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Albania: Tirana Talks Continue

Tirana, 11 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Talks continue in the Albanian capital Tirana today on the formation of an interim government amid reports of continued violence in the rebel-controlled south.

The talks between President Sali Berisha and opposition party leaders began yesterday and some agreements have been reached, but control of the interior ministry remains unsettled. Under a deal reached Sunday between Berisha and the opposition, an interim government is to rule until new elections no later than June.

Berisha agreed to the step in an effort to end a revolt in the south following the January collapse of several high-risk investment schemes. Most rebels are demanding Berisha's resignation, blaming him for not protecting the public from the schemes.

Lawlessness is reported in several southern towns today. In the port of Saranda, looters have largely emptied a state-run hotel.

And Reuter reports that rebels now control an airbase in the town of Kucove 100 kilometers south of Tirana, where 19 MiG fighter planes are based. Air force pilots at the base say they refused orders to prevent the rebels from overrunning it yesterday.