Countryman in Skopje: I don't pass on warnings to premiers
11. February 2011. | 07:41 07:48
Thomas Countryman said he saw no connection between recent developments taking place in Albania, Kosovo and Serbia and the current situation in Macedonia.
I do not pass on warnings to premiers. Talks focused on our sincere concern with respect to the rule of law and media freedom, because they are clearly emphasised in our human rights report. We shared this concern and there are always topics for discussion between two friendly countries, Thomas Countryman, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, stated after meeting Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Thursday in Skopje.
He said that the meeting aimed at reviewing the PM's agenda, which includes talks with US Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the course of his next week's visit to Washington.
Asked about possible early elections in Macedonia, Countryman failed to comment, saying it was an internal affair. "I expect the country's political leadership to handle the issue with responsibility," the U.S. diplomat noted.
The name issue was also discussed at the meeting, which Countryman said had been scheduled "a month ago".
"It is unlikely to come in Skopje and not talk about the name," underlined Countryman, reiterating the stance of Washington that the U.S. was not directly involved in name talks.
"Meetings held between the Macedonian and Greek PMs, who personally discussed the issue, are welcomed. The United States still hopes that this process will result in a solution, but we cannot predict things and don't meddle in the negotiations," said the U.S. official.
He said he saw no connection between recent developments taking place in Albania, Kosovo and Serbia and the current situation in Macedonia.
"We're concerned about the situation in Albania, which was the focal point of my speech yesterday in Tirana. However, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia are separate countries and the issues they are facing are of various nature. Those are internal issues that are not related to each other and each and every one should be perceived as a different situation," the Deputy Assistant Secretary concluded.
After meeting with Gruevski, Thomas Countryman is due to meet with SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski and DUI president Ali Ahmeti.
Prior to arriving in Skopje, he was in Tirana in the frameworks of his mini Balkan tour and is scheduled to take off for Pristina. His tour also included Belgrade and Sarajevo three weeks ago.