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Romania: Romania to send troops to join Albania mission

Bucharest, 10 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Romania's parliament today approved the deployment of 400 troops in a multinational military mission to Albania. Parliament consented to President Emil Constantinescu's request to send the troops by a vote of 231 in favor with 61 opposed with 64 abstentions. The leftist and nationalist opposition voted against or abstained.

Foreign Minister Adrian Severin told a joint session of parliament "by acting in Albania, Romania is actually defending its own security".

The Romanian contingent of the Italian-led force, made up of 392 infantry men and eight officers, is to be deployed starting next week in the Adriatic ports of Vlore and Sarande and the southern town of Gjirokaster.

Parliament also approved Constantinescu's request to use the airport in Romania's western city of Timisoara, on the border with Serbia and Hungary, as a logistics and supply base for the Albanian operation.

Severin says the operation is in line with Romania's efforts to integrate into Western military structures.