Skopje, February 3, 2014/Balkan Independent News Agency
Big concerns have been caused by the latest report of US National Intelligence, which says that in 2014, there will be big ethnic and political divisions in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The citizens believe that these reports must be taken seriously by the government and political factors in the country in order to suppress cross ethnic tensions and growing lack of trust between the two biggest communities, Albania and Macedonian.
The head of US National Intelligence, James Clapper reported last week in front of the Senate’s special committee on issues of intelligence, where he declared that situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and FYR Macedonia due to ethnic divisions is very unstable.
Clapper underlined that the government of Skopje continues to encourage programs that aim to encourage nationalism of ethnic Macedonians at the detriment of Euro Atlantic integration of the country.
The longer FYR Macedonia is blocked in its path to EU and NATO integration, due to disagreements with Greece on the name dispute and weak bilateral relations with Bulgaria, the bigger is the danger for ethnic tensions to grow.
Citizens are concerned
Citizens believe that such report is worrying. They say that the country may head to a new crisis, in case the necessary measures for the cultivation of cohabitation through concrete government projects and through punitive measures for groups which incite tensions, incidents and cross ethnic language, are not taken.
“We’re worried about this situation, according to which, besides poverty that we’re going through, we must also face other tensions. The incidents involving the beating of Albanian youngsters and other incidents, such as the case of the acts of Macedonian hooligans in the village of Lloke in Skopje, indicate that somebody wants unrest and anarchy. The government didn’t take any serious measures in order to stop incidents and capture hooligans who beat citizens in the streets of Skopje”, told IBNA, Ilir S., student of the University of Southeastern Europe in Tetovo.
Even Tatjana, a Macedonian banker believes that there must be an end to tensions and incite of violence and language of hatred amongst communities. Political factors and especially the government must be the ones to put an end to this situation. “We know that provocations from this government continue. The government is constantly causing crises. Here we can mention the placement of the monument of Tsar Dushan, which caused tensions and nervousness. Why was this monument needed? We need monuments that bear symbols of peace”, told IBNA Tatjana from Skopje.
Citizens appeal for the government to announce and take a number of measures against this worrying situation, which may further aggravate during the presidential election campaign.
Government doesn’t react for this warning, political parties raise the alarm
The government has not commented the report in any of the medias of the country.
IBNA has asked one of the government spokesmen to comment the report, but the response was “we do not comment this report”. Nevertheless, a senior government official said that the government has closely followed the report and has raised the alarm that institutions must take urgent measures in order to closely tackle the situation of security and political developments, ahead of the presidential elections.
On the other hands, political parties have expressed their concern.
Largest Macedonian opposition party, LSDM said that this report proves that this government is not committed toward the Euro integration process and the future, but it’s committed to deal with the past.
“With this government led by VMRO-DPMNE, we’re facing two kinds of big dangers. One of the dangers relates to the large poverty which can cause social turmoil and this can lead to a deterioration of cross ethnic relations”, declared the spokesman of LSDM, Petre Shigelov.
The Albanian party in opposition, PDSH, said that it’s been a while that this situation of tensions and crisis caused by the current government has been warned.
“We have constantly expressed our concern through press conferences and meetings with the citizens. This only proves what we have constantly warned. As the country is heading toward isolation and all Euro integration processes have been blocked”, said PDSH member of parliament, Bekim Fazliu.
Analysts: The government and political factor must be serious
Political analysts also believe that the government must be more serious against these warnings that come from a serious world institution.
“It’s reasonable to think and expect a conflict which could first be political, but considering the way that this prime minister is doing politics, the conflict may be extremely dangerous and in such cases, Albanians must cooperate with international community in order not to give a chance to the power of Nikola Gruevski to bring the country on the verge of conflict and to distance it from the Euro Atlantic option”, told IBNA the analyst, Ismet Ramadani.
Former ambassador of FYR Macedonia to NATO, Nano Ruzhin says that there’s no reason to panic, but nevertheless, there’s a need for serious steps in order to solve the problems.
“What worries us about this evaluation is the fact that Macedonia occupied the place of Kosovo and Bosnia, where there’s a growing chance for destabilization based on several indicators, cross ethnic tensions, ethnic populism of the government, organized crime, tensions with Greece and the failure to put Euro Atlantic integration of Macedonia in the right path, but also based on social factors such as unemployment and poverty. All these elements are indicators of the crisis and in circumstances of cross ethnic or social stress, the country may head toward instability and the same scenario of 2001 to be produced”, says university professor, Nano Ruzhin. /ibna/