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Tuesday, September 15, 1998 Published at 22:38 GMT 23:38 UK

Fatos Nano's address to nation

[ image: Fatos Nano: Emerges from hiding]
Fatos Nano: Emerges from hiding

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said in a televised address on Tuesday that Albania had just experienced a day of "barbarism" which had been one of the most difficult in its recent history.

He ruled out talks with the Democratic Party of Sali Berrisha until its supporters had surrendered their weapons and said Albania's patience was now at at end.

The security forces, he said, would from now on go all out to attack those who broke the law.

Excerpts from his speech:

Fatos Nano: "Time is running out" (in Albanian)
Dear Albanian mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Yesterday , we experienced together one of the most difficult days in our modern history.

We have gone through everything as a nation - partition, dictatorship, and even anarchy.

Yesterday, we had to bear even the dramatic experience of a pure coup d'etat orchestrated by a group of anti-Albanian bandits and carried out by a motley group of people with no ideals.

Outpouring of 'medieval barbarism'

Yesterday will remain unforgettable in our national memory as a day that besmirched not only our fragile democratic culture but also our tradition of respect for the dead.

[ image: Sali Berisha]
Sali Berisha
With the coffin of the late Azem Hajdari at its head, the armed crowd of Sali Berisha aimed and sought totally to disrupt life in order to sow death and to place a gravestone on the new Albanian democracy.

This is so true, and, as if that outpouring of medieval barbarism on the divine institutions of the new law-governed state of Albanians was not enough, the procession to the last resting place of the body of the Democratic Party deputy was almost forgotten.

Nevertheless, what is significant for the future of Albania is the incontestable fact that the armed wing of the DP led by Sali Berisha utterly failed...

No government can accept ultimatums

This event deserves to be analysed thoroughly because it may and should become a precious lesson in democracy for all us Albanians.

However, today it is neither the time nor the place to dwell too long in analysis ... allow me to concentrate directly on the key moments:

No government elected by the free vote of the people can accept ultimatums from an armed group of terrorists, despite the fact that this group acts in the name of a parliamentary party and is led by people clad in political immunity.

At the same time, any prime minister who submitted his resignation, accepting demands in the form of an ultimatum made under a volley of gunfire, would be nothing but a man without ideals, a man who would betray his people and country.

Thus, neither my government nor myself, personally, are without ideals and responsibilities.

That is why we refused and will refuse scornfully and with patriotism every demand to submit our resignation under such conditions...

No talks before weapons surrendered

So long as the fanatics gathered around their leader at DP headquarters do not hand over their military arsenal, negotiations to put an end to the difficult position in which the DP leaders are currently confronted with are inconceivable.

It should not occur to anyone, whoever he may be, that we will sit down at the so-called political negotiating table in order to extricate them from their anti-legal path or, even worse, to recycle the organizers of the coup d'etat into Albanian political life.

In this context and on your behalf, I would make a strong appeal to the leaders of some very minor parties of the right spectrum to dissociate themselves from the practice of absurd statements they have signed together with the chief organizer of the coup d'etat, Sali Berisha, the leader of an armed crowd that continues to violate the constitutional order.

Although very many things separate us, I am convinced that the desire to defend Albania and the nation, at least, joins us with these parties.

And, as these leaders have not ceased to bombard the media with pathetic and often irrational statements about the fate of the martyr Kosova , I add with conviction that by failing to disassociate themselves from the leadership of the DP, which was the organizer of the coup d'etat, these parties in effect support the anti-Albanian and anti-Kosovar policy of Slobodan Milosevic.

In the name of the Albanian Government, I also ask that this denunciation and dissociation, made in a sense of high patriotic responsibility, should be done immediately by all the leaders of the Albanian political parties in Kosova and beyond, for the sacred interests of the whole nation, which is currently threatened as at no other time in its history.

Guarantees Berisha's security

Neither Sali Berisha nor anyone else, whoever he may be, should think that we will wait indefinitely for all the weapons to come out of the DP headquarters. Time cannot wait.

Normality should immediately be returned to Albanians, and the government should urgently resume its normal work to revive the country.

Only when this is done will everyone have the right to have his say about the way we should proceed further.

In principle, I do not exclude any political solution, but at present this is impossible for the reasons that I have stated.

On behalf of the government, I would like to add that I solemnly guarantee Sali Berisha and the others around him that once the weapons are handed over and normality is restored their physical integrity will be inviolable.

We should all hurry, for the sake of Albania.

Albania at 'crossroads of parting with evil'

I seek understanding from all the businessmen who were harmed as a result of the wave of armed looters, who, after violating the state institutions, destroyed and plundered the shops in the centre of Tirana.

On my own behalf and that of the government, I would like earnestly and officially to ask for pardon and to underline that such a thing occurred also as a result of our persistence to the extreme limits of patience and the patriotic sense of responsibility to avoid bloodshed.

This patience has now come to an end. The state should spare the life of no criminal or violator who again seeks to subjugate the state or the citizens by use of force.

From this moment on, the forces of public order will continue mercilessly to attack crime until its last hiding place.

I repeat it once again. We are at the crossroads of parting with evil. Anyone who insists on following the black road of evil should know that it will be extremely hard to survive.

Thank you.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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