Albanian party in Macedonia returns to government

An ethnic Albanian party in Macedonia returned to government on Monday, restoring the coalition's parliamentary majority, after quitting 10 days ago in a row over minority rights.

Albanian party in Macedonia returns to government
The Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE party said they would form "working groups to discuss possible solutions" to a series of DPA demands regarding the country's 25 percent Albanian minority.

The deal restores some political stability as negotiations with Greece on a 17-year dispute over Macedonia's name intensify ahead of next week's NATO summit in Bucharest.

Greece is threatening to veto an invitation for Macedonia to join NATO if it does not agree to change its name, which is also the name of Greece's northern province.

Macedonia borders the newly independent Kosovo.

The DPA is seeking concessions from Gruevski on freer official use of the Albanian language and flag, and benefits for veterans of the 2001 Albanian insurgency.

It has also demanded Macedonia recognise Kosovo, where the 90-percent Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia last month.

The parties' statement, issued late on Sunday, made no reference to Kosovo.

A senior political source told Reuters: "We agreed there is a political will to solve this issue."

Macedonian and Greek negotiators are due to resume talks on Macedonia's name on Tuesday in New York, under the mediation of United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz.

The foreign ministers of the two countries met in Brussels on Friday and underlined their commitment to resolve the issue.

Last Mod: 24 Mart 2008, 17:31
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