The success of the multinational protection force in Albania could provide a precedent for similar operations in the future, Member States told the Security Council today, as it met to consider the situation in that country. They stressed that the Council's swift response and the rapid deployment of the force had ensured a return to stability. However, Albania needed continued support from the international community.
The multinational force, known as "Operation Alba", was authorized by the Council on 28 March to facilitate the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance and to help create a secure environment for international organizations in Albania. The force had contingents from 11 countries -- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. It began operations on 15 April and completed its withdrawal from Albanian soil on 11 August.
The representative of Albania said the force's immediate deployment prevented further aggravation of the situation in his country and created a positive atmosphere of confidence and safety for Albanians and for the observer missions for the parliamentary elections. It was an excellent example in the history of the operations authorized by the Council to protect international peace and security. In close cooperation with his Government, it had fulfilled its mission in a neutral way by fully respecting the mandate defined in the relevant Council resolutions.
The representative of Italy said the positive outcome of the operation was the result of several key factors, many of them innovative, which could prove useful in the planning and conduct of similar peace-keeping operations. There was strict compliance with the three golden rules of updated peacekeeping operations: request and consent of the legitimate government; absolute impartiality of the peace-keepers; and no recourse to weapons by the peace-keepers except in self-defense.
The representatives of Chile, Japan, Egypt, France, Russian Federation, Poland, United States, Kenya, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Portugal, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Turkey, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Denmark, Greece, Germany, The former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia and Romania also spoke. The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also addressed the Council.
The meeting, which began at 11:56 a.m., was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Albania. It had before it a 5 August letter from the Charge d'affaires of Italy (document S/1997/614), requesting that the Council hold an open meeting upon expiry of the mandate of the multinational protection force in Albania to discuss the results of the force's activity in the framework of the international community's efforts to stabilize the country. Italy, as leader of the force, will present its final report on the eve of the operation's termination, he states.
In a letter dated 11 August, the Permanent Representative of Albania (document S/1997/628) expresses his Government's support for Italy's request. Also before the Council is a 12 August letter from the Secretary-General (document S/1997/632) transmitting the eleventh and final biweekly report on the force's activities.
According to the final biweekly report, the withdrawal of the force was completed on 11 August. The report concludes that "Operation Alba has been a good example of how a political and military operation of international stabilization can be undertaken with responsibility and solidarity.... There is no doubt that without security, assistance would not have been productive or even possible." It says that a new phase must now start without delay, focusing on the rehabilitation of state institutions and the return of the country to an orderly social, political and economic condition.
Summarizing the role played by the force, the report states that "the presence of the multinational protection force effectively blocked the risk of Albania sliding towards anarchy or even internal political conflict and allowed the various international organizations and individual States willing to provide practical help to Albania to organize assistance in a secure environment. Thus a notable improvement in the situation in the country was brought about in a short period of time, restoring confidence in national prospects".
The Security Council, on 28 March, welcomed the offer by certain Member States to establish the multinational protection force in Albania for a three- month period and authorized them, under Chapter VII of the Charter, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel. On 19 June, the Council extended the force's mandate for 45 days, starting on 28 June.
JUAN SOMAVIA (Chile) said the Council had determined that the crisis in Albania was a threat to international peace and security and acted accordingly by supporting the establishment of the force. In doing so, the Council was
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simply shouldering its responsibility. His Government had supported the force from the beginning. The force had carried out its mandate efficiently and responded to the challenge of ensuring the timely and safe delivery of humanitarian aid. The presence of the force had also had a highly positive impact on the lives of the local population. It had provided a secure framework for civilian and humanitarian deliveries and for the work of the international agencies. It had also provided protection to non-governmental organizations, which was one of the main objects of resolution 1101 (1997).
The force had worked in flexible coordination with local authorities, he said. The United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs was an appropriate observer at the meetings of the Steering Committee. The objectives of resolution 1101 (1997) were clearly met and he thanked the 11 countries who had sent contingents to the force. He expressed gratitude to Italy for its leadership of the force and for its work for peace. The force had also provided security during the Albanian elections in a neutral and impartial way and helped ensure tranquillity in the country, particularly at the polling stations. The nature of the force was an important precedent that could be considered in future situations.
The Albanians had made their own contributions to the rehabilitation of their homeland and determined their own democratic future, he said. The Albanian people had a great role to play in the way in which the international community assessed the force. The profound causes of crisis had not been completely overcome, and there was need to build a broad consensus in the country in order to re-establish confidence in national institutions and the rule of law. The international community could not be divorced from that process.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan) expressed pleasure at the completion of the work of the multinational protection force in Albania. The force had done an excellent job in facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and in creating a secure environment for the activities of international organizations in that country. The operation constituted an important precedent, as a militarily and politically coordinated multinational action under Chapter VII of the Charter providing a comprehensive framework to address a humanitarian crisis in one country and prevent a spillover that might affect peace and security in the broader region.
The humanitarian situation in Albania had improved significantly, and the recent parliamentary elections represented a very important step towards restoring the political, economic and social order, he said. Welcoming the formation of the new government, he said its most urgent task was the restoration of law and order, which was a prerequisite for attracting reconstruction assistance from the international community. The Government must draw its own blueprint of economic measures for reconstruction as
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expeditiously as possible, based on the advice of such bodies as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Reform of the financial system was particularly important in view of a recent experience in which disturbances had been ignited by the collapse of pyramid investment schemes, he said. Japan had been assisting in Albania's economic development before those disturbances. It had also made a financial contribution to the electoral process and was committed to continuing to offer appropriate assistance. It did so in the hope that the Albanian people had learned a valuable lesson in democracy and the market economy system from the latest unfortunate events. The primary responsibility for the normalization process in Albania lay with the Albanian people themselves.
SOLIMAN AWAAD (Egypt) expressed his country's appreciation to the countries that had participated in the multinational force, particularly Italy and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Also appreciated was the information that had been provided by France. Reports received by the Council had highlighted that the force discharged its tasks in accordance with the Council's wishes.
He said the force had provided a vivid example of regional cooperation. It had restored stability in the country, which made possible the recent elections. However, the operation's success could not be viewed as a substitute for the United Nations role in containing a variety of world crises, particularly in Africa. The donor community, the United Nations system and the rest of the international community must ensure that stability in Albania was enhanced by helping to alleviate the economic problems faced by the Albanian people.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that at the time the force was established, Albania was in grave crisis and had requested help to overcome it. The international community had responded effectively and efficiently and could now draw encouraging lessons from the way the force carried out its mandate. It had helped establish a climate of security for the delivery of international assistance. The 11 countries which had sent contingents had been involved in an operation which had not been easy and carried some risks. The force had shown how to confront a regional threat to international peace and security. It was an example of crisis management and had shown it was possible to respond promptly, efficiently and effectively to such threats.
He complimented the way the force had cooperated with the Albanian authorities in fulfilling its mandate and Italy for its leadership. The Council had shouldered its responsibilities and demonstrated favourably to States who wanted, on a voluntary basis, to respond to regional threats in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. It was not the first time the Council had responded in such a way. The OSCE presence
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on the ground had allowed the holding of elections in acceptable conditions. The force was an example of how States and regional and international organizations could cooperate and respond promptly and effectively to protect regions from events which could threaten international peace and security.
ALEXANDRE GORELIK (Russian Federation) said the force had provided security for representatives of international organizations in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It had also helped the Albanian people, in cooperation with the OSCE, to hold elections in a relatively short time. The success of the force was due to a number of factors, including the fact that the mandate had been written clearly and monitored carefully by the Council through regular biweekly reports. That formula had ensured that the force conducted its mandate in a transparent and neutral way. It was important that the Council be kept informed of future events in Albania.
He said the force was a useful example of how such operations could be conducted with a rational distribution of labour. It also showed how regional forces could be used to improve cooperation between the Council and its regional partners. In Albania today, national reconciliation and the rule of law was a priority for the new leadership there. His Government, in the context of an international framework, would be willing to contribute to that effort.
ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said the Council was today marking the end of the multinational force in Albania. The theme of regional initiative was becoming more popular and was welcome. Members of United Nations should spare no effort to make regional leadership function promptly and effectively. In Albania that was a positive development from which all Member States should benefit. The speed with which the country had been helped had been impressive. He expressed appreciation to Italy for its leadership role, and said that without the willingness of States of the region the operation would not have been possible. There was much at stake and there had been considerable risk involved. But would more have been at risk if the Council had not acted promptly? he asked.
While the operation did not last long it achieved a great deal, he said, preventing Albania from sliding to anarchy or even internal conflict, and making elections possible. As the force came to an end, the Albanian people faced the challenge to develop national prospects, which they should tackle with the utmost energy. Economic and political cooperation with Albania should be intensified at this time. More would be forthcoming if the Albanian people themselves proved that international contribution were used properly.
PETER A. BURLEIGH (United States) expressed appreciation for the role of the force and Italy's leadership. The mission had been a success, and in the wake of the tragic violence and the loss of life, he hoped Albania was now on
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the road to stability, democracy and an economy based on free-market principles. He emphasized the remarkable work of the OSCE, which had been instrumental in the organization and holding of elections against tremendous odds. In the critical period ahead, the OSCE would remain the principal coordinating body for international initiatives to assist the newly elected government.
One of the most urgent tasks for Albania was the restoration of civil order and the creation of a viable security structure consistent with a democratic society. The task included the reconstruction of the Albanian armed forces and the training of a non-partisan professional police force. He applauded the decision of countries to remain involved in assisting the Albanian military and police with bilateral training assistance, following the departure of the multinational force. He also welcomed the decision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to send an assessment team to Albania. Its recommendations would be incorporated into the long-term plans to rebuild Albania's security infrastructure, within a democratic society.
The crisis of recent months had precipitated a period of change in Albania, he continued. Much remained to be done. Difficult and painful reform lay ahead if Albania was to succeed in fostering political and social reconciliation, economic development and the consolidation of a fully functioning and independent judiciary and electronic media. There must be an end to the pyramid schemes that had ravaged the country and deprived millions of their life savings. There must be an end to banditry, factionalism and the rampant proliferation of arms and disorder in the country. The international community stood ready to provide assistance and support in the days ahead.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGA (Kenya) expressed appreciation to the Member States that contributed to the multinational force and to the OSCE, the European Union and other international organizations providing humanitarian assistance to the Albanian people. He stressed the importance of the force in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as its role in facilitating the holding of reasonably free and fair elections in Albania. Without the force's timely presence, Albanians might have engaged in civil strife of untold magnitude.
Stressing that it was only the Albanian people who could bring about a lasting peace to their country, he called on them, particularly the leaders, to build on the progress made so far in order to bring about peace and prosperity in Albania. He underscored the need for international assistance in the reconstruction phase, as Albania strove to rebuild its economic political and social institutions.
The multinational force was an example of a successful regional effort, an approach that had recently gained acceptance in conflict resolution in
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Africa, he continued. But unfortunately, the authorization of such operations in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa, had not enjoyed the kind of speed and cooperation that had been observed in the case of Albania. While he accepted that all situations were different, it was his sincere hope that the degree of understanding that was evident in the Albanian case would be a guiding principle for such operations, and would not remain a unique experience.
MARIO LOPES DA ROSA (Guinea-Bissau) said the Security Council had recognized that the crisis in Albania was a threat to international peace and security, and had acted quickly to offer action which avoided further degeneration of the crisis. It was hoped that the trend and spirit of harmony would continue in similar situations in the future. His Government welcomed the speed of the action by the international community. The Council should become more involved at the first sign of such conflicts. It was hoped the Council would make use of the example of the force to act speedily in other situations to preserve international peace and security. His Government wished to emphasize the importance of preventive diplomacy.
He paid tribute to the 11 nations which had contributed troops to the force, as well as the leadership of Italy and France, and welcomed the clear and accurate periodic reports on the force's progress. It was important to recognize the relative calm restored to Albania, the recent elections and the establishment of the new Government there. But much more needed to be done before social and economic restoration and national reconciliation were complete. The primary responsibility for that lay with the Albanian people, but the international community had an important role to play.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) commended and congratulated the troop- contributing countries led by Italy for the successful conclusion of the mandate. He also commended the various international organizations operating in Albania and the OSCE for its indispensable assistance to the electoral process in the country.
The achievements of the force had gone beyond the provision of a security framework for humanitarian operations, he said. The presence of the force had provided a clear symbol of the international community's commitment to resolving the crisis. It had inspired the Albanian people with courage and hope to rise up from chaos and rebuild their country. The force had also contributed to the maintenance of stability in the wider Balkan region. The fact that there were not massive destabilizing refugee outflows into neighbouring countries might well be due to the timely and efficient operations of the force and the confidence it restored among the Albanian people.
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The force had highlighted how a timely intervention by the international community could contain and stabilize a situation from deteriorating into a massive humanitarian disaster, he said. The excellent coordination between the troops of the force and the Albanian Government and various international organizations was crucial to the success of the complex cooperation. The force was a significant precedent for potential future interventions by the international community.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said the international community had played an important supporting role in overcoming chaos and averting the risk of civil war in Albania. The key to resolving the situation remained with Albania itself. The case showed the need for the international community to be vigilant for early signs of potential conflicts and unrest. The force constituted a last-minute response to a grave situation. For the effort to yield lasting results in Albania, there must be reconciliation in the political arena and in the building of democratic institutions.
Credit for the successful holding of elections in the most challenging circumstances should be given to the OSCE efforts, he said. He also welcomed the role of the multinational force in providing a secure environment for the electoral process and noted the significant contribution of the Western European Union in helping Albania to build a democratically controlled and capable police force. However, the security situation was still cause for concern as the protection force was scaled down. Further efforts by the international community would be needed following the withdrawal of the force. The NATO's plan to study the prospects for reconstruction of the national army was welcomed.
He said the achievements in Albania had been remarkable. The international community was ready to support Albania in consolidating stability, democracy and prosperity. What was asked of Albania was that it use the resources made available to achieve positive and sustainable results in the fields of security, democratic consolidation and economic reconstruction.
FERNANDO JOAO DA COSTA CABRAL ANDRESEN GUIMARAES (Portugal) said his country had provided air transportation to the force. The force had almost certainly prevented a full-scale civil war which would have been disastrous, not only for the country but for the region as a whole. The force was a good example of a regional response to a crisis by the international community. Now it was time for the Albanian people to move forward. The Government was primarily responsible for restoring national order. He urged the Government to cooperate fully with the international community in its efforts to restore social and economic order and national reconciliation.
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FERNANDO BERROCAL SOTO (Costa Rica) said the force had provided security for the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance and had been of great importance in settling the crisis in Albania. He expressed gratitude to the countries which had taken part in the operation and to the European Union. He also noted the cooperation between Italy, the Union and the Security Council.
The force had provided a new example of how international cooperation could help restore stability in a region, he said. It was now up to the Albanian people to restore peace and security in their country. The force had provided an appropriate level of intervention, and conducted its mandate with strict regard for national sovereignty. Its presence had provided the necessary security for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and it had been instrumental in the reopening of schools and the relaunching of social, economic and political life in the country. The timely intervention of the force had helped to facilitate broad participation in the elections and ensured the safety of electoral observers. The democratic nature of the elections would serve as a basis for the formation of a new government. It was important that the new Government ensure the security of the entire country. Much remained to be done, and the international community could not stand aside.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said the fact that the immediate crisis in Albania had now ended was largely due to the key roles played by the multinational protection force and by the OSCE. He therefore joined others in paying tribute to all those who had contributed to such action, and in particular to the Italian Government for its effective leadership of the force. Although elections had been held, Albania still faced some tough challenges. The primary responsibility for meeting those challenges rested with the Albanian people and their Government.
The commitment of the new Government to promote reconciliation, restore law and order and carry out economic reform was welcome, he said. He called on all sections of the Albanian society to put aside their past differences and to work together for that purpose. The United Kingdom, together with other members of the international community, was ready to provide much-needed support and assistance. International assistance would crucially depend upon the willingness of the Albanian Government itself to tackle the country's problems to ensure respect for the rule of law and for human rights, and to promote the conditions necessary to allow economic recovery.
PELLUMB KULLA (Albania) said his Government expressed its deepest gratitude to the Security Council for its swift action and for the special attention it gave to the crisis in his country. The authorization for an immediate deployment of the force prevented further aggravation of the situation and increased people's confidence. It was an excellent example in the history of the operations authorized by the Council to protect
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international peace and security. He also expressed gratitude to the Secretary-General for his personal involvement and continuous attention to the issue and to Italy's Permanent Representative for his support and the success achieved.
In close cooperation with the Albanian Government the force had fulfilled its mission in a neutral way by fully respecting the mandate defined in the relevant Security Council resolutions, he continued. It had overcome many difficulties in an unknown terrain with the presence of weapons everywhere, and at a time when a Government of National Reconciliation had just been formed as a result of the compromise achieved between the Albanian political parties in March.
He said the Government and people of Albania expressed their profound gratitude to the member countries participating in the force, to Italy's excellent direction of the force and to every commander and soldier deployed in Albania. The troops were courageously determined to create safe zones for the distribution of humanitarian aid and for the activity of the international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and to create the necessary confidence for the activity of the Albanian police and army which eased the work of the Government of National Reconciliation. The force created a positive atmosphere of confidence and safety for Albanians and for the observer missions for the parliamentary elections.
The Albanian people had correctly understood the role and importance of the force, had supported it and had shown their hospitality, he continued. No soldier of the force had been attacked or died. That did not mean that the operation had not been dangerous or difficult; it proved that the endeavour had been successful and effective. It also showed the appreciation and solidarity of Albanians towards the force. He also expressed gratitude to the OSCE, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Western European Union whose assistance testified to how successful the United Nations could be in dealing with humanitarian crisis.
He said the main priorities of his Government were the quick re- establishment of public order and the country's economic recovery. Public order and security would be assured within a short time and Albanians would enter a path of normal and solid development. He was confident that the international community's support and the reconstruction efforts of Albanians would continue. He hoped the donors' conference to be held soon in Italy would achieve concrete results towards rapid progress and development in Albania.
PAOLO FULCI (Italy) said that on 11 August, the Commander of the Multinational Protection Force, known as Operation Alba, left Albanian soil, completing the withdrawal of the contingents of the 11 countries which
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participated. A total of 7,215 men were deployed, more than half of whom were Italian. They carried out 1,698 missions and under their protection, more than over 5,168 tons of food and 339 tons of medicine, among other goods, were distributed. The force cooperated closely with Albanian authorities and the OSCE and other organizations, including the United Nations, to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. It facilitated the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance and helped create a secure environment for the missions of international organizations.
He said the positive outcome stemmed from two key elements: the determination of a group of countries to act swiftly to restore normalcy in Albania, even at the risk of their troops; and the equally swift deliberation of the Security Council, in the presence of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who came twice to instil urgency, and gave invaluable advice on the conduct of the operation to the Italian authorities during his visit to Rome. Thanks to the decisiveness and rapidity of the international community's action, 3.5 million Albanians were back on the road to normality, internal security and, hopefully, economic and social rehabilitation. If the international community had acted with the same speed and determination in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Great Lakes region of Africa, thousands of lives might have been spared, and immense suffering and destruction prevented.
He said several factors, some of them innovative, contributed to the positive outcome of the Albanian operation: unity of intent by a group of countries to get involved immediately in a risky but necessary operation; decisive action by the Council which approved the mandate of the force within 12 hours of the Albanian request; rapid planning and deployment of the force; intense political consultations and cooperation among the participating countries, giving the force necessary guidance and allowing for common decisions in real time based on consensus; definite limits on the time-frame of the operation with a "sunset clause" which was fully respected; global and ongoing integration of the political, military and humanitarian aspects of the entire operation; total respect for its mandate regarding complete neutrality and impartiality towards the Albanian people; and refraining from any kind of police activities.
The operation was conducted in strict compliance with the three golden rules of the updated peace-keeping doctrine: request and consent of the legitimate government; absolute impartiality of the peace-keepers; and no recourse to weapons by peace-keepers except in self-defense. Consequently, Albania could be considered another United Nations success story.
He said Albania must now address long-term national reconciliation, rehabilitation of the State's institutions, economic reform and reconstruction. The primary responsibility lay with the Albanian people, but the international community must provide badly needed assistance, working with
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the Albanian people to stabilize the economy and create conditions for sound, sustainable growth. The country's administrative and democratic institutions must also be strengthened. The Italian Government pledged to continue to support the rehabilitation of its Adriatic neighbour.
HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said Albania had passed through very difficult times -- the result of painful progress of adaptation to a new political, social and economic order. The peace, security and stability of the Balkan peninsula were critical. Ensuring internal peace and stability in Albania was a prerequisite for the preservation of peace and stability in the whole region. Turkey's contribution to the force was a reflection of its continuing interest in and commitment to regional stability and international peace- keeping efforts. The Albanian people had asked for assistance from the international community, and the support given through the force was within the framework of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
In future, it was possible such operations could be contemplated and employed in other contingencies, he said. The arrangement foreseen in Council resolution 1125 (1997) with regard to the Central African Republic could be considered as another example of a new form of peace-keeping operations. The peace-keeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina had turned into a NATO operation with similar features. The advantages and disadvantages of such undertakings were worth closer examination. The contributions of other international organizations should also be noted, especially that of the OSCE.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), speaking for the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Liechtenstein, said the international community had reacted speedily to Albania's request for support in its period of crisis. He expressed appreciation to the participating countries, particularly Italy, and to the OSCE for its role in the elections. The various organizations which worked in Albania had done a remarkable job.
He went on to say that between 1991 and 1996, the European Union had given considerable assistance to Albania, in the amount of 450 million ecus, especially in the field of technical cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The Union was committed to helping Albania develop political stability, security and national reconciliation, and ensure the development of democratic institutions. Future development included restoring law and order, ensuring respect for human rights and applying democratic rules. Elections had been a fundamental stage in that process.
The European Union would support Albania in the challenges ahead. It had budgeted for 1996 to 1999 assistance of 212 million ecus for Albania. The aid would be reviewed in light of the situation on the ground. The
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commitments made by the Albanian Government on the issue would be closely watched.
The European Union had prepared a draft international agenda for Albania for a meeting expected to take place in the autumn. The Union would convene a donors' conference in Brussels in cooperation with the World Bank, once the Albanian Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed on a programme of economic reform. In taking up their new challenges, the Albanian people could count on the support of the international community.
DANILO TURK (Slovenia) said the States from the region and others had proven their capability to effectively cooperate in dealing with the situation in Albania. It had been encouraging to see that a rapid and effective response had been possible. The operation represented an example of successful cooperation between the United Nations and the relevant regional arrangements, as well as an example of timely and adequate preventive action.
The holding of successful elections was just a beginning, he said. The challenges facing the new Albanian Government were enormous. Political reconciliation, consolidation of democracy and institutional and economic reforms were required to ensure a secure and stable environment. Restoration of order throughout the country was a daunting task in light of continuing lawlessness and the presence of armed gangs in some quarters. The international community had to continue to be engaged in Albania and to assist its progress.
Slovenia had participated in the force and stood ready to provide further assistance through appropriate multilateral mechanisms and bilaterally. It also welcomed the readiness of the World Bank to assist and the preparedness of donor countries to convene a conference on assistance to Albania. Stability and security in the region of south-east Europe remained a preoccupation of the international community.
JORGEN MOLDE (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, said that with the new Government in place, a new beginning was under way in Albania. The responsibility for shaping the future lay primarily in the hands of Albanians. The international community must be ready to continue to assist them in that process. An agreement on the conditions for international assistance must be found. The focus of the OSCE was now on post-election assistance, as it related to the consolidation and development of democracy and democratic values, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The presence of the force made international efforts possible, he said. The Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE expressed his gratitude to the Security Council for the quick adoption of the relevant Council resolutions which had
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mandated the force's deployment and its continuation. He also welcomed the Albanian Government's newly adopted plan for the restitution of order in Albania and encouraged it to continue the positive dialogue with the international community on security questions.
CHRISTOS ZACHARAKIS (Greece) said his Government fully supported the statement made by the representative of Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union. Greece attached particular importance to its relations with neighbouring Albania, with which it had strong ties of friendship and cooperation, and had contributed significantly to the efforts of the Albanian people to promote political, economic and social progress. Despite occasional set-backs, Greek-Albanian relations had managed to overcome long-standing difficulties and to establish a climate of mutual confidence and understanding.
In the period 1991 to 1996, Greece had offered considerable economic, technical and humanitarian assistance to Albania, he said. Since the crisis last February, his Government had spared no effort to contribute bilaterally and multilaterally to its peaceful settlement. A Greek regiment had participated in the multinational force and several Greek officials and experts had been part of the OSCE presence in Albania. Large numbers of Albanian nationals had received treatment in Greek hospitals. Greece, in close cooperation with the Albanian Government, intended to further develop and enhance its relationship with and assistance to Albania by initiating specific economic and technical programmes, including the granting of $80 million to finance development projects.
TONO EITEL (Germany) said the force had played a decisive role in protecting the delivery of humanitarian aid and guaranteeing the safety of international experts during the election process in Albania. Speaking as representative of the country holding the Presidency of the Western European Union for the second half of 1997, he congratulated Italy, as well as the other nations participating in the force, for successfully concluding the mission.
He said the Western European Union had been engaged in the joint management of the Albanian crisis from the its start, with the "multinational advisory police element" whose mandate had been extended until mid-October.
He said the mandate of the police element was to advise the Albanian police on appropriate aspects of policing and restoring order; to train instructors in organization, public order, border control, logistics and communications; and to provide a teaching programme for the police academy. A number of Western European Union nations had provided equipment to the Albanian police and the Union would consider a longer term programme. The Union saw its mission in Albania within the framework of a variety of
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activities by several international organizations, including the OSCE, the European Union, the Council of Europe, and also with individual States.
NASTE CALOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said Albania had managed to turn a difficult phase of its history and to enter the period of non-violent transition, stabilization and democratic development. For his country, as a neighbour, it was of great importance that the process continued to be successful. The international community's support in the future would be as important as it had been up to this time. When the crisis started and endangered the region's stability, his country promptly sent humanitarian aid, and subsequently food aid, to the regions in Albania along its borders.
Although The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia did not take part in the force, it had supported its establishment. All the positive developments in Albania had been greeted in his country with anticipation that the crisis would be over soon and that the new situation would positively contribute to the development of the region. Of particular importance was the readiness of the Albanian Government to develop good neighbourly relations and realize the provisions contained in the international agenda for Albania. Albania's future, like that of the other Balkan States, lay in its full integration in Europe. How soon the goal would be achieved depended on Albania itself and also on the position of the international community.
VICTORIA SANDRU (Romania) said that as a country located in proximity to the Balkans, and as a traditional friend of the Albanian people, Romania had been deeply concerned with the Albanian crisis and viewed it as a serious threat to the peace and security of the region and the continent. It had sent a special envoy to Tirana in March to assess the situation on the ground, and to facilitate national dialogue. Romania had also joined the multinational force. Its miliary had accomplished a variety of activities under the force's mandate.
She said Romania welcomed the latest developments in Albania and encouraged the friendly Albanian people in their endeavours to achieve stabilization and respect for human rights and democratic standards. It shared the view that the conclusion of the electoral process in Albania and the withdrawal of the force ushered in a new age which would focus on the country's economic and institutional reconstruction. While the Albanian authorities bore the primary responsibility for the "democratic normalization" of the country, the international community's support would continue to be indispensable to that process.
SYLVIE JUNOD, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the collapse of the pyramid savings schemes had brought ruin to thousands of Albanians and led to a breakdown in law and order almost everywhere in the country. State structures disintegrated, giving way to anarchy, chaos and
Security Council - 16 - Press Release SC/6410 3811th Meeting (AM) 14 August 1997
insecurity. The ICRC had been trying to address the humanitarian implications resulting from the collapse of all national institutions. There had been no major humanitarian disaster in Albania, and the ICRC had made that clear to the Security Council and the OSCE when taking note of their intention to take action at the request of the Albanian authorities.
The multinational force had made it possible to stabilize the situation and hold legislative elections, she said. However, Albania still faced law and order problems and was still in the process of rebuilding a functioning State administration. An assessment by the ICRC and the Albanian Red Cross noted that medical and social welfare facilities which had previously received State assistance were the most affected by the crisis. On 17 March, the ICRC had launched an appeal for $10 million and distributed food and medicine for social welfare and medical facilities. They had also distributed over 70,000 food parcels to needy families and 70 tons of chlorine to Albanian water authorities. The ICRC and Albanian Red Cross had launched a "weapons awareness" programme among young people. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies had also been involved.
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