Albanian Daily News
'Dangerous intolerance' in FYROM

Feb 02, 2000

SKOPJE - The leader of the main Macedonian Albanian party, Arben Xhaferri, has warned of the "dangerous intolerance" prevailing in relations between Macedonians and Albanians in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Xhaferri, the chairman of the government coalition party Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), noted that young Albanians and Macedonians stayed apart in schools and cafes and that there was no intermarriage.

Xhaferri told Radio Skopje that the government, a coalition of the VMRO, the Democratic Alternative and the DPA, had to eliminate the rift.

Xhaferri’s Albanian party played a crucial role in Macedonia’s presidential election last year, whose support helped reformist Boris Trajkovski win. Albanians make up 25 percent of the population in the former Yugoslav republic.

Commenting on the announced amendment to the FYROM Constitution - a vice President should be elected from the ethnic minorities - Xhaferri stressed that it was necessary in order to introduce legal mechanisms which would guarantee the development of Albanian cultural and ethnic values.

"The Albanians have found themselves under constant surveillance, and this leads to social conflicts which can be observed at parties, in the streets, in shops and even in the content of graffiti directed against the Albanians," Xhaferri said.