News/Albania: Albania Addresses Illegal Immigration

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Subject: News/Albania: Albania Addresses Illegal Immigration
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 17 1999 - 21:06:52 EST


Albania Addresses Illegal Immigration
By Lulzim Cota

TIRANA, Albania, Nov. 3 (UPI) Italy called Wednesday for a regional meeting
to prevent the flow of illegal migrants into Italy across the Adriatic via
Albania.

Alberto Marittati, a high official of Italy's Interior Ministry, told the
Albanian minister of public order, Spartak Poci, that Italy considers a
Balkans meeting very important to prevent the illegal traffic.

Both sides agreed the traffic in Asian and African migrants is being
organized on land, and that the illegals are passing across the Adriatic
and through Albania en route to Italy, Greece, Macedonia and Montenegro,
said a statement from Marittati's office.

Albania has requested technical and financial assistance from the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees to detain and repatriate the illegals.

The flow of migrants into Europe via Albania began five years ago and has
increased this year. From January to September 1999, Albanian police
detained 326 Kurds from Turkey and Iraq. Out of 599 migrants, half were
children, according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Order.

Italian coast guard officials say more than two-thirds of the illegals
succeed in eluding their border patrols.

Albanian authorities, in cooperation with the OSCE and the UNHCR, plan to
build a refugee center in Vlora, the main illegal crossing point on the
Adriatic.

Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema says stopping illegal immigration is
a regional responsibility. On Wednesday, Marittati promised to assist
Albania's police with their role in the task.

Last week, five refugees drowned in the Adriatic, and 10 others were missing.


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