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Albania: Military Mission On Hold

Rome, 2 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - European mediator Franz Vranitsky says a planned military mission to Albania, which he called "indispensable," will not be ready to leave for at least another ten days.

Vranitsky gave no reason for the delay, but said the international community must act jointly now to avoid a crisis similar to the Bosnian conflict. Vranitsky, who heads the Albanian intervention efforts for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was speaking at a news conference in Rome. He next travels to Athens to meet Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino and Dutch Foreign Minister Hans Van Mierlo.

Earlier today, Fino held talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in the rebel-held southern Albanian town of Gjirokaster. The two Prime Ministers discusssed plans for a multi-national force to secure the delivery of food supplies to Albania.

The 5,000-member multinational force aims to protect humanitarian aid supplies by securing ports and Tirana airport.