Preventing A Conflict Relapse In Albania
Year(s): 1997 – 1998.
UN Regional Group: Eastern Europe.
Type of Conflict: Risk of a Conflict Relapse.
Type of Initiative: A peacekeeping mission and a political mission.
Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of Italy, Multinational Protection Force, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Summary: The Multinational Protection Force and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Presence in Albania helped to restore order, monitored the border with Kosovo, and mediated a peaceful end to an attempted coup d’état in 1998.
Description of Case
The initial deployment of the Multinational Protection Force (MPF) restored order in much of Albania. However, many challenges remained which posed a threat to the fragile peace. The looting of military equipment during the fighting had left up to a million firearms circulating in Albanian society, which not only threatened to disrupt the peace but became a cause for concern when allegations of arms shipments into Kosovo heightened tensions with the Government of Serbia. Furthermore, although the elections that were held following the conflict produced a new government, the ousted president contested the result. Determining these factors to amount to a threat to peace and security in the region, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the MPF for an additional 45 days to consolidate the peace. With its mandate complete, MPF was withdrawn on 11 August 1997 and responsibility for upholding the rule of law was handed over to the reorganised Albanian police.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) led the international effort to build stability in Albania after the departure of the MNF. The outbreak of war in neighbouring Kosovo in 1998 threatened Albania with renewed instability, particularly as the administration in Belgrade suspected that Kosovo Liberation Army combatants had logistics and training bases on Albanian territory. Fearing an outbreak of violence on the border could have sparked an interstate conflict, the OSCE carried out an assessment of the frontier, deployed more teams to the area, and brought in equipment to build the capacity of Albanian border patrols. The reassertion of state authority over parts of southern Albania also risked sparking conflict in 1998, with government security forces meeting resistance from armed groups. The OSCE teams helped to ensure this process went relatively peacefully, mediating many such disputes as the primary representatives of the international community. The greatest challenge to peace in Albania came in September 1998. Protests organised by the party which lost the 1997 elections escalated, with government buildings being attacked and many officials fleeing Tirana. In the chaos, an armed group (equipped with stolen tanks) attempted to seize power. Their bid was unsuccessful, and thanks to OSCE mediation, the leaders of the coup surrendered peacefully within hours. Another armed conflict in Albania was averted.
 UN. “Security Council Marks Withdrawal of Multinational Force from Albania; Need for Continuting Global Support is Needed.” UN Security Council Press Release SC/6410. (1997) Available at: https://www.un.org/press/en/1997/19970814.SC6410.html (Accessed 06/12/2020)
 Everts. Peacekeeping in Albania and Kosovo. p.14-5
 Ibid. p.17
 Ibid. pp.22-3