Tirana, 15 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Albania's prime minister Bashkim Fino welcomed the arrival of multinational troops today and said their presence will help restore peace and order to the Balkan nation after months of violence.
He particularly addressed his thanks to Italy, which is leading a force of 6,000 troops from eight countries. The first 1,000 Italian, French and Spanish troops began arriving today by air and sea. The force will protect humanitarian aid supplies from lawless armed gangs.
Fino also thanked the United Nations, European Union, United States, and the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for backing the mission.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Turhan Tayan said more than 500 Turkish marines will leave next week to join the multinational force. Turkey's bitter rival, Greece, is also sending 760 soldiers to Albania tomorrow.