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Albania: Italy's Prime Minister Faces Uncertain Future Over Security Force

Rome, 8 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Italy's center-right opposition Freedom Alliance says it will vote against the government's proposal to send a multi-national security force into Albania. Today's announcement by Freedom Alliance leader Silvio Berlusconi means Prime Minister Romano Prodi would be under considerable pressure to resign should the government lose the vote.

Prodi does not have an absolute majority in the Italian parliament and was counting on Freedom's support. His partner in government, the left-wing Refounded Communists, have already said they would vote against the proposal.

In Tirana, Albanian rebels today warned commanders of the security force not to meet with President Sali Berisha. Rebel leader Clirim Hoxha told AP television a meeting between the commander of the security force, Italian general Luciano Forlani, and Berisha "would be a clear provocation to the people." Nations contributing to the force are still discussing the best way to deploy troops.

Meanwhile, the director of an independent newspaper in the Albanian capital Tirana says his home was fired on today.

Spetim Nazarko, who runs the newspaper "Dita Informacion" told our correspondent by phone from Tirana that no one was injured in the shooting.

Nazarko said that he had received a telephone call yesterday warning him not to resume publication of his newspaper. The paper was published today for the first time following earlier moves by President Sali Berisha and his Democratic Party to censor the press. Censorship was imposed earlier this year after several high-risk investment schemes collapsed, sparking nationwide unrest.