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Albania: Nano Proposes Albania Be An Italian Protectorate

Tirana, 11 December 1997 (RFE/RL) --Albania's socialist Prime Minister Fatos Nano says his country should become an Italian protectorate.

Nano made the proposal in an interview with the Italian daily la Repubblica yesterday.

He told the paper's correspondent in Tirana, "Italy is a European country and Albania needs precisely a European protectorate to recover its institutions."

He says Albania will show is able to accept 'protection' in order to become a European Union member state as soon as possible. He noted Italians are already working in Albanian government ministries to make them more efficient.

Albanian politicians responded sharply today to Nano's call for a protectorate. The chairman of the Albanian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Sabri Godo, rejected Nano's appeal as "irresponsible and uncontrolled".The deputy chairman of Albania's main opposition Democratic Party (DP) Genc Pollo responded by calling Nano "an abnormal prime minister" and calling for his immediate resignation.

Certain regions in central and southern Albania were under an Italian protectorate during World War I and in 1920.

Nano says Albania will demonstrate that it is a partner country and not a colony. In his words, "we are asking for aid but we also want to participate in its distribution."

The Albanian prime minister says he will discuss these issues with Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini in Tirana on December 18.

Nano says Tirana and other cities should be developed and buildings and roads reconstructed with Italian assistance. He says the only buildings which are still in a good state are those built at the time of fascist Italy's occupation of Albania from 1939 to 1944.