[Stop-traffic] News/ITALY: ITALIAN, ALBANIAN PREMIERS WELCOME SUCCESS OF NEW IMMIGRATION MEA

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/ITALY: ITALIAN, ALBANIAN PREMIERS WELCOME SUCCESS OF NEW IMMIGRATION MEA
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2000 - 09:22:35 EST


14Nov00 ITALY: ITALIAN, ALBANIAN PREMIERS WELCOME SUCCESS OF NEW
IMMIGRATION MEASURES.
Text of report in English by Italian news agency ANSA web site

Rome, 14th November: Italian Premier Giuliano Amato emerged from talks on
illegal immigration today with his Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta, to say
that the two nations' stepped-up campaign to combat the phenomenon was
paying off.

Amato said at a joint press conference here with Meta that new Albanian
legislation designed to stop smugglers using high-powered boats to ferry
illegal immigrants across the Adriatic was producing results. He said that
the two-week-old law, which gives Albanian police more powers to confiscate
vessels and levy fines, had "delivered a hard blow" to smuggling activities
and that the flow of illegal immigrants had "greatly diminished" as a
result. He said that a "significant" number of boats had already been
seized and that, as time passed, the situation would only improve. Amato
also underscored that Albania functioned increasingly as a mere stop-off
point, used by would-be immigrants from other nations and that "this, too,
is changing because the route from Albania is getting more and more
difficult." Meta also stressed that the law was "very rigorous" and had
resulted in "marked progress" in the two weeks, with the confiscation of 15
boats.

"Compared to a year ago, the level of smuggling has dropped considerably,"
the Albanian premier said, echoing Amato's verdict that "even greater
success" was to be expected in the future. "Our aim is that Albania should
no longer be spoken of as a country which worries Italy because of illegal
immigration," he continued.

He thanked Italy for its acknowledgment of the changing picture and
promised that his government would continue its fight against illegal
immigration "on a daily basis, through visible and concrete action". The
premiers said that they were considering setting up a joint unit in Albania
to coordinate regional anti-immigration policies and activities.

They also referred to Albania's aspirations to join the EU, with Meta
thanking Italy for its support and Amato promising that Italy would "insist
with the EU on the need to open membership talks immediately after those
with Macedonia and Croatia, in the first half of 2001".

Source: ANSA news agency web site, Rome, in English 1720 gmt 14 Nov 00.
BBC Worldwide Monitoring/ (c) BBC 2000.
BBC MONITORING INTERNATIONAL REPORTS
BBC MONITORING EUROPEAN - POLITICAL 14/11/2000
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