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Meidani Rules Out Albanian Roundtable Talks on Macedonia

(Washington, DC--April 10, 2001) Albanian President Rexhep Meidani said at a press conference at RFE/RL's Prague headquarters today that he will not organize or participate in a roundtable discussion of Albanian political leaders from his country, Macedonia and Kosovo because of the risks of misinterpretation of such an action.

Meidani said that such a meeting might have sent a positive message and promoted useful discussions, but he noted that the news media were likely to portray such a session as part of an effort to promote a "Greater Albania."

Meidani emphasized that no "normal" person in Albania or in any other region where Albanians live can seriously think of creating or planning a "Greater Albania" or "Greater Kosovo."

In other comments, the Albanian president rejected as unfounded speculation in the Albanian media that Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova would not be welcome in Tirana for talks. Meidani said Prime Minister Ilir Meta already had met with Rugova in Pristina and that the Albanian government maintains contact with other members of Rugova's LDK.

"Rugova is welcome in Tirana when he thinks he has the opportunity or desire to come. He will always be welcome," Meidani said.