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Albania: Next 24 Hours Crucial, Says Italy


Tirana, 20 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Italian Defense Minister Beniamino Andreatta today called on all political groups in Albania to make mutual concessions, saying that the next 24 hours could be crucial for the violence-wracked Balkan country.

He made the comments to reporters in Rome and did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino has telephoned Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi to ask for international help to achieve a compromise on early elections. They were called by President Sali Berisha despite opposition objections.

Fino's spokesman said Fino issued the same appeal in a phone conversation yesterday with former Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, who has led two mediation missions to Albania in recent weeks.

Opposition parties are threatening to boycott the parliamentary elections, scheduled for June 29, because of a controversial law Berisha pushed through parliament. Opposition parties say it gives his Democratic Party an unfair advantage.
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