World Bulletin / News Desk
Macedonia on Tuesday said it had accused Albania of "open interference" with the Balkan country's ethnic Albanian minority in the midst of a deep political crisis.
Skopje had summoned Albania's ambassador on Monday to protest its neighbour's "open interference in Macedonia's internal affairs," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It said Albania was trying to "change the constitutional order in Macedonia."
Ambassador Fatos Reka was warned against what Skopje called a "serious provocation to good neighbourly relations that we wish to maintain," the statement added.
The charges of interference stem from Macedonia's political standoff over the demands of the ethnic Albanians who make up around one quarter of Macedonia's population of 2.1 million.
After several meetings in Tirana, held under the sponsorship of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Macedonia's main ethnic Albanian parties agreed on a platform of demands, requesting more rights.
After inconclusive December elections, their 20 lawmakers in parliament backed Social Democrat (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev, which seemed to have paved the way for him to take over power after a decade of rule by the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, led by Nikola Gruevski, whom the rivals accuse of corruption.
But Gruevski, backed by President Gjorge Ivanov, has refused to give up after failing to form a new government.
Supporters of the conservatives have been peacefully protesting every evening for more than a month in Skopje and other towns.
The VMRO-DPMNE claims that ethnic Albanian demands put into question Macedonia’s national unity, especially calling for making Albanian an official language.
Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati on Monday criticised the "attempt by Gruevski and his political group to transform a democratic crisis into an ethnic crisis."
Macedonia's opposition has warned its conservative rivals that they are playing with fire by using the ethnic card in a bid to stay in power.
European Union President Donald Tusk visited Skopje on Monday, but failed to resolve the crisis, as did the bloc's Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn two weeks earlier.
"My position remains unchanged," Ivanov said on Monday.
"A government exposed to (ethnic blackmailing) would be unstable and would have harmful consequences."
The Social Democrats accuse Gruevski of having ordered the wiretapping of thousands of his rivals, including religious, media and other public figures.
Last week, Israeli authorities refused a request to release Attallah from prison
The move came as Israel extended detention of 16-year-old girl Ahed al-Tamimi
‘We do not have people operating in Afrin, so that does not have a direct effect on what we are doing’, spokesman says
Arguments in case expected in April, final ruling expected by June
Sergey Lavrov, Ayman Safadi meet in New York, according to Russian Foreign Ministry statement
Police confirm detention of Turks without providing reason for move
Congress fails to reach agreement on short-term stopgap funding
Xi's eponymous "thought" was already enshrined in the Communist Party constitution at the 19th Party Congress in October, elevating him to the same status as modern China's founder Mao Zedong.
Separate roadside bombings in both provinces left three civilians dead, say security sources
Mexico rejects claim, calling it 'manifestly false'
Supporters not deterred by president’s antics, performance
Republican leadership eyes Thursday vote on stopgap bill, but passage is uncertain without Democratic support
The head of the Venezuelan Supreme Court and the chief of the intelligence agency are also blacklisted, diplomatic sources said, making them subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
Army frequently carries out sweeping arrest campaigns in occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem
Icy roads contribute to at least 4 fatalities, fifth death attributed to exposure