Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th May 1999.
If he will make a statement about relations with Albania. 
Our relations with Albania are good. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is visiting Albania today. We are grateful to the Albanian Government for their support for the current NATO air strikes and for their humanitarian relief efforts.
I thank my hon. Friend for that response. Can he assure me that real contingency plans are being put in place to recognise Albania's efforts in dealing with the refugees and the impact on the country's economy of the conflict in Kosovo? Will he assure me that those efforts will be recognised and that Albania will get the just rewards that it fully deserves—the rebuilding of its country and economy—given its support for those actions?
The Albanian Government have taken the biggest number of refugees—it now stands at 430,000—and their efforts have been prodigious. They have been widely welcomed not merely in the region but throughout the world. There is no doubt that the strain on Albania's fairly weak economy has been enormous. In recognition of that fact, the European Union has already transferred significant sums of money both for the balance of payments and for the direct pressures on budgets.
Of course, in the longer run, one of the realities of the situation in that part of Europe is that we must look for new and quicker ways to lead all the parties—Albania, of course, and Yugoslavia itself—towards greater stability, which will lead them to ever-closer relations with Europe. That is the ambition of the stability pact that the European Union has already begun to discuss.
Would the Minister draw the attention of the Foreign Secretary to the sayings of the Albanian President, Mr. Berisha, as reported in The Times today? Mr. Berisha, as well as saying that the KLA are a bunch of feuding gangs and racketeers, recommended that NATO should negotiate with Mr. Rugova. However, the House will be shattered to learn that, shortly after that, Mr. Rugova's henchman, Mr. Fehmi Agani—of course, all those names will be familiar to the Foreign Secretary—was assassinated. Immediately afterwards, Mr. Berisha attributed the murder to the KLA.
Do not all those facts illustrate that another civil war is building up in Albania? When that war breaks out, to which side does the Foreign Secretary wish to provide an air force?
It is difficult for me to give the right hon. Gentleman a history lesson, but Mr. Berisha has not been President of Albania for some time. As one who knows about feuding gangs of racketeers in his own party, he may be the right person to give advice on such matters. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary heard him directly, I need not comment further except to say that we will work closely with the Government of Albania to achieve the stability that Europe needs.