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Albania: European Official Calls For Political 'Responsibility'

Strasbourg, 19 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly today appealed to Albania's government and opposition parties to show what she called "responsibility" during the country's current crisis.

In a statement issued at Council headquarters in Strasbourg, President Leni Fischer of Germany said that the popular "mistrust created (by the collapse of pyramid investment schemes in Albania) is a threat to the future development of the country." She called for "proper investigations." If fraud was committed, she added, "the perpetrators should be put on trial."

Fischer said that a responsible approach by Albanian political leaders of all parties is necessary to bring the present situation under control.

"Albania needs dialogue and cooperation, not further confrontation," she said. She offered the Parliamentary Assembly's continued assistance to promote dialogue.

Fischer also said that "the problem today is that the financial scandal exacerbates unresolved political tensions between the Government and the opposition." In that respect, she recalled that late last month the Parliamentary Assembly made "concrete proposals aimed at ending the country's political crisis.

Fischer cited the Assembly's January 29 resolution on Albania which, she recalled, called on the Tirana Government "to provide guarantees that would allow the opposition parties to function normally (and also called on) opposition parties to end their boycott of Parliament."

Albania has been a member of the Council of Europe since July 1995 and its parliamentarians have been represented in the Assembly for almost five years.