Albanian President of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) of Macedonia Ali Ahmeti visited Kosovo on Monday after the attack to a watchtower by an armed group in Macedonia and Kosovo border.
For seeking peace, and calming down both parties, Ali Ahmeti and Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci came together on Monday in Pristine.
Ahmeti decided his visit to Kosovo after the incident in Goshince, a Macedonian town near the Kosovo border in which 40 armed men crossed Kosovo border and entered Macedonia on April 7. This armed group spoke Albanian and wore uniforms of the disbanded ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.
After crossing the border, the gunmen took over a police watchtower in Goshince. They held Macedonian police officers hostage about half an hour, after which the policemen were released.
One of the hostages mentioned that the gunmen said, “We will have an Albanian state,” so that officials believed the reason for the incident could be the creation of the Albanian state.
Macedonian Interior Ministry said those men could be from ethnic Albanian guerrillas from Kosovo, or from Macedonian protesters who participated the insurgency of Macedonia in 2001, however police officers in Kosovo denied the possibility,
Ahmeti mentioned that the Albanians in Macedonia did not want any crisis and chaos in their country.
“The DUI wants to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” he said.
“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.”
Hashim Thaci supported Ahmeti’s stance and specified that Kosovo also “supported peace in Macedonia.”
"A joint meeting between the two governments, which is set to take place in due time, will contribute to improving the country's' relations and opening a fresh perspective," he said.
“A stable Macedonia is in the interest of Kosovo and EU integration. A peaceful Macedonia is also in the interest of Kosovo, because an incident of any kind is not beneficial for both Kosovo and Macedonia."
On Monday Macedonian police officers also conducted a raid in the Kosovo Border. Investigators said they found weapons and explosives in abandoned houses near the Kosovo border.
Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia consists of 25 percent of the society. They have lived mainly in a region which is close to Albanian and Kosovo borders. The tensions between Albanian community and Macedonians accelerated in 2001.
Albanian community demanded equal rights like other Macedonian citizens, in contrast Macedonian government did not supply the demands. They experienced discrimination in education, employment, and politics. In 2001, the Albanian National Liberation army (NLA) has gotten into an armed conflict with the government security forces because of the restlessness among the Albanians.
NATO ended this conflict under the terms of Ohrid Agreement. According to the agreement, the government accepted to recognise the Albanian community in Macedonia as their own citizens. The Albanians also accepted to recognise all Macedonian institutions, and disarm the NLA.