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Albania: OSCE Warns That Election Conditions Must Be Honored

Vienna, 23 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The international mediator in Albania, Franz Vranitzky, has warned that international involvement in next month's elections might be reconsidered if the conditions for a free and fair poll are not ensured.

Vranitzky, who was appointed by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) included the warning in a message of congratulations sent to the Albanian prime minister, Bashkim Fino, over last night's political agreement on holding the elections.

Vranitzky told Fino that although the international community could assist in organizing the elections the final responsibility for the elections rests with Albania. He says today's meeting of the OSCE permanent council had agreed that OSCE involvement in Albania, in his words, "would have to be reconsidered if basic conditions were not provided throughout the electoral process."

Vranitzky says he is "conscious of the difficulties which must be overcome to ensure that the elections are held successfully." He says OSCE is ready to work with Fino and his Government "to create the conditions for elections which genuinely represent the popular will of the Albanian people."

He said today's meeting of the OSCE permanent council unanimously agreed to provide assistance, advice and intensive monitoring of the electoral process.

Vranitzky told the permanent council that the international community could offer support and advice in the preparation and implementation of the election process. He says the international community could also carry-out intensive observations of the pre-election process and of the actual voting and could also assist in post-election activities.

Vranitzky says last night's political agreement in Tirana means that next Monday's conference on Albania in Rome could "move ahead with concrete and definite plans for the international community to provide economic and financial assistance."