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Kosovo’s Thaci Appeals For Calm in Macedonia

April 18, 2012

The ethnic Albanian-led government in Pristina has called for tolerance, peace and restraint in tense neighbouring Macedonia.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has called for calm and restraint in neighbouring Macedonia where ethnic tensions have risen sharply lately, adding that both Albanians and Macedonians need to keep the country stable.

Thaci said that tensions had been fuelled by people who do not wish well for Macedonia and want to see it destabilized. Such destabilization, the Prime Minister added, could cause the entire region to suffer.

“My message for all citizens of Macedonia is for peace, stability and cooperation. Politics should not in any circumstances allow people to become victims of those individuals or structures who want a unstable Macedonia and who aim to destabilize the entire region,” Thaci said in Pristina on Tuesday.

The unexplained murder of five Macedonian men on the outskirts of Skopje last week sent tensions soaring in Macedonia following the spread of rumours that the men were killed by Albanians. Police say there is no evidence to support the claims.

The bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered last Thursday near Zelezarsko Ezero on the northern outskirts of the capital, a popular fishing destination. All had gunshot wounds.

Thaci urged all political forces in Macedonia to try to calm the situation. “My aim and that of the Kosovo government is to support peace and understanding and we call for the reduction of ethnic tensions,” he said.

“While justice is doing its job, no one has the right to pretend to give a political or ethnic connotation to this case,” Thaci added.

The shocking incident, ahead of Orthodox Easter, seemed bound to cause more turbulence in the country between Macedonians and the country’s large ethnic Albanian minority.

Tension between the two communities has been rising since February when an off-duty Macedonian policeman shot dead two young Macedonian Albanians in the northwestern town of Gostivar.

After that, the Balkan country experienced the worst outbreak of inter-ethnic gang violence since 2001, when it narrowly avoided civil war.

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