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Albania: Two Sides Agree To Suspend Military Activity


Tirana, 6 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Albanian President Sali Berisha and opposition parties today reached an agreement to suspend military activity against rebels in the south provided the insurgents turn in their weapons within a 48-hour period. The agreement was made public in a statement after more than five hours of talks in Tirana between Berisha and representatives of the main opposition parties.

The accord also called for Berisha to amnesty rebels who turn in their arms within 48 hours and to start consultations on the appointment of a new prime minister "aiming at the broadest possible consensus."

The 48-hour period starts at 0500 GMT (6 a.m. Central European Time) tomorrow.

Twenty-five people have died in more than a month of violence in Albania, which erupted in armed revolt in the southern parts of the country. Rebels are said to be in control of several towns in the south and to be digging in for a fight against governmenmt troops. In the town of Saranda across the Greek border insurgents reportedly dynamited a bridge to prevent government tanks from entering the town.

International efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis also intensified. Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, representing the European Union, is due to arrive tomorrow for talks in Tirana.
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