|President Ivanov urges slavo Macedonians in Albania to Unite|| || || |
|Friday, 18 March 2011|
President Gjorge Ivanov called on slavo Macedonians in Albania and the leadership of their only political party - Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (MAEI) - to unite in order to be able to ensure their minority rights and to improve their living standards in Albania, where local polls are going to be held in May and a census of the population in November.
Representatives from Mala Prespa, Golo Brdo and Gora - mostly populated by a slavo Macedonian minority in all of Albania - met with President Ivanov to discuss their problems, voicing satisfaction that their issues had been discussed at the highest level for the first time, MIA reports.
"The visit of the Macedonian president for us is crucial and the fact that talks were held with the premier and president of Albania to discuss openly about the problems of Albanian Macedonians, who are recognised only in Mala Prespa, Pustec municipality. Those outside of this municipality are not registered as Macedonians and thus do not enjoy any right. Hopefully, these bilateral meetings will finally solve the issue and Macedonians from Golo Brdo and Gora will be recognised as Macedonians by official authorities in Albania, stated Edmond Temelko - MAEI president and Pustec mayor.
Vasil Sterjovski - director of TV Kristal from Korca - said the President urged Macedonians in Albania to be united over their party, as a way to obtain their rights.
"Solely by engaging in Albania's politics, we will manage to integrate in local institutions and by securing posts in the local authority and MP seats, we'll have the chance to raise issues at economic and national plan," Sterjovski said.
He commended that Albanian President Bamri Topi for the first time discussed the minority issue.
"It is considered as an encouragement for all minorities. Topi has condemned hard-line nationalists who refuse to have a census with an ethnic section in the form, not only for slavo Macedonians, but also for other minorities, being scared Albania to become a multi-ethnic state," stated Sterjovski.
Talks also focused on the issue involving the Xhepciste - Trebista border crossing near Golo Brdo and the construction of a road, thus solving infrastructure shortcomings.