14 June 2009 | 16:52 | Source: B92
SKOPJE — FYROM’s ethnic Albanians have issued an open warning to the government in Skopje that their “patience is wearing thin” over the name dispute.
The Albanian political representatives have now set the end of 2009 as the deadline for this issue to be solved. Otherwise, our reporter in Skopje says, they will “seek alternatives as their manner of solving the problem”.
This position is supported by the ruling VMRO-DPMNE coalition partner, the Democratic Union of Albanians (DUI).
“It is clear that without resolving the name dispute, FYROM cannot join NATO. On the other hand, the priority of our political platform is the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures,” DUI’s Rafit Aliti was quoted as saying.
FYROM’s Albanians, who have for years stood back from the name issue, are suddenly showing great interest in the problem after Albania joined NATO several months back.
This western neighbor of FYROM, for years a symbol of a low standard of living and international isolation, has undergone visible positive changes in just a year, says New Democracy leader Imer Selmani.
“Albania, unlike us, has seen economic and social flourishing. The Albanian population in FYROM is a witness to that. The long wait due to the name dispute is having a depressing influence, because hopelessness around us is ever more obvious,” he was quoted.
But, the country’s ethnic Albanians would not divulge what they intend to do unless there is a quick solution to the problem.
On the other hand, political analysts categorically claim that going for any kind of radical measures would not suit Albanians in the present situation.
They are interested in FYROM’s fast-track NATO accession only in order to achieve their final goal – the unification of all Albanians, says political expert and former FYROMian FM Slobodan Chashule.
“FYROM’s partition is not at the core of their strategy. They, in fact, want it whole, and as the third Albanian state in the Balkans. With the help of FYROM, Albania and Kosovo, they would have the privilege of securing five Euro-commissioners in the EU. The privileges that they would gain in this way are possible only in FYROM’s entry into the Euro-Atlantic integrations is secured,” he said.
Meanwhile, VMRO-DPMNE would not comment on the warnings coming from the ethnic Albanian political bloc.
At the same time, analysts say that the ruling party’s hard-line approach to the name issue is “weakening”.
The negotiators from the two countries, joined by a UN mediator, will then travel to Skopje.
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