World Bank voices concern over Albania

Jan. 31, 2011 at 2:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The World Bank and members of the international community expressed "deep sorrow and growing concern" over a looming political crisis in Albania.

The opposition Socialists accused the government of corruption and fraud in the 2009 elections and called for more rallies last week.

Albanian lawmakers voted in mid-January to set up a special inquiry to investigate the protests, noting the "commission will examine all the evidence to reveal the truth about the coup d'etat staged Jan. 21 with the aim of overthrowing the constitutional order."

European Commission President Jerzy Buzek issued a statement condemning the violence in Albania, expressing "deep regret" for the loss of life in the incidents.

The World Bank joined members of the international community in reminding the Albanian government that years of "remarkable progress" shouldn't be undermined by political unrest.

"We have been following with deep sorrow and growing concern the recent tragic events in Tirana and the increase in political tension in the country," the joint statement read.

Albania's political problems are tied to the 2009 elections, which weren't recognized by the opposition. It alleges the election was rigged to favor Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

The joint declaration expressed "serious concern" over the negative impact of political tensions in Albania.

"We appeal to all our counterparts, political leaders and citizens of Albania -- to work together toward a better future for their country," the statement read.

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