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OSCE Arguing Over Albania Appointment

Vienna, April 4, 1997 (RFE/RL) - An argument has developed within the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) over the appointment of a representative to be based in Albania. OSCE officials in Vienna tell RFE/RL that some countries are pressing for the appointment of the Swiss diplomat Tim Guldimann, who resigned this week as head of the OSCE assistance group in Chechnya. The European Union (EU), however, is insisting that one of its nationals should get the job and has proposed a Dutch diplomat.

The appointment is expected to be made within the next two weeks.

Whoever is chosen will be the deputy of Austria's former chancellor Franz Vranitzky, whom OSCE has appointed coordinator of the international operation in Albania. The deputy will be based in Albania, and will be responsible for day-to-day operations.

OSCE officials (anonymous) tell our correspondent today that there was considerable support for Guldimann, who is considered to have done an extremely good job during his 15 months as head of the Chechnya mission. An official statement issued by OSCE said he had "played a major role in the peace process, and in the holding of democratic elections" in Chechnya.

Guldimann resigned this week at his own wish. He had been nominated for the Chechnya post by Switzerland, which held the chairmanship of the OSCE last year, but officials said he could have stayed-on if he wished.