Saturday, November 04, 2006

Macedonian government regrets over attack on Russian diplomats

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Monday expressed his regrets over the incident in which four Russian diplomats were attacked in a Skopje cafe at the weekend, news reaching here from Skopje reported.

"The government of the Republic of Macedonia will put all its efforts to investigate and clarify the incident," says a statement released by the prime minister's public relations office.

The incident took place in the early hours of Sunday morning in a popular cafe in downtown Skopje, capital of Macedonia.

Macedonian police said the four Russian diplomats had a quarrel with other people in a cafe and when they were about to leave, a man hit one of them, sparking a brawl. Between 10 and 12 people were taking part in the attack on the four diplomats, local media reported.

The Russian embassy said that the diplomats had suffered injuries including nose fractures, contusions and deep facial cuts.

The Russian ambassador to Macedonia, Vladimir Solotsinsky, has sent a note to his Macedonian counterpart, asking for a swift and objective investigation into this incident and punishment for the attackers.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki promised a thorough investigation, saying bilateral relations should not be affected by what he called an isolated incident, perpetrated by hooligans.

"This is an isolated incident, and more precisely, a common street melee, in which no representatives of state institutions took part," said Shpresa Jusufi, spokeswoman of the Macedonian foreign ministry.

The Macedonia interior ministry said it was doing all it could "to find and apprehend the attacker."

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