Tirana, Albania | Tirana Echo – Top Albanian political leaders have today criticized the decision of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov to refuse social democratic leader Zoran Zaev the right to form a new government, with Albanian PM Rama saying that ‘without Albanians there is no Macedonia’.
As former prime minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski has accused leaders from Tirana of interfering in Macedonia’s internal affairs by encouraging ethnic Albanian parties to ally with the SDSM party in forming a new governing coalition, all key political factions in Albania have reacted to the latest decision by President Ivanov to refuse the formation of such a government which had agreed to accept the official usage of the Albanian language across the territory of the small Balkan country.
Prime Minister Edi Rama who has been directly under accusation for meddling with Macedonia’s affairs, said in its Facebook “Mr. Ivanov, the Albanian language is not the language of an enemy but that of a state-formation people of Macedonia. Without Albanians there is no Macedonia, Dear President!”
Meanwhile an official statement from the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament Ilir Meta came out today encouraging Macedonia to stick to its democratic progress and Euro-Atlantic path.
“I am concerned about the aggravated political situation in Macedonia and I encourage all political forces in the neighboring country to act calmly, responsibly and constructively. I would like to also express my regrets on the nationalist anti-Albanian rhetoric which threatens the inter-ethnic harmony and coexistence – as guarantees for the stability of our neighboring country” said Speaker Meta in an official statement for the media today.
On the other side, leader of opposition democratic party Lulzim Basha said that the decision of President Ivanov to block the formation of a new government because of the bilingual ‘platform’ is reason for great concern.
“I consider this to be an act of ethnic discrimination which does not serve the harmony between state-establishing ethnicities in Macedonia” – said Basha in a statement.
Reactions from Tirana come as President Ivanov called the agreement to allow the use of Albanian language throughout the territory of Macedonia as dangerous for the sovereignty of the ethnically divided Balkan state.
“The constitution and my conscience forbid me from extending a mandate to anyone who destroys the sovereignty and integrity of Macedonia,” Ivanov said, adding that Zaev must first publicly reject a “platform coming from a foreign country”, presumably referring to Albania.
This week streets of Macedonia have been filled with protesters supporting Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO DMNPE nationalist party calls to not allow Albanians take over their country while some militants have expressed anti-Albanian slogans.
Macedonia’s fragile coexistence between its slav and Albanian speaking communities has been preserved through the ‘Ohrid Agreement’, signed on 13 August 2001 under EU and US pressure, which ended Macedonia’s armed conflict between Albanian rebels and Macedonian security forces.
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