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Recommendation 1386 (1998)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 24 September 1998 (31st Sitting) (see Doc. 8208, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Van der Linden). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 September 1998 (31st Sitting).
1. The Assembly fully subscribes to the joint European Union, OSCE, Council of Europe and WEU declaration of 23 September 1998.
2. The Assembly expresses concern about the recent developments in Albania.
3. The Assembly considers the brutal arrest of six former high-ranking officials of the Democratic Party as an unnecessary political provocation which spoiled the all-party talks on the constitution already foreseen on 31 August 1998.
4. The Assembly underlines that there should be no more political prisoners in Albania in the future.
5. The Assembly strongly condemns the murder of Democratic Party parliamentarian Azem Hajdari and his bodyguard. The authorities should prove to the international community that they are making every effort to bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible and to allow for independent international investigation.
6. The Assembly further strongly condemns the political violence from both sides following these murders. Attacks on the democratic institutions of the state cannot be justified on any political grounds. Any attempt to take power by force is clearly unacceptable. The Assembly considers the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of the Democratic Party leaders to be politically motivated and an obstruction to political dialogue; it urges that the immunity be reinstated.
7. The Assembly regrets the decision of the Democratic Party to no longer participate in the work of the parliament and demands its co-operation, once again, on the drafting of a new constitution.
8. The Assembly welcomes the rapid decision of the Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers to visit Tirana, together with the Secretary General and the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. It fully endorses the delegation’s criticisms and recommendations directed at both the opposition and the government.
9. The Assembly reiterates the declarations of the tri-parliamentary missions to work for reconciliation and proceed with vitally needed reforms. It notes with regret that neither the government nor the opposition heeded these calls. The continuing lack of security and political dialogue as well as the use of inflammatory political rhetoric by all sides has also contributed to the present political instability.
10. The Assembly supports and encourages the efforts of President Meidani to mediate and find a political solution to the crisis.
11. The Assembly calls on its political groups to bring all their influence to bear on the respective Albanian political parties to ensure their respect for the country’s democratic institutions and their rules, their support for President Meidani’s efforts and the re-establishment of political dialogue.
12. The assistance given to Albania by the international community cannot benefit the Albanian people if the country’s political leaders refuse to assume their responsibilities.
13. The Assembly, in view of the recent imprisonment of journalists, stresses the importance of freedom of the media in a pluralist democracy.
14. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers continue to be actively involved, in close co-operation with the competent international organisations, in the search for a political solution to the crisis and support the efforts to bring all political parties to the discussion table.