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EU to fund Albania reconstruction of blast area

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IRANA, Mar 09, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- The European Union said on Monday that it will help Albania rebuild a village damaged in an ammunition blast with 3.1 million euros (about 3.9 million U.S. dollars).

The European Commission Ambassador to Albania Helmuth Lohan and Albania's Integration Minister Majlinda Bregu signed an agreement in this regard.

The funds will be used to help rebuild infrastructure, a school, water supply and sewerage system, the EC's office in Tirana said in a statement.

A series of explosions on March 15, 2008 at an army depot about 10 kilometers west of capital Tirana killed 26 people, injured more than 300 and left over 3,000 homeless.

Albania's former Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu and former Chief of Staff Luan Hoxha as well as a few others have been charged with abuse of power over the blast.

Albania has been doing its bidding to destroy tons of old munitions it inherited from the past. It was invited to join NATO at the alliance's summit last April, and it expects to become a full member this year.