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Albania: Agreement Reached On Election Date

Vlore, 17 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - International mediator Franz Vranitzky said today that all parties in Albania's unity government had agreed to elections June 29. However, he said no agreement had been reached on conditions for voting.

Vranitzky made the comment after meeting with President Sali Berisha for a second day in the capital Tirana.

Berisha agreed to elections and the appointment of a unity government earlier this year in an effort to end widespread unrest following the collapse of dubious financial schemes. Some 300 people have been killed in random violence in Albania, and rebels hold most of the south.

An advance group of Italian soldiers arrived today in the southern rebel-held port of Vlore. The soldiers said the aim of the visit was to look at strategic sites. Vlore is one of the areas Italian troops leading a 6,000-member international force to Albania are to be based in an effort to secure delivery of aid supplies.

Another 200 Italian troops disembarked at the port of Durres today and set out for Fier, a rebel-held town 35 kilometers north of Vlore.