Albania's president agrees to call off military
Government strikes amnesty deal with opposition
March 6, 1997
Web posted at: 12:46 p.m. EST (1746 GMT)
TIRANA, Albania (CNN) --
President Sali Berisha
, backed by
Albania's opposition parties, agreed Thursday to suspend
military activity against armed protesters in the south and
to offer an amnesty to insurgents who surrendered weapons
within two days.
The offer was made public in a statement after more than five
hours of talks.
The statement said participants in the talks asked the
Council of Defense, overseeing emergency measures introduced
last weekend, "to order the suspension of offensive military
operations in the zones where they had been planned, for 48
hours starting at 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday."
Insurgents were to start handing in their arms at the same
time and would be granted an amnesty if they had committed
no crimes, the statement said.
More than 25 people have died in southern Albania in the
latest wave of more than a month of violence. Insurgents
took control of several towns in the region.
The government of Aleksandar Meksi resigned last week in a
bid to quell the protests, which grew out of failed
investment schemes in which nearly every Albanian family lost
Thursday's announcement from Berisha said a commission of
experts including members of all political parties would be
formed to expose the true nature of the fraudulent pyramid
Berisha was to start seeking a consensus on a replacement
Opposition parties, led by the successors to the Communist
Party, have demanded creation of a coalition government of
Meanwhile, international efforts to find a political solution
to the crisis have intensified.
A Council of Europe delegation was in Tirana Thursday and
Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, representing the
European Union, was due to arrive Friday after talks in Rome
Reuters contributed to this report.
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