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News 24 Feb 12

Serbia-Macedonia Police Deal Called 'Anti-Albanian'

Largest ethnic Albanian opposition party in Macedonia calls policing deal with 'genocidal' Serbia an outrage.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Macedonian Interior Ministry

The Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, has called for all-out resistance to a recent deal with the police of "genocidal" Serbia, which its says will enable Serbian police to operate on Macedonian soil.

“This deal is extremely damaging for Albanians,” Imer Aliu, coordinator of the DPA caucus in parliament, said. “We will not allow a genocidal and criminal structure like the Serbian police to operate on Macedonian soil.”

Police in Macedonia have defended the agreement, concluded in November in Belgrade.

“The deal completes the legal framework for cooperation with the Serbian police [and...] is in no way intended against Albanians or any other community”, police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski said.

During its ratification on February 14 in the Macedonian parliament an incident between an ethnic Albanian and an ethnic Serbian MP was narrowly averted.

The speaker called for a break after an Albanian legislator aggravated his Serbian colleague by displaying pictures of Albanians allegedly murdered by the Serbian police during the Kosovo conflict of the 1990s.

Among other things, the deal envisages exchange of information about organized crime as well as exchange of police personnel from both countries during the tourist season when traffic increases on both sides.
It also envisages closer cooperation between the police during the organization of events that have an increased risk of incidents.

Albanians make up about a quarter of the Macedonian population of about 2.1 million. Cherishing strong ties to Albanians in neighbouring Kosovo they are deeply suspicious of the Kosovo Albanians' historic foe, Serbia.

Serbia, for its part, nurtures friendly ties with Macedonia despite the fact that it has recognized the independence of Kosovo.

In November, Macedonia’s junior ruling party, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, criticised the idea for a joint government session between Macedonia and Serbia. The session has not yet taken place.

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