Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano has pledged there will be no repetition of the mass exodus of Albanian refugees to Italy but that the government would not use repressive measures to keep the situation under control.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Claudio Martelli Monday said Nano issued the assurances during Martelli's brief visit to Tirana to discuss the refugee situation with Albanian leaders."We obtained a guarantee that these uncontrolled exoduses will not be repeated and that the situation in Albania is firmly under control, with repressive acts excluded," Martelli said in Rome.
Martelli flew to Tirana after meeting regional officials at the Italian Adriatic port of Brindisi, where a sudden influx of 15,000 Albanians fleeing by boat across the Adriatic caused a dramatic emergency for local authorities.
Before flying back to Rome, the Italian deputy prime minister also met Albanian President Ramiz Alia and representatives of opposition parties preparing fur crucial elections March 31.
The elections will be a major test of government reforms aimed at restoring democracy.