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Albania: International Envoy Meets Government Officials

Tirana, 16 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The top international envoy for Albania, Franz Vranitzky, and Albanian government officials today discussed ways of creating a secure environment in the chaos-torn country for elections to be held in June.

Franz Vranitzky, Austria's former chancellor, arrived for two days of talks intended to further political dialogue. He said he hoped to include in his discussions the citizens' committees that control much of the rebel south where violence continues.

Tomorrow he plans to travel to the heart of the insurgency, the southern port of Vlore, as well as to the northern city of Shkodra. Before Vranitzky arrived, President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party harshly criticized him for having met members of the insurgent committees on a previous mission .

Meanwhile, the first Greek soldiers left Salonika today to join the Italian-led multinational force deploying to protect humanitarian aid shipments to Albania's poorest residents. A second contingent of French troops also headed to Albania.