EU to send in advisers

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The Independent Online
European Union foreign ministers agreed yesterday to send a team of advisers to Albania to assist the Albanian authorities restore order and re-establish democratic government, writes Sarah Helm in Apeldoorn.

The European Commission is also to join a high level delegation to Tirana, representing the EU, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, along with Greece and Turkey, which will attempt to mediate in the crisis. The advisory mission is intended to assist in the "civilian as well as police and military fields," said a statement, issued by the ministers after more than three hours of talks on how to address the crisis.

The advisory mission falls well short of calls from the Albanian leadership for full-blown military assistance.

The EU ministers disagreed over the strength and role of the mission. Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, insisted that the advisers would be numbered in "dozens rather than hundreds or thousands", but some countries clearly wanted to dispatch a substantial force. Apeldoorn meeting, page 10