WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Albania will pay a total of $2 million to United States nationals who suffered property losses at the hands of the Communist regime which took power at the end of World War II, the Department of Justice announced today. The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, which will administer the Albanian Claims Program, will determine the validity and value of each individual claim much like a court, then make awards from the $2 million settlement fund. The U.S. Treasury will hold the money. "This settlement is a major step in the normalization of relations between the United States and Albania," said Commission Chair Delissa Ridgway. "For the people of Albania, it paves the way for continued U.S. support for loans to the new democratic government of that country. And it is the light at the end of the tunnel for the hundreds of U.S. citizens who suffered losses in Albania and have been waiting decades for justice." The three-member Commission said the settlement applies to the nationalization, expropriation, confiscation and other taking of property. The program is based on a March 10, 1995, settlement agreement signed by the U.S. and Albania, which became effective April 18, following ratification by the Albanian Parliament and the official exchange of diplomatic notes between the governments. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Albania agreed to pay $2 million in full and final settlement of the property claims of U.S. nationals against the former Communist regime. In February of this year, the Commission completed the adjudication of 3,100 claims against Iran arising out of the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Commission also has decided citizen claims against such countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Egypt, China, Vietnam and Cuba. The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial agency within the Department of Justice. Its mission is to resolve the claims of U.S. citizens against foreign countries for the nationalization or other taking of their property. The first step in making a claim is to obtain a copy of the new claims form, fill it out and return it to the Commission, Ridgway said. Even those who may have previously registered their claims with the U.S. government must complete the new claim form. All claims must be filed with the Commission by October 31, 1995. Claims forms and other information concerning the Albanian Claims Program may be obtained by mail from the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, Washington, D.C. 20579. Claims forms also may be requested in person at the offices of the Commission, 600 "E" Street, N.W., Suite 6002, Washington, D.C.; or by telephone (202/616-6975) or fax (202/616-6993). #### 95-232