Macedonian Party Leaders to Continue Anti-Crisis Talks on Monday
The leaders of the four biggest political parties in Macedonia have agreed to continue their talks on Monday to make another attempt to ease political tensions in the country, MIA news agency reported.
The party leaders issued a joint statement from their meeting on Thursday, in which they said: “Following a difficult week for the state, we gathered to render joint support for democratic values, including the right to peaceful protest, and condemn any acts of violence motivated either by political or criminal goals. We also agreed to continue the dialogue for advancing the Euro-Atlantic agenda for the benefit of the people.”
The meeting brought together Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, leader of conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, Ali Ahmeti, leader of the junior government coalition partner, ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), as well as the leader of opposition Social Democrats (SDSM) Zoran Zaev and Menduh Thaci, who is leading the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).
The participants in the meeting tried to set up a framework for talks for resolving the political crisis in Macedonia, according to MIA.
US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily and the head of the EU Delegation in Skopje Aivo Orav, who were attending as observers, made no statements after the meeting that lasted nearly four hours.
Nikola Gruevski said after the meeting that VMRO-DPMNE is ready to work for a dialogue, in which issues that important for the country will be discussed.
The Macedonian premier said he would not submit his resignation to meet a key opposition demand. He also said that further resignations of members of his government are not on the agenda at the moment.
He declined to speculate whether Thursday’s meeting of the four party leaders was a success, saying it is too early to make such estimates.
“We are here today to reiterate our demands for Macedonia’s return to the path of European integration and the restoration of democracy in the country,” Zaev said after the meeting, according to MIA. “There has been no dialogue today but we created a framework for a dialogue”.
Zaev, who has long urged Gruevski to resign, also said that only an interim government could bring normalization to the country and prepare free, democratic and fair elections.
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