EU wants Kumanovo clashes investigated before it acts

The European Commission has stressed that the clash "between the police and armed persons in Kumanovo must be appropriately clarified."

Source: Beta

This must happen "before the EU acts in this regard," the Beta news agency reported from Brussels on Tuesday.

The agency quoted Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who also reportedly assessed as "too far-reaching" the remarks that EU's mission in Kosovo, EULEX, and the EU are not doing their job when it comes to security in Kosovo.

Kocijancic "stressed that the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn made it clear an investigation was necessary to properly clarify the events over the weekend (in Kumanovo)."

She thus responded to a Macedonian journalist's question about whether EULEX and the EU, which oversee Kosovo, are doing their job poorly considering that the group of about 50 terrorists who clashed with the Macedonian police in Kumanovo came from Kosovo "unimpeded."

Kocijancic told the reported that he was "already drawing conclusions."

These events, as she added, "must be appropriately clarified and light must be shed on who is responsible for it, in order for them to act in this regard."

"It should be kept in mind well what Commissioner Hahn said and what the EU made clear in the country itself to understand how we act," the spokesperson has been quoted as saying.

"We are all concerned about what happened over the weekend (in Kumanovo), we condemn any form of violence," Hahn said previously, according to Beta, and added that the EU "urges all involved parties and actors to collaborate in clarifying what has happened, who is responsible for this, and to act united on this issue."

"Secondly, this attack should not distract from the very serious internal political situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which we have urged the government but also the opposition party to start resolving and to start cooperating. This should not be seen as an opportunity to delay a resolution of the fundamental problem the country is currently facing," the EU official said.

He stressed that the clashes in Kumanovo, which killed eight policemen and 14 members of the Albanian paramilitary formation National Liberation Army (Albanian: UCK; Macedonian: ONA), which has claimed responsibility for the attack, "should not be used to create any further complexity by introducing ethnic tensions into this situation."

Hahn called on "the responsible people in the country and in the neighborhood to act, in a reflected, united, targeted and transparent and traceable way."

The British newspaper Financial Times, meanwhile, reported that "EU officials have warned the authorities in Skopje that they must not use this violence to divert attention from the political scandal that has paralyzed the country politically for several months."

The paper also said that "it is known that a a small number of armed ethnic Albanians exists and acts in Macedonia, but the timing of their offensive, a few days ahead of a demonstration against the government (in Skopje) has raised suspicions of local activists."

The article also quotes researchers from the London School of Economics who said that "many believe" the Macedonian government is more than ready to provoke such an attack in order to remain in power.


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