to warmheartedly greet our distinguished friend, Vice President Cheney. His presence here today is a great honor for us and gives us a special pleasure.
Mr. Vice President,
Our nations are very proud for the friendship and cooperation with your great nation. Although, in their long journeys, history has not treated our nations as a good mother but, as we say in Albania, as a non-careful stepmother still, they have been blessed because the USA have always supported their right and noble causes and their efforts for liberty, dignity and their future.
In our recent history, the US governments policies, decisions and USA military might and US NATO leadership have been decisive in bringing our region away from the age of ultra-nationalisms, atrocious crimes and ethnic cleansing, of which Bosnians, Albanians and Croats were most affected, into the age of cooperation, understanding and friendship, towards the age of their future.
Your presence here today is another great confirmation of the support and encourgment that you and President Bush have placed to our membership in NATO. We are thus heavily indebted to you and your great nation.
It gives me renewed pleasure to meet you again in this wonderful city, just three days after we met in Thessaloniki. But you know, the more friends meet, even more they miss each other. Thank you very much for your great hospitality that is so becoming to this amazing city, whose historical values belong not only to Croatians but to us all as well.
Together with my heartfelt greetings, I would like to thank you, your government and your law enforcement agencies for the assistance you gave us recently in apprehending and bringing before the justice one of the most brute and dangerous bosses of the Albanian mafia. Our two countries are safer with his arrest. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation for the commitment you have shown in fostering the cooperation between our two countries bilaterally and in the framework of our regional cooperation.
Mr. Vice President
Ladies and gentlemen
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, in which the USA played a decisive role, our countries departed from totalitarian regimes, enemies of the freedom. But soon, the international terrorism emerged and grew into a serious threat for them and all other free nations. Its aggresivity and brutality was dramatically demonstrated in New York, Madrid, London, Bali and other centers of the free world.
The reasons for the rise of terrorism after the fall of the iron curtain are complex, but in my humble judgement, the primary cause rests again in the totalitarian and theocratic regimes. For this reason we are fully committed and proud to stand by the United States anywhere you struggle in defense of freedom and our common values.
We believe that only through strong and close cooperation with the USA, NATO and its members states we will be able to overcome successfully the new threats of today. This is why NATO and EU membership perspectives of Albania are our greatest priorities. The Government of Albania considers Membership Action Plan its Roadmap towards NATO accession and it is determined to implement with high responsibility its requirements. We are ready to make all decisions, to pay any price so that together with the other two friendly countries, Croatia and Macedonia, to earn, in the first enlargement summit, the invitation for membership in NATO.
In last July elections, Albanians achieved the peaceful rotation of power. They voted to tear down the walls of the organized crime and corruption built by the cleptocratic regime, walls that had become obstacles to the integration process. The government that I lead defined as top priority the reestablishment of the rule of law, as a basic condition for guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms of Albanian citizens, the fight with zero tolerance against organized crime, dismantling of the system of corruption, consolidation of democratic institutions. The results of these first months are clearly encouraging. The EU assistance and the support of the American institutions have been very valuable in achieving these results. We re determined to consolidate and deepen this progress in order to fully deserve the invitation in the next enlargement summit.
In connection with this, I take proud in saying that during these 15 years, Albania has established a close, continuous, and loyal cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance. She has made available to the Alliance her ports, airport and territories for exercises and other important aims. Albanian armed forces units have been deployed together with those of the member and partner states in Bosnia, Afganistan and Iraq.
We are committed to in major reforms in the field of homeland security, defense and modernization of Armed Forces. These reforms aim at creating a small, efficient, well trained and well equiped professional army. To this end, we have transformed the reservist element, removed old aviation technologies, and have decided to increase up to 2 percent of the GDP the budget to sustain these reforms.
For us, the three-lateral cooperation in the framework of Adriatik 3 is vigorous and very valuable. This cooperation includes the field of homeland security and defense policies, military training of all levels, control of weapons and ammunition and boarder control. Our joint medical-military units work together in Afganistan. Our officers are present under the SEEBRIG Command in Afganistan. I avails myself of this important forum to propose the creation of joint A3 operational batallion in the framework of the Adriatic Charter with the participation of troops from our three countries, which is to be deployed in Afganistan.
The Albanian NATO membership
Due to their geographic location, resources and contribution, the accession to NATO of Albania and her partner countries of the A3 is going to strengthen the stability of the region and of NATO member states. I am convinced that by enlarging NATO to include our three countries the south east side of the Alliances, which geographically borders with a real problematic zone for the stability of the region and the west in general, becomes more secure against the attacks from the international terrorism.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Besnik Mustafaj paid a 2-day official visit in Japan. In the course of this visit Minister Mustafaj met with JICA President, Ms. Sadako Ogata, the Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Sports Hiroshi Hase, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister of Japan and Chairperson of Japan -Albania Friendship Parliamentary Group, the Chairperson and members of the Foreign Committee, Minister of Environment Yoriko Koike, with leaders of important financial institutions: JBIC and Jetro. Minister Mustafaj was also received by the Japanese counterpart, Mr. Taro Aso.
During the meeting with the former Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Mori, they exchanged opinions on the developments in the region and the bilateral relations between Albania and Japan. Minister Mustafaj highlighted the promotion of the image of Albania, so as to attract more the Japanese business in our country. Albania and Japan enjoy a high level of political relations- stated Minister Mustafaj. He also added that this level must be present even at the Japanese investments in Albania, not simply in fields like energy and infrastructure, but also tourism and agro-business.
At the meeting with the Minister of Environment, Yoriko Koike, the Albanian Foreign Minister emphasized the important cooperation in the future between Japan and Albania concerning the environment, based on the Protocol of Kyoto. Mr. Mustafaj asked for a higher number of scholarships for the Albanian specialists training on the environment.
Mr. Mustafaj had also a meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Taro Aso. Both interlocutors exchanged opinions on the role of Japan in the region and the increasing role of Albania to the international organizations, in particular UN and many of its agencies. Minister Aso gave a short summary of the relations of Japan with its neighbors: China, North Korea and South Korea. They both agreed that the entire democratic world, part of which Albania is, must be active in the bilateral dialogue for the reduction of inherited misunderstands from the history of any country where they occur.
During their conversation, Foreign Minister Mustafaj invited his Japanese counterpart for an official visit in Tirana. The Japanese counterpart accepted this invitation with pleasure. Minister Mustafaj, transmitted through his Japanese counterpart a message of Prime Minister Berisha to the Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi.
The funeral ceremony of NCO NAMIK GJOLENA
In the funeral ceremony of NCO Namik Gjolena, that was organized under the attention of Defence Minister of the Republic Fatmir Mediu, that was made in the cemetery of the neighborhood Berat, took part the high representatives of Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Armed Forces.
The consoling speech was held in the presence of family members by Defence Deputy/Minister Zana Xhuka. The telegram on behalf of Minister Mediu was read by Gen. Kudusi \Lame Commander of Logistic Troops. Under the special attention of Minister of Defence Fatmir Mediu who arrived immediately in the place of event after the accident that happened in the Depots of Ammunitions of the village Dhemblan of Tepelena, it was made possible that the special engineering team of Logistic Support Command, avoiding with professional competence the unexpected danger from the unexploded ammunition, made possible that within 48 hours find the lifeless body of NCO Namik Gjolena, that gave his life being on duty.
In the organized ceremony, the shooting team honored with three volleys, this military that worked and sacrificed with a high feeling of dedication. The family members and the relatives, the inhabitants of the commune Sinanaj - Matohasanaj and Dhemblan, expressed their gratitude for the engagement and human, financial support that Government, Ministry of Defence, General Staff showed in this undesired accidental calamity.
Statement by IMF Staff at the Conclusion of the Article IV Consultation and the PRGF-EFF Review Mission to Albania
May 15, 2006
This statement presents the conclusions of the IMF mission that visited Albania to conduct an Article IV consultation and the first review under the PRGF/EFF program. The Article IV consultation focused on the medium-term strategic issues facing Albania. The government shared staff's assessment that the key goals are: maintaining macroeconomic stability; furthering fiscal reform with a view to enhance revenue collection; strengthen debt management and simplify the tax system; containing credit growth; broadening the export base; improving conditions in the electricity sector; and undertaking a wide range of institutional reforms. Under the IMF program, the quantitative and structural performance criteriaexcept that related to KESHwere met. Agreement has been reached on the quantitative and structural targets for the next program review, as well as on the broad principles underlying the planned 2006 supplementary budget; however, a final decision on the size and structure of this budget should not be made until July this year.
Albania's macroeconomic performance since the turn of this decade has generally been good. Growth has been rapid and inflation has been reduced. These positive developments owe much to sound frameworks for fiscal and monetary policies. Fiscal policy has been appropriately restrictive, with an emphasis on containing net domestic borrowing and lowering public debt. The absence of fiscal dominance has supported the Bank of Albania's monetary policy framework, which has successfully kept inflation in a 3±1 percent target range.
Despite these notable achievements, the economy remains vulnerable on several fronts because of a culture of tax evasion, large and short-term domestic public debt, poorly regulated and supervised non-bank financial institutions, and weak anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism capacities.
Notwithstanding past successes, macroeconomic stability could potentially be affected by rapid credit growth and export shocks. Macroeconomic policies need to be adjusted to mitigate the resulting high non-tradable goods inflation and current account deficit. As a first step, stronger prudential and supervisory measures are needed to contain credit growth. These should be complemented by an appropriate tightening of the fiscal stance in the supplementary budget. An interest rate hike at this time is not necessary.
Growth and Institutions
Catching up with middle-income countries will require further major reforms. To sustain high growth with macroeconomic stability and create the conditions for a significant expansion of the export sector, the quality of public and private institutions will have to improve. Reforms that help reduce corruption, formalize the economy, and make the business environment more inviting are essential.
As institutional capacity is limited, the government needs to concentrate on its core functions while promoting the private sector in other areas. Growth enhancing institutional reforms should focus on areas where Albania lags its new competitors, such as property rights and contract enforcement. This will require improving access to title registration; attacking corruption, including in the court system; training judges that deal with commercial cases; and making it easier for banks to execute collateral.
Regarding non-core areas, the mission strongly supports the authorities' intention to adopt a new strategy for the energy sector that will promote increased private sector involvement, including the privatization of electricity distribution. Without these reforms, the energy sector will remain a significant risk to growth over the medium term. The privatization of oil companies, INSIG, and Albtelecom should also be pursued without delay.
The authorities' strategy to keep the government small but make it more efficient while improving the quality of public expenditures is appropriate. Reforms should focus on strengthening fiscal management to decrease fiscal vulnerabilities and pay down public debt.
The authorities' goal to contain total public expenditure of the general government at about 30 percent of GDP over the medium term should be achievable. Enhancing the efficiency and quality of public spending and developing an institutional framework that ensures value for money, will, however, require a substantial effort and is an ongoing challenge. To that end, the medium-term expenditure framework and the National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development need to be integrated effectively within the budget process.
A balance needs to be struck between undertaking priority expenditure on infrastructure, education, and health on the one hand, and reducing public debt on the other. The medium-term fiscal adjustment path envisaged by the authorities results in a gradual reduction in public indebtedness, but this path could be buffeted by shocks leaving Albania vulnerable. It will therefore be important to use a considerable part of the revenue gains from tax administration reforms to reduce debt relative to GDP more decisively if these gains turn out to be significant.
Tax policy and administration reforms should support growth and improve the business environment by eliminating distortions and reducing compliance costs. Apart from a reduction in high social security contribution rates and the elimination of customs tariffs on imported equipments, there is no room for cuts in statutory tax rates at this time. Rather, the immediate priority is to simplify the tax system, broaden the tax base, and create a culture of tax compliance. If successfully implemented, these steps will create room to cut tax rates in the future. Revenue administration reforms are also essential to reduce vulnerabilities. Progress made so far in improving customs administration and strengthening the Large Taxpayers Office is encouraging but continued efforts are needed to consolidate these improvements.
Future tax reforms should be introduced at a measured pace, making certain that revenue gains are sustainable and allowing room for debt reduction. The authorities envisage further reductions in tax rates to reduce distortions and promote formalization of the economy. To this end, over 2007-09, tax reforms will be reviewed every six months to evaluate progress on revenue gains and broadening of the tax base. Emphasis will be on further reductions in social security contributions while taking care to safeguard the financial stability of the pension system. In a second step, parallel reductions in personal income and corporate profit taxes are envisaged. Reductions in the VAT rate will only be considered as a last option given its relative lack of distortion, as well as important contribution to total revenue collections.
To reduce the vulnerabilities created by a relatively high level of public debt, public debt management needs to be improved significantly. An action plan should be formulated soon drawing on the recommendations of the recent IMF TA mission. The submission of a new public debt law and the formulation of a debt management strategy are the most important first steps in implementing this action plan.
The supplementary budget is to be directed to high-quality infrastructure investments and to reduce the debt burden. In light of the strong revenue performance so far in 2006, an agreement has been reached in principle on a supplementary budget for the second half of the year that will focus on high-priority capital spendingprimarily road constructionwhich is badly needed to improve poor infrastructure and to enhance growth and reduce poverty. To reduce fiscal vulnerabilities about 1/4 percent of GDP will be saved. However, the government will only decide on the size and structure of the supplementary budget in July, in consultation with IMF staff. To increase the flexibility of the budget, part of investment expenditure can be reallocated before the end of the year to capital transfers to cover future cost of expropriation of land.
The supplementary budget will also mark a step forward on the authorities' ambitious plans for tax reform. Staff supports the authorities' plan to use part of the gains from tax administration to significantly reduce social security contributions paid by employees, by up to 9 percentage points, to promote employment and participation in the formal economy. The authorities will need to consult the World Bank to ensure that the planned rate reduction does not endanger the sustainability of the pension system. The authorities also plan to eliminate customs tariffs and introduce VAT deferral for imported capital goods with a view to promoting investment. The revenue losses will largely be offset by increases in excise duties, bringing them in line with those of the rest of the region.
Financial System Stability
Albania has a strong, sound, profitable, and liquid banking system that is developing quickly, accompanied by rapid credit growth. Deepening financial intermediation is important for a vibrant and dynamic economy, such as Albania. However, this will also require careful management of the potential risks arising from rapid credit growth. The creation of a credit bureau within the Bank of Albania that is accessible to all banks and the improvement of the framework for collateral execution will be important steps in this direction.
To contain credit growth and reduce risks, the Bank of Albania stands ready to implement further measures to enhance banking supervision and prudential regulations.
Specific recommendations to improve the pricing of risk by banks and tighten bank regulation and supervision (with particular focus on nonperforming loans) are contained in the aide memoire of the parallel IMF technical assistance mission of experts from the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. These actionstogether with the current prudent stance of fiscal and monetary policiesare expected to be sufficient at this juncture. However, if necessary in the future, the Bank of Albania, after consulting with IMF staff, should stand ready to implement additional measures.
There is an urgent need to strengthen non-bank financial supervision. The current supervisory agencies are weak and lack independence. The mission therefore welcomes the authorities' plan to create a unified agency that will incorporate insurance and pension fund supervision and the securities commission. The new agency should be independent, sufficiently funded, and have a properly trained staff to make supervision effective.
Official statistics are in need of further major improvement in order to serve as a reliable basis for policy making.
National accounts statistics still contain significant weaknesses and need further improvements, including the recently revised 2004 data. The lack of timely and high-frequency labor market and wage data remains a challenge for monetary policy analysis, and further efforts are needed by INSTAT in this area in cooperation with the Bank of Albania. Furthermore, the assessment of the balance of payments is complicated by the significance of private transfers and the large informal economy.
The performance criterion on collection and loss rates for KESH for the first quarter of 2006 was not met. While electricity supply has been restored and certain short-term alleviating measures have since been taken, further efforts are needed to bring KESH's financial performance back on track.
All other targets of the program were met and an agreement has been reached on the quantitative targets and structural conditionality for the next program review.
* * * * *
The mission would like to thank the authorities for their outstanding cooperation and warm hospitality.
IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Public Affairs Media Relations
Phone: 202-623-7300 Phone: 202-623-7100
Fax: 202-623-6278 Fax: 202-623-6772
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Albanian Deputy Says Talks on Five Chinese Will Go On
Head of Albanian parliamentary foreign affairs committee expressed his expectation that the bilateral relations will not be affected by the event after a meeting with Chinese top diplomat to Tirana on Wednesday. Albania is set to continue its talks with China on the question of the five Chinese citizens of Uighur ethnicity
Government Establishes State Agency on Legalizations
This agency is going to be directed by the former deputy of the Democratic Party, Shaban Memia - In order to keep faith to its promise for the closure of the legalization process within two years, the government approved on Wednesday the establishment of the State Agency on the Legalization and Urbanization of the Informal Areas all around the country.
Ex-Head of 1992-1997 Intelligence Service Back in DPs Public Administration
"I am the one who informed the state on pyramid schemes danger and the consequences it might bring to Albania," said Gazidede.- The former director of the Secret Service (SHIK), Bashkim Gazidede has been re-integrated into the public administration as he was appointed as the deputy Director General of the Mortgage Office.
Fight Against Money Laundering, Cash Circulation to Be Checked Up in Customs
The Agency for Money Laundering Prevention, the customs and state police launched Tuesday an action plan to monitor the circulation of the amounts in cash through the customs check-points in an attempt to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism The Agency for Money Laundering Prevention in cooperation with the General Customs Directorate and the State Police will adopt strict rules through which they aim at putting an end to the circulation of cash in huge amounts that could be used for financing the terrorism.
Gazidede: I warned about pyramid schemes a year before scandal
Returned in public administration, former head of National Informative Service, Bashkim Gazidede gave his first declaration after eight years. Just appointed deputy director of registration office, former general of 1997 declared he is honoured with the post offered and that has been the first to denounce pyramid schemes and consequences they would have in the country.
I feel sorry that former Governor of Bank of Albania Shkelqim Cani declared once in parliament that Bank of Albania was the first to warn for the scandal of pyramid schemes. But, I want to emphasise that it was me to inform Banks, Ministry of Finances, General Prosecution Office, Interior Ministry and necessary institutions one year before the scandal erupted, Gazidede said. I came here today to start working in the Registration Office. I am honoured with the post and from you, journalists. I will hold a press conference soon. I am pleased to start working in state administration. I do not know what those who appointed me might have thought, but I think this is a job that requires devotion. For the moment I do not think about politics, but work, declared Gazidede for the media.
Responding to journalists question that Immovable Properties Registration Office is often commented for corruption, former head of NIS said he will try his best to eliminate the phenomenon, corruption. Meanwhile, regarding the critics in his address, Gazidede responded that I have many comments to make, but I will speak in the right moment and I will call the media for everything I will have to inform. Responding to the question open by former General Prosecutor Arben Rakipi, former head of NIS said I do not know Arben Rakipi. All I know is that he is the nephew of Tefta Cami and a man of Marxism-Leninism, but now it is not anymore the time of Marxism Leninism, concluded Bashkim Gazidede.
Investigative Commission on Sollaku issue is to hold turns meeting today after the parliamentary session. After long discussions about commissions regulation during first meetings, the investigative commission decided with deputys consensus to be assembled tomorrow, after Parliaments workings, to discuss about the preliminary agenda of issues under inquiry. The preliminary agenda will be based on the object, scope and timetables determined by the Albanian Assembly. According to the preliminary agenda, there is emphasised that commissions duty is to inquire on violations submitted in the request and verify legality or illegality of Prosecution Office activities, as well as General Prosecutors responsibility, as the head of this institution. It is the object and scope of this commissions inquiry to estimate whether these actions or non-actions of Prosecution Office and its officials are legal violations for non-accomplishment of duty, with heavy consequences for the state and citizens, stated the preliminary agenda. Also, according to the agenda, it is clearly emphasised that further verification of reasons, circumstances and intention of actions or non-actions, as well as verification whether there is violation of law by the Prosecution Office and its officials, will be the investigation focus of the commission. According to the opposition, it is chiefly essential that investigative commission follows the legal way of functioning of parliamentary investigative commissions. An issue that raised severe debates was the amendment proposed by democrat deputy Gazmend Oketa, which was rejected after regulations approval. According to this amendment, deputies with conflict of interest should not be allowed to participate in commissions meeting for issues they are to be inquired.
With approach of local elections, Edi Rama and many of his supporters are going through the list of candidates for Mayor of municipalities and communes across the country.Sources in the Socialist Party confirmed that Erion Brace and Fatmir Xhafa are the persons in charge to revise the existing list and draw up a new one. Sources informed the real reason for taking up such work is to exclude local heads that are Nanos supporters from running in the local elections. In the new list are to reappear those people that are already expressed in favour of Edi Rama and the ones expressing discontent are to be excluded. People in the SP are working to replace those against the actual SP head with new ones that support him. So, even for the local elections, it is likely that disruption inside the Socialist Party deepens further. This disruption has started with a debate since Ramas election as party head. The latter is characterised by initiatives to avoid his opponents from partys structures and replace them with his people. Such initiative is highlighted especially with the process, one member, one vote initiated by Rama himself. Estimating this process as newness in politics, last November, Rama called all local party heads to step down in the name of partys reformation. But, following up the events, it showed that it was just movement of the new chairman to replace actual local heads that often recalled the time of Fatos Nano on top of the party, with new people, Edi Ramas supporters. The first sacrificed in this movement was Musa Ulqini, who after resigning from Tirana local branch, called his colleagues to follow his action in the name of partys reformation. But, it was nothing but an attempt to appoint in that post his closest collaborator in the Municipality of Tirana, Mimi Kodheli, who had served as vice Mayor for some years. According to sources in the Socialist Party, it is confirmed that Erion Brace and Fatmir Xhafa, the persons in charge for drawing up the new list, have excluded from the list the mayors of Pogradec, Berat and Fier Municipalities that are not pro Rama. It is expected that many other names are to be added to this list.Socialisterne og valgloven. SOT skriver:
The Socialist Party gives up from the veto in the commission for the Electoral Reform. General Secretary of the Socialist Party Pandeli Majko informed yesterday the SP delivered an official letter to the Speaker of Albanian Assembly Jozefina Topalli, giving the names of SP representatives in the Commission for the Electoral Reform. From six representatives that SP was requesting until now, according to Majko, it is reduced to three. Majko informed that Ben Blushi, Gramoz Ruçi and Kastriot Islami will be three SP deputies in the Commission that will compile the Electoral Reform for the coming local elections. We agreed that from six that was the number of representatives for the Socialist Party, through a consensus with the Democratic Party, to reduce our representation from six to three. Today, we submitted to the Speaker of Albanian Assembly three names that will represent the Socialist Party in the commission for electoral reform, Majko said. Thus, after Sali Berishas declaration that the Democratic Party gives up from the right of veto in the commission for drawing up the electoral reform, the SP had often stated for being in favour of the right of veto for the fact it is in opposition. Many of its leaders had informed the SPs right of veto would also use it for its allies in the commission. But, yesterday this party submitted only three names in parliament, which means the SP withdraws from its request claiming to leave more room for its allies. The Socialist Party was the first party to react after the President call for triggering of electoral reform. Majko supported the Presidents call, immediately submitting the names of its representatives in the commission. Majko said that with this action, the majority cannot claim anymore that Socialist Party is blocking commencement of workings for drawing up the new Electoral Code.
China demands repatriation of Guantanamo prisoners while the Albanian government reviews their asylum case.
By BESAR LIKMETA
While the Albanian government contemplates of whether to grant five Uyghur Chinese, released from the Guantanamo prison in Cuba, asylum, the country has been caught in a diplomatic crossfire between China and the United States.
The government finds itself in a difficult position, trying to appease the requests of two permanent members of the UN Security Council, with which the country has had a strong friendly relationship.
The five Uyghurs are being held in the National Center for Asylum Seekers at the outskirts of Tirana, while the government reviews their application. The man come from a Muslim, Turkic-speaking minority from China's northwestern Xinjiang Province. The center is operated by the Albanian Interior Ministry in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
"We have been waiting for a year for our freedom, but no government wanted to take us in-that was the most difficult thing for us, being innocent but still in prison," said Ababehir Qasim, one the detainees in a telephone interview with RFAs Uyghur service.
"After waiting for a whole year we learned that Albania had agreed to take us as political asylees-and suddenly everything we had been through was forgotten. It was like a celebration for us. We feel that this is a celebration for all the Uyghur people, and we are so delighted."
According to an asylum seeker in the center interviewed by Tirana Times the men were described as deeply religious, praying 5-times a day according to Muslim practice. They dont look Chinese and dont speak the language. We have three other Chinese girls in the center and they could not communicate with them, said the man.
The five prisoners were allowed to visit a lakeside restaurant with their lawyer, Sabin Willet on Monday that came to Albania to ascertain on their condition.
The U.S. position
According to the Pentagon the five men are not be considered any more "enemy combatants," the label it has given detainees at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States has denied those deemed "enemy combatants" rights normally accorded to prisoners of war.
The United States has done the utmost to ensure that the Uyghurs will be treated humanely upon release. Our key objective has been to resettle the Uyghurs in an environment that will permit them to rebuild their lives. Albania will provide this opportunity," said the Pentagon in a statement.
More than a year ago, a military tribunal had determined that none of them had been enemies of the United States after all, and cleared them for release.
Last December, a federal district judge in the United States ruled that it was illegal for the Bush administration to continue to incarcerate the men because it had no basis for holding them.
The judge also ruled that he did not have the power to order the government to release them, saying he could not ask the administration to bring them into the United States for national security reasons. Meanwhile, the State Department kept looking for a third country willing to take them.
'The Government of Albania's resettlement of these individuals is an important humanitarian gesture,' said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. 'The United States government appreciates the assistance of the government of Albania in this important matter.
The five men were among about 20 Chinese Uyghurs held at Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, along with some 470 other inmates.
Two of the men, Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu al-Hakim, had taken their bid for liberty to the US Supreme Court.
They had been forced to remain in the camp even though the US military determined a year ago they were not "enemy combatants" as had been thought when they were captured in Pakistan in 2001.
The Bush administration did not want to admit them to the US, and was seeking another country to take them.
Their case was due to be heard again at a lower court on Monday.
The move to Albania meant the US government could, "avoid having to answer in court for keeping innocent men in jail," said lawyer Barbara Olshansky of the Center of Constitutional Rights and a leading attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
According Uyghur-American Association (UAA) the three other men that have been accepted for resettlement by Albania are Ahtar Qassim, Ayup Haji Ahmet and Ahmet (Doe).
The UAA called the men's release "incredible news". "It's all been very sudden and unexpected, but we understand that all five men are healthy and happy to be free, if a little bewildered by events," Nury Turkel, the association's president, said.
China has insisted that its nationals held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of terrorism should be returned.
According to human rights organizations Beijing has regularly cracked down on Uyghur dissenters. It accuses Uyghur militants of waging a bombing and assassination campaign, and receiving training at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.
The five Chinese who were seeking asylum in Albania could not be regarded as refugees, they were terror suspects and should be repatriated to China immediately, said Chinese Ambassador to Albania during a meeting with his Albanian Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj.
"East Turkistan," upon which the UN Security Council had imposed sanctions, was part of the international terrorist network and had close relations with terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, the ambassador added.
The United States and Albania should repatriate the five "Eastern Turkistan" terrorist suspects as quickly as possible, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Tuesday.
"I think they should be repatriated to China," Liu said, adding that, "The acts of the U.S. and Albanian sides are a gross violation of international law and UN resolution, and we are strongly opposed to this."
"We have made strong representations to related sides and urged them to repatriate the five terrorist suspects to China as soon as possible."
China has lodged formal complaints with the Albanian and U.S. governments over the transfer.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a separatist Muslim group operating in China's western Xinjiang province. ETIM is the most militant of the various groups in the Xinjiang region that demand separation from China and the creation of an independent state called East Turkestan.
The United States had asked about 20 countries to offer settlements to the detainees. But countries such as Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Turkey had turned down the request
Albania in the crossfire
The Albanian foreign minister, Besim Mustafaj, has promised that the government will look into the ties of the five men to possible terrorist groups.
"We don't know what they did before," he said in an interview. "I told the Chinese ambassador that we would investigate their activities."
According to Mustafaj the government accepted the men based on United States
assurances that they were not "enemy combatants," the term used by the United States to label members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terror groups.
Meanwhile the leader of the opposition party The Democratic Alliance and member Foreign Affairs Commission, Neritan Ceka has asked the Albanian government that the five detainees be repatriated to China because Albania is a country which has long signed treaties and conventions against terrorism.
According to the head of the Social Democracy Party and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Paskal Milo, the government should be very careful about holding the balances between the US and China which he called friendly and partners states.
This is a delicate issue that has to do with human relationships, but also with the relationship with powerful countries friendly to Albania. A solution would be political asylum in a moment that does not spring reactions from a foreign power, with which we have a good relationship that requires caution in its treatment, caution in the forms of warnings and dialogue for a minimal understanding with the other party, which in this case is the Chinese government, said Milo.
In an interview for the AP, the detainees lawyer Sabin Willett said U.S. President George Bush's administration "has simply taken advantage of the good relationship with Albania to try to make one of its problems go away and I think that's unfortunate."
The tension created by the Albania acceptance of the five Uighurs from Guantanamo, has brought the first repercussions in Chinese- Albanian relations. A Chinese government delegation canceled its visit to Albania where they were to meet with the Ombudsman Ermir Dobjani, according to a source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The same fate has suffered a delegation from the Albanian Ministry Of Energy, head by deputy Minster Eno Bozdo. According to a source in the Ministry of Economy the delegation has not been able to have any meetings, after the critical situation created by the transfer of the Uyghur prisoners.
In no mans land
The United States had ruled out the return of the detainees to China as-early-as 2004.
In an April 2004 interview former Secretary of Sate Colin Powel had stated that Uyghur Muslims detained at Guantanamo Bay on charges of terrorism would not be returned to China. In 2003 the organization Human Rights Watch had urged the United Stated to not send Uyghur detainees back to China.
According to Human Rights Watch, China has a long and well-documented history of repression of the Uighurs, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking community. The government has systematically tortured and otherwise mistreated suspected separatists. The death penalty has been used against those found guilty of separatist activities after trials that do not meet international fair trial standards
The organization has also scolded the United Sates for holding certain categories of detainees in Guantanamo that should be released.
There are people being held at Guantanamo who shouldnt be there, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch in a letter to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The United States cannot simply hold the detainees for as long as it wants.
The British government's top legal adviser has also called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, which he has named a symbol of injustice. "The existence of Guantanamo Bay remains unacceptable. It is time, in my view, that it should close," Attorney General Peter Goldsmith said in a speech in London.
"I believe it would also help to remove what has become a symbol to many--right or wrong--of injustice. The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol,"
Starting from today, Mjaft has started a tour in different cities of Albania, as part of the \"Live Green\" campaign. This campaign will comprise public debates between the mayors and local communities, and environment-protection organizations, as well as environment-cleaning and awareness raising actions.
Below, you will find an agenda of the activities according to the respective cities.
If you have the time and chance, we would delighted if you joined us in one or more of the activities.
All the best,
Agenda of the \"Live Green\" Caravan, 15 May - 25 May
May, 15 May - Fier
-09:00 - 10:00 hrs, Departure from Tirana -Tirana - Fier trip (2 hours) -Public Forum in Fier -Public Action in Fier
Tuesday, 16 May - Saranda
-Fier - Saranda trip
-Public Forum in Saranda
Wednesday, 17 May - Saranda, Delvina
-Public Action in Saranda
-Sarande - Delvina trip
-Public Forum in Delvina
-Public Action in Delvina
-Delvina - Gjirokastra trip
Thursday, 18 May - Gjirokastra
-Public Forum in Gjirokastra
-Public Action in Gjirokastra
Friday, 19 May - Permet
-Gjirokastra - Permet trip
-Public Action in Permet
-Permet - Korca trip
Saturday, 20 May - Korca
-Public Forum in Korca
-Public Action in Korca
-Korca - Pogradec trip
Sunday, 21 May - Pogradec
-Public Forum in Pogradec
-Public Action in Pogradec
-Pogradec - Elbasan trip
Monday, 22 May - Elbasan
-Public Action in Elbasan
-Public Forum in Elbasan
-Elbasan - Shkodra trip
Tuesday, 23 May - Shkodra, Velipoja
-Public Forum in Shkodra
-Public Action in Shkodra
-Public Action in Velipoja
Wednesday, 24 May - Peshkopi
-Shkodra - Peshkopi trip
-Public Forum in Peshkopi
-Public Action in Peshkopi
Thursday, 25 May - Tirana
-Peshkopi - Tirane trip
-Public Action in Tirana
-End of the Caravan
For more information, please contact us.
MJAFT! (Green) Crew
Rr. Elbasanit, Nr. 77, Tirana
Tel/Fax +355 4 223 661
Project Title: Comprehensive Advocacy Strategy 2005-2006
The Advocacy Task Force (ATF), compounded by the following participant NGOs: Albanian Center for Human Rights (ACHR), The Center for the Civic Legal Initiative (CCLI), Amaro-Drom, Free Legal Consultancy (TLAS) and Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution (AFCR), during the period 2005-2006, is engaged in the implementation of the project Comprehensive Advocacy Strategy 2005-2006.
This project has two main components:
a) The integration of Roma community in the Albanian society by focusing in the implementation of the Roma children education rights, in accordance to the EU standards, and
b) On the implementation of the laws and improvement of the standards for the proper information and treatment of the asylum seekers and refugees in Albania.
As part of the project on the Integration of Roma community in the Albanian society by focusing in implementation minority education rights was the preparation of an evaluation report on monitoring of the primary school registration and attendance of Roma children amid the ages 6 to 15 years old, in the urban school of three areas (Tirana, Fier and Korça). From the preliminary evaluation, with regard to Roma children who attend the obligatory 9-year elementary education was found that only 20% of the Roma children attend the obligatory education, and the rest, about 80% remain uneducated, thus being denied an essential right of each citizen, which is guaranteed by law.
The coalition composed by Albania Centre for Human Rights and The Centre for the Civic Legal Initiative, have been working to gather an comprehensive information on the legal adoptions for the asylum seekers and refugees in the Albanian territory aiming so to identify the standards for the informing and the treatment of the asylum seekers in entrance places in Albania.
NGO: Albania Foundation for Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation of disputes
Tirana, 10, January 2006
A Found Friend activities for the period 2005-2006
A found friend is a regional project focused on a very important target group young people, students from Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia, with an important goal: to give its contribution in the integration process, by the education of teachers and students in human rights, peace, tolerance, reconciliation and other values of modern civil society and their active promotion in local communities. All the locations of project implementation are multiethnic and the model of diversity respectation and tolerance is the one that contributes to the development of modern civil society.
Its the fifth year that the A found friend project is being implemented in Albania. It is now the beginning of the new phase and so far, according to the project, we had selected the new schools which are Leonik Tomeo in Durres and Halim Xhelo in Vlora where will be held activities foreseen in the project. Actually we are in the process of contacting the teachers in these new schools. We had contacts with the teachers in the old schools Petro Nini Luarasi in Tirana and "28 Nentori in Shkodra and we informed and selected them for the position of workshop leaders and facilitators. We have their support because they once again expressed their will to be part of this project. We are arranging a joint meeting with teachers (old and new ones) in the mid January (16-17 January 2006).
280 high school students is the number of the beneficiaries of this project, 30 high school teachers are involved in the project and about 60 local and regional representatives confirm their participation in the AFF activities, in Albania.
Today we presented a progressive report to the donators in which we introduced the preparatory activities realised till now and the ones we planned for February.
Name: Manjola Hysa, AFF as/Coordinator
NGO: Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution (AFCR)
Tirana, 9th January 2006
ANKARA - An Ankara court on Monday ruled on extradition of Alfret Shkurti to Albania.
Albania had issued a red bulletin for Shkurti on charges that he was the head of a criminal organization named ''Banda Aldo Bare''.
Cemil Cem, lawyer of Shkurti, made defense of the suspect named ''Aldo Bare''. Cem said his client would not have safety in Albania if the court rules to extradite him. He defended that Bare would face risk of death in Albania.
Stating that Bare sought asylum in Turkey and that response to his request should be waited, Cem claimed that his client's trial in Albania, which keeps him responsible for the secret killings, still continues.
Cem said such a decision would contradict European Convention on Human Rights if Bare was extradited and requested his client's release from prison on bail.
Alfret Shkurti through a translator, said he did not accept the accusations.
Court Chairman Oktay Saday said they decided on extradition of Shkurti to Albania and stated that Council of Ministers would make the final decision regarding the extradition procedures.
Cem said he would appeal the verdict.
Ankara Security Department teams arrested Shkurti on March 25th, 2006 in a house in Batikent district of Ankara.
A red bulletin was issued against Shkurti in 2000.
KOSOVO STATUS BETWEEN TWO EXTREMES, SAYS AHTISAARI
BELGRADE, May 17 (Beta) - The U.N. envoy for negotiations about the status of Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, stated in Brussels on May 17 that the status of the province should be set in the existing "grey zone" between the two extremes, i.e. between an "agreed" and an "imposed" solution.
After a meeting with the NATO Council and General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Ahtisaari said that, if it was not possible for a solution to the status of Kosovo to be found by Dec. 31, 2006, "then we will have to live with it."
The Finnish diplomat said that the talks in Vienna and everything concerning decentralization and the creation of security conditions for the minorities, especially the Serbs, would be completed in June, and that he would then submit his report to the U.N. Security Council. "After that, we hope we will be able to start the talks about the status," he said. Ahtisaari announced that he would travel from Brussels to Strasbourg, in order to meet with the ministers of the Council of Europe. Then, he will visit Moscow on June 2, Beijing on June 3 and later Scandinavia.
Asked whether he saw any connection between the referendum in Montenegro and the solving of the Kosovo issue, Ahtisaari replied that these were "two separate things" and that he did not believe the referendum would have an influence on the process of solving the status.
After the meeting with Ahtisaari, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that much remained to be done in the implementation of standards and decentralization in Kosovo.
The NATO general secretary reiterated that the Kosovo Serbs should enter the institutions in Kosovo and that, during a phone conversation with Serbian President Boris Tadic, he asked that Belgrade encourage them to do so. He announced that NATO forces would remain in Kosovo after determining the status in order to protect the minorities, primarily the Serbs, and religious sites.
Belgrade/Berlin, May 17, 2006 Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today in an interview to the daily Rheinische Post from Düsseldorf, that he believes the state union of Serbia-Montenegro will survive, and also that the solution for the future status of Kosovo-Metohija should be sought in compromise.
Kostunica, who concluded his two-day working visit to Germany yesterday, stressed that that compromise is called Europe and everyone can live with it. The maximal demands for Kosovo-Metohija are impossible to realise, neither Serbian, nor Albanian, hence the need to aim for compromise, which lies in between those two positions.
He said that the solution for the Kosovo-Metohija issue should not under any circumstances be forced, and as good examples of solutions to conflicts in Europe he mentioned Northern Ireland and the Italian province of Trentino Alto Adige, which the Germans and Austrians call South Tyrol.
Speaking on the forthcoming referendum on independence in Montenegro, Kostunica said that in his opinion, there will be no new crisis in the Balkans even if the referendum results in the separation of Montenegro from the state union, but in that case everything will become more complicated.
In that case all that is common would have to be divided. Questions would arise regarding what belongs to whom, leading to discord in the very hearts of many families in which some members want Montenegro to be independent, while others are in favour of living in a common country with Serbia, said Kostunica.
He stressed that he sees the common future of Serbia and Montenegro in the European Union, and added that his evaluations in that sense are supported by Brussels with frequent statements saying that Serbia is important for the EU.
Kostunica said however that Brussels was not justified in calling off the negotiations between the EU and Belgrade on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Serbia has the political will to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal, but there still are technical problems which need to be resolved, explained Kostunica.
Divisions of no benefit either to Serbia or to Montenegro
Belgrade, May 17, 2006 Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said in the light of the forthcoming referendum in Montenegro that dividing the country and breaking up a unified community cannot be of any benefit either to Serbia or to Montenegro. He added that Serbia wishes and calls upon the people of Montenegro to work together with Serbia as equal partners to build a common and European future.
The Serbian governments official web site provides the Prime Ministers statement in full.
The people of Montenegro will bring a historical decision on May 21 and determine whether they want to continue living together with Serbia.
Serbia greatly values and respects Montenegro, the Montenegrin people, their great nation-building tradition and national leaders who have left their mark in history. Serbia has a sincere wish based on brotherly respect to live together with Montenegro in a common state. We are offering a brotherly hand to build our common future as equal partners.
What Serbia wants is for us to build our future together, that we create together, that we promote the good things that our ancestors fought for and left us a responsibility to give our unity our own seal and contribution.
The unity of Serbia and Montenegro is unbreakable, intertwined with a multitude of links and deeply entwined with the life of people. Njegos cannot be divided just like Karadjordje cannot be divided. Equality and unity of Serbia and Montenegro originates from our real lifes unity. The dividing of the country and the breaking of our living unity cannot be of any benefit either to Serbia or to Montenegro.
Serbia wishes and calls upon the people of Montenegro for us to build our European future together, the Serbian Prime Minister said in a statement.
Nearly 1,900 discharged soldiers from the Serbia and Montenegro army will be provided with reintegration assistance to ensure their successful transition into civilian society and workforce through a two-year programme to be carried out by IOM.
The nearly six million euro programme, which is funded by 20 NATO members through a NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund, is to be carried out in close cooperation with the Serbian Ministry of Defence. Regular information and counselling to former soldiers on opportunities for gainful civilian employment will be provided through four regional resettlement centres in Nis, Novi Sad, Podgorica and Belgrade.
Special attention will be given to former soldiers who have no formal qualifications other than military training, who are the sole breadwinners for the family, who will loose housing benefits and who do not qualify for full pension rights.
Those eligible will be able to apply for grants and loans to help them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to secure employment on the civilian labour market.
Serbia and Montenegro has initiated a comprehensive defence reform, which includes a phased downsizing of its armed forces over the next four years.
IOM has successfully provided reintegration support to more than 270,000 former soldiers in Afghanistan, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Guatemala, Haiti, Mali, Mozambique, the Philippines, East Timor and more recently in the province of Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina.
For further information, please contact:
Tel +385 1 481 67 74
Vuk Draskovic on May 17 described as "criminal" a decision by Serbia's Supreme Court to overturn the convictions of two men who allegedly tried to assassinate him in 1999, B92 reported the same day. On May 16, the court overturned the convictions of Milorad Ulemek and Radomir Markovic, citing procedural violations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 17, 2006). Draskovic suggested the ruling might be part of an agreement by Serbian officials to let the pair escape. "It is certain that the doors are completely open to the suspicion that this is the result of an agreement between senior officials of the Serbian Interior Ministry and Security Information Agency made with the operative organizer of the crime," he said.
Draskovic added that his Serbian Renewal Party (SPO), a member of Prime Minister Kostunica's ruling coalition, will hold a meeting in the coming weeks to decide how to respond to the court's decision. Draskovic said the SPO may pull out of the government.
At todays meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, the Montenegrin Cabinet has adopted the Declaration on Relations with the United Nations after the Referendum on State-Legal Status. In accordance with the principle contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the will of people is the foundation of government authority, after the expected positive decision of citizens on a referendum on state-legal status, the Republic of Montenegro will apply for membership in the United Nations and its specialized agencies as soon as possible, the Declaration points out.
Determined to respect undertaken international obligations, the Government of the Republic of Montenegro will continue to enforce and observe all signed documents of the United Nations embraced in the framework of the state union, as well as the existing arrangements with the UN with regards to the work of UN agencies in Montenegro, with a view to continuing cooperation and implementation the launched projects, until new arrangements are made with an independent and internationally recognized state of Montenegro.
The Declaration emphasizes the Governments determination, in accordance with basic UN principles and fundamentals of modern democracy, to continue to enforce and promote the policy of full observation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens, as well as to continue to develop multiethnic and multi-religious character of the Montnegrin society, as a fundamental value of Montenegro.
By way of continuing the harmonization of Montenegros legislation with the EU standards, the Cabinet has adopted the Foreign Nationals Bill, regulating foreign nationals entry, movement and sojourn in Montenegro. The visa regime, residence permits, entry and movement of foreign nationals and issues concerning legal and illegal immigration have been harmonized, to the greatest extent possible, with the Schengen Convention and Montenegros present situation and status in the process of association with the EU. The Bill also facilitates the movement of capital, goods and people, on the one hand, and curbs cross-border crime, particularly organized one, on the other.
As part of the criminal legislation reform, the Cabinet has adopted the Criminal Code Amendment Bill. Experience with practical implementation of the Code has shown that the proposed amendments are necessary in order to improve the efficiency of competent authorities.
Furthermore, the Cabinet has adopted the Third Quarterly Report on the Fulfillment of Montenegros Responsibilities related to the Stabilization and Association Process, which is to be forwarded to the Parliament for consideration. The Report contains information on the progress of negotiations on the Stabilization and Association Agreement and the Action Plan for the Renewed European Partnership.
The Cabinet has accepted the Analysis of the Implementation of the Economic Policy of Montenegro and the Report on Macro-Fiscal Developments in the First Quarter of 2006. The Cabinet has concluded that all the parameters analyzed indicate strengthening of macroeconomic stability, more dynamic economic growth and further decline in public expenditure.
At todays meeting, the Cabinet has also adopted the Communication on the Building of Protective Footwear and Clothing Workshop. It has concluded that this project, which is to employ 182 persons with a physical disability, is fully cost-effective in terms of investment return. The project enables persons with limited work capacity to exercise their right to work and properly participate in social and economic processes, which is a constant concern of the Government.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic met in Belgrade today with the United States Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro Michael Polt.
In an open discussion, Prime Minister Djukanovic told Ambassador Polt that the referendum process was being carried out in a constructive atmosphere, in line with pre-defined rules. This was agreed to be of key importance.
Having expressed his confidence of a clear referendum result in favor of Montenegros independence, Prime Minister Djukanovic acquainted the American Ambassador with the Montenegrin Governments activities and priorities after the referendum. This, first and foremost, referred to the consolidation of cooperation with the European Union, with a view to concluding the negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement by the end of the year and the talks with Serbia on cooperation in addressing the issues of common interest and future relations.
Having welcomed such an approach, Ambassador Polt gave his full support to the priorities presented and expressed satisfaction that the referendum process was being carried out in a positive atmosphere, in accordance with pre-defined rules.
The talks were also attended by American Consult in Podgorica Arlene Ferrill.
Party leaders sign Declaration on fair elections
Skopje /18/05/ 18:16
The ruling and opposition parties have endorsed their commitment for holding fair elections as a strategic interest of the country and a key prerequisite for its Euro-Atlantic integration.
"We are expressing our readiness for democratic conduct and full respect of the law and the recognized democratic standards in the election process", says the Declaration for holding free and fair elections, signed today by party leaders at the meeting hosted by the President Branko Crvenkovski.
Recognizing the fact that any irregularities during the election process would have negative impact on the strategic interests of the country, the party leaders vowed for conducting a positive pre-election campaign.
"Any act of violence or non-democratic behavior which deprives or limits the right to choose will be condemned and qualified as an act of undermining the state interests", the Declaration says.
The document was signed by the President Branko Crvenkovski and the leaders of SDSM - Vlado Buckovski, of DUI - Ali Ahmeti, of VMRO DPMNE - Nikola Gruevski, of DPA - Arben Xhaferi, of LDP - Risto Penov, of NSDP - Tito Petkovski and of LP - Stojan Andov.
The European Ambassador Erwan Fouere, OSCE Ambassador Carlos Pais and U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Gillian Milovanovich also attended the meeting hosted by the Head of State Crvenkovski.
The meeting with the party leaders marks the completion of a series of consolations aimed at holding fair and democratic elections, carried out by the Head of State with media representatives, mayors and leaders of the religious communities in the country.
The Citizens Advocates Bureaus report on the first year of the law contains reference to just 20 cases. [One of them is:]
An Albanian citizen protested at being refused a student grant and scholarship from the State Scholarship Foundation because he was not of Greek origin. Greek legislation does not recognize these rights for foreign students from third countries. The only discrimination allowed by European law is that based on citizenship. But in Greeces case, according to Andreas Takis, the number of state grants and services that are dependent on citizenship are too numerous. It is very easy to see where this mentality comes from if one looks at Greeces history. Many professions, such as that of a butcher, require a permit that demands Greek citizenship. However, this restriction has gradually been forgotten, as in other cases, when there have been no existing political reasons for its existence.
So one wonders why it should continue to be in force for someone who has been living in Greece for many years and is a long-term resident. So there is no apparent reason, as with the Albanian applying for a scholarship, to prefer only those with Greek citizenship. I believe that this is a major issue that should be dealt with at European level.
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