23:04 GMT +321 June 2018
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    Supporters of Albania's main opposition take part in a protest demanding a caretaker cabinet to take the country to the June 18 parliamentary election, on Saturday, May 13, 2017

    EU Officials Welcome Albania's Political Forces Deal on Holding Elections

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    Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner on European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, welcomed in a statement on Friday the agreement between the Albanian ruling and opposition parties to hold a general election.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Media reported Thursday that following a three-month standoff, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha unveiled a package of measures that stipulates the participation of all the country's political parties in the next general elections, which have been postponed to June 25.

    "We congratulate the political parties in Albania for the agreement reached, which will lead to the holding of elections on the 25 June 2017 with the participation of all parties. The political leaders have responded to their citizens' expectations and showed democratic maturity," the statement read.

    The document characterized the agreement as a "crucial first step" and called for the deal's swift implementation so that the national election could be organized in compliance with international standards.

    "As the vote of Parliament for the establishment of the vetting bodies is part of the agreement, we reiterate the importance of a solid and credible implementation of the vetting process, which is key for progress towards EU membership. We will continue supporting Albania and the legitimate aspirations of its people for a better future," the statement concluded.

    According to media reports, Albania's opposing political forces also struck a deal on Thursday regarding representation of opposition ministers in the cabinet and key institutions.

    The county's opposition has been boycotting the parliament for three months in a bid to stall judiciary reforms necessary to start the EU accession talks. Albania gained the status of a candidate for receiving the EU membership in 2014.

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