"Lack of EU and NATO integration to blame for conflict"

NATO and the EU must realize Macedonia being "outside of EU integration" is the reason for the armed conflict in Kumanovo, Gjorge Ivanov has said.

Source: Tanjug
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The Macedonian president made this statements during a meeting of the National Security Council, and added that he informed representatives the EU and NATO about the existence of a group that later carried out the attack in Kumanovo, but that this communication "did not yield much results" at the time.

Ivanov condemned in the strongest terms the attempt to violate the order and security of Macedonia, "which was aimed at destabilizing the country," and stressed that the intention of the terrorists to cause chaos had been prevented.

"At the meeting of the National Security Council, which was attended by representatives of the opposition, the attack on the security of the country, whose aim was to destabilize Macedonia, was condemned in the strongest terms," Ivanov said.

He added that during the operation "all institutions had concrete tasks," while the terrorists intended to carry out more attacks against more locations that would have produced "many civilian casualties."

Ivanov said that Macedonia's top institutions, in consultation with intelligence services, knew the terrorists did not have the support of the local population, "but did not underestimate them," which is why the operation was "so extensive."

Ivanov pointed out that it was important to establish political dialogue between the authorities and the opposition parties, adding it was "high time that those conversations intensified."

The Macedonian president "expressed his regret that these kinds of events forced them to sit at the same table."

Ivanov called on all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, to be calm in order to avoid destabilizing the country and added that he, as president, "needs the composure of the whole public."

Ivanov expressed his condolences to the families of the police officers "who gave their life for Macedonia" during the clashes in the northern town over the weekend.

The Macedonian Security Council consists of the president, Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski, Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki and deputies Veli Kreci, Flora Kadriu, and Naser Sejdini.

Peace restored, no electricity

Life is getting back to normal in the Kumanovo neighborhood of Divo, which saw heavy fighting between Macedonian security forces and an armed group of terrorists over the weekend, although there is still no electricity in the neighborhood.

The part of Macedonian city that was blocked and from which many families have been evacuated over the past two days, has been opened since Monday morning and everything seems to be running quite normally in the parts of the city where there was no armed conflict.

Schools in the city, however, are still closed.

There are still several police checkpoints left on the fringes of the neighborhood, but police presence has dropped considerably compared to yesterday, a Tanjug reporter on the scene said.

Special security units have left Kumanovo, while armed police officers are still present in the city.

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