SKOPJE, April 19 (Xinhua) — The presidents of Macedonia and Albania on Thursday appealed to Macedonia’s ethnic communities to live in peace and harmony, and asked them not to overreact to murders that took place last week near the Macedonian capital Skopje.
“We support Macedonia’s stability. We have great relations with Macedonia, but there are some ultra-nationalistic groups that want to damage those relations,” visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi said after meeting his Macedonian counterpart Gjorgje Ivanov.
Topi made the visit almost a week after five ethnic Macedonians were found shot dead in north of Skopje. Police are yet to establish the identity of the murderers, but it is widely rumored they are “ethnic Albanians.”
“This nationalistic reflex can damage not only Macedonians and Albanians, but also the whole region. Together with President Ivanov, we want to send a message that all people should live in peace and harmony,” Topi said.
Both presidents condemned the murders, expressed condolence for the victims’ families and asked the police to find the murderers as soon as possible.
The murders caused a violent protest in Skopje on Monday, arousing fears it might stir up ethnic conflicts in the country, in which 25 percent of its 2.1 million residents are ethnic Albanians.