Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hand: new government to implement Ohrid Agreement

nternational community expects from the new Macedonian government to continue thorough implementation of the Framework Agreement and to resume the Euro-Atlantic integration process.

Robert Hand, a senior staff advisor at the US Helsinki Commission, said this in an interview with Radio Voice of America.

Hand dismissed the allegations, suggesting that the exemption of the party which won majority of ethnic Albanian votes at general elections, might jeopardize these processes.

"The key factor is the degree of preparedness of the new government to continue the integration process and to fulfill the criteria. The international community made clear that it wants to see full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement", Hand said.

According to him, there is nothing disputable in the selection of the coalition allies made by the election-winning VMRO DPMNE.

"The party that was asked to form the government needs to provide a majority to work with while governing the country. Of course, all parties are entitled to raise arguments over their inclusion in the ruling power, nonetheless, the party that holds the mandate should form the governing coalition", Hand said.

He expressed hopes that the roadblocks set by DUI-PDP coalition, expressing protest against their omission from the new government, will remain calm and won't get out of control.

"The parties have to act reasonably, despite having different stances over certain issues. I am getting worried when I hear about attempts to revamp the situation from 2001. I think that everybody in Macedonia should come forward and state clearly that there is no looking back, only straight ahead", Hand said.

According to him, the Ohrid Agreement might serve as a model for solving the Kosovo issue, especially in the part of the minority protection, and some segments of the Agreement might be applied to achieve the goal of bringing closer the ethnic communities in the province.

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