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Albania PM cancels rally after EU mediator talks

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(TIRANA) - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha on Wednesday cancelled a planned weekend rally of pro-government supporters after talks with a European Union mediator.

"Saturday's rally will be cancelled as it could be considered as a demonstration of force and a populist movement," Berisha said at a government meeting broadcast live by several television channels.

"Even though this rally will not be violent, I prefer to listen to the international community appeals" to cancel it, he added.

Berisha's decision came after a meeting with EU Balkans envoy Miroslav Lajcak who arrived earlier in the day to mediate the growing political crisis.

Apart from Berisha, Lajcak also met President Bamir Topi and was to due to have talks with opposition leader Edi Rama.

Saturday's rally was a response to a Rama-led opposition protest scheduled for Friday, a week after three people were killed and one critically wounded at the first opposition demonstrations demanding resignation of government and early elections.

Several states, including US, Germany and France, have urged Albanian political leaders to relaunch a dialogue in order to find a solution for the political crisis, which stretches back to the June 2009 parliamentary elections, still contested by the opposition.

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