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Albania, Switzerland sign financial aid agreement

Switzerland and Albania pledged to step up cooperation in a number of sectors Friday, with the Swiss government pledging SFr5 million ($3.2 million) in aid for the Balkan nation.

This content was published on November 12, 1999 - 18:18

Switzerland and Albania pledged to step up cooperation in a number of sectors Friday, with the Swiss government pledging SFr5 million ($3.2 million) in aid for the Balkan nation.

Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss and his visiting Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo signed the financial aid accord as well as a double taxation agreement after holding a day of talks in the Swiss capital Berne.

The Swiss aid, which will be paid out via the World Bank, is meant to help ease the financial burden incurred by the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees who fled the recent fighting in Kosovo and fled to Albania earlier this year.

Milo told a news conference after the talks that Switzerland plays an important role in helping to create stability and foster cooperation in the Balkans.

The Albanian foreign minister said he also considered cooperation the key to guaranteeing human rights in the region and said Tirana was very interested in developing closer links with the European Union.

Last month, Deiss called on the international community to support the "only battle worth fighting" in order to bring peace, stability and prosperity to the war-ravaged Balkans.

"We must fight the only battle worth fighting, and that is the battle against hatred, violence and injustice," Deiss told 60 delegations attending two days of talks in Geneva on how to secure democracy and respect for human rights in the Balkans.

The Swiss minister said lasting peace would only be possible in the region if there is respect for ethnic minorities and if people build a civil society that upholds and respects the law.

From staff and wire reports.






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