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EU Envoy In Tirana To Mediate Political Crisis

Miroslav Lajcak holds a press conference in Tirana on January 26.
A top EU Balkans envoy is in Tirana to mediate the escalating political crisis after the deadly antigovernment protests on January 21.

An EU delegation led by Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak held talks with Albanian President Bamir Topi and Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

Lajcak was due to also meet with the opposition Socialist leader, Tirana Mayor Edi Rama.

After the talks, Berisha said he had canceled a planned weekend rally of pro-government supporters.

The rally had been planned in response to a Rama-led opposition protest scheduled for January 21.

Three people were killed at the antigovernment protest in Tirana organized by the Socialist opposition.

The EU has urged Albanian political leaders to relaunch a dialogue in order to find a solution for the political crisis.

The dispute dates back to the June 2009 parliamentary elections, still contested by the opposition.

compiled from agency reports