The head of the main ethnic Albanian party in Macedonia has pledged his party's continued commitment to peace and dialogue during a visit to Kosovo.
|Ali Ahmeti, DUI, during a joint press conference with Kosvo Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci.|
“Albanians in Macedonia want to see a full realization of the Ohrid Peace Agreement so that they can feel like equals amongst their fellow citizens,” said Ahmeti, referring to the deal that ended the 2001 conflict in the country.
The DUI is a junior partner in the coalition government under Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his VMRO DPMNE party.
Commenting on claims that Albanian "terrorists" linked to the so-called National Liberation Army, NLA, had attacked a remote border post, Ahmeti said his party was striving to find a solution to all national tensions.
“The DUI wants to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” Ahmeti said, stressing that the only solution for Albanians in Macedonia was to work within the Ohrid Agreement.
Kosovo Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci, who hosted the Macedonian politician, said Kosovo also supported peace in Macedonia.
The Ohrid Framework Agreement, OFA, ended a brief conflict in Macedonia between Albanian militants and ethnic Macedonians in 2001.
It increased the rights of the Albanian minority in Macedonia, who make up about 25 per cent of the population. However, Albanians complain that the deal has never been fully honoured.
The DUI is the political successor to the long disbanded National Liberation Army.
Macedonian police last Tuesday said a group of 40 armed and masked gunmen wearing the markings of the NLA had stormed a police outpost near Kosovo.
Calling it a "terrorist attack", they said the attackers appeared to be from Kosovo, spoke Albanian and took four policemen who were manning the border post hostage, later releasing them.
The scene of the reported attack, the village of Goshince, part of the ethnic Albanian rural municipality of Lipkovo, is some 25 kilometres northeast of the capital, Skopje. The region saw hostilities during the conflict in Macedonia in 2001.
The police say the incident is being investigated, and are maintaining a heavy presence in the area.
Some experts as well as some former NLA commanders have accused the authorities of inventing the incident to distract the public from the country's ongoing internal crisis.
The opposition Social Democrats have accused Prime Minister Gruevski of orcestrating the illegal surveillance of thousands of people and have released a slew of secretly recorded tapes of conversations among top officials that point to widespread corruption.