Macedonian political leaders ended their meetings without any agreement to resolve the political crisis in the country for the third time on Tuesday.
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, opposition leader Zoran Zaev, and Albanian political leaders Ali Ahmeti and Menduh Thaci gathered under the supervision of US ambassador Jess Baily and EU ambassador Aivo Orav to discuss the problems affecting Macedonia.
The leaders tried to produce a framework for Macedonia to stabilise the political environment. They also discussed a previous meeting in Strasbourg.
Gruevski and Zaev met in the presence of negotiators from the European Parliament for 10 hours on May 20 and left Strasbourg without results.
Representative of Gruevski’s ruling party (VMRO-DPMNE) Ilija Dimovski confirmed that the the last meeting also brought no results.
Zoran Zaev said that there will be new negotiations next week and stressed that his party still wants Gruevski to resign. He also announced that his party will continue to release wiretaps of conversations involving Gruevski and his party after May 27.
“Today, we informed the leaders of Albanian political parties and ambassadors of the USA and EU on the talks held on May 19 in Strasbourg between myself and Gruevski and EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn. We discussed on the details of this meeting and agreed on continuing next week,” he added.
According to the Macedonian press, the EU has decided to appoint a representative to help end the political dispute between the parties.
Opposition leader Zoran Zaev organised a street demonstration on Sunday with thousands of people in the country’s capital city Skopje, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski who is under fire due to corruption allegations which have emerged in the past several months.
Some of the demonstrators, including Zaev himself, have decided to put up dozens of tents outside the parliament building. Protesters said they will not leave the “tent-camp” until Gruevski and the parliament resigns.
Supporters of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski also gathered in the capital city of Skopje for a pro-government rally on Monday amid calls for him to resign.
Macedonia’s ties with NATO and the EU
While internationally brokered talks between the government and opposition in Macedonia have continued under the supervision of the EU, Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski has also been accused of moving towards Russia and away from the EU and NATO.
On Tuesday, Gruevski answered his critics by saying “Macedonia's future is in NATO and the EU and we have demonstrated that through our numerous roles in NATO and EU missions, such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, etc.. So neither I nor the government, have any doubts on this issue.”
SEECP summit meets
The South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) gathered in the Albanian capital city of Tirana on Tuesday.
While Macedonian leaders left the meeting without an agreement, the SEECP countries agreed upon a framework for the improvement of “regional cooperation and connectivity.”
The countries declared that they agree on strengthening their ties with the EU and supporting each other on “regional cooperation, development of good neighbourly relations, and the need to make mutually acceptable decisions on open issues.”
The SEECP participants released a common declaration saying “we confirm our strong will to additionally promote regional cooperation to strengthen the rule of law and conduct policies of strengthening religious tolerance and living together, which directly contribute to democratisation, protection of human rights, gender equality, security, and stability in the region, and the prevention of radicalisation, violence, and extremist acts.“