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Albania: Government And Opposition Disagree On Talks

Tirana, 19 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Albania's government and opposition disagreed today over talks aimed at easing a crisis following the collapse of several get-rich-quick investment schemes.

An official of the ruling Democratic Party rejected an opposition demand that the government of Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi resign ahead of talks. The opposition also demands the release of those detained in weeks of often violent anti-government protests and an end to a ban on peaceful rallies.

Both sides say they plan separate rallies tomorrow in the capital Tirana, technically to mark the sixth anniversary of the end of the country's communist dictatorship. The opposition has also called rallies in other towns.

President Sali Berisha traveled yesterday to Lushnje 85 kilometers south of Tirana where he admitted the government should have warned about the dangers of the schemes. He spoke to a group of supporters and eyewitnesses said Berisha's car was stoned as he left the town.

Berisha's office says he will travel to the central town of Elbasan later today to continue his efforts to explain the government's handling of the crisis.