Russia’s EU Ambassador: There is always alternative to Euro-Atlantic integration

Russia’s EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov says there is always an alternative to Euro-Atlantic integration when it comes to the Western Balkans.

Beta reported this citing an article published on the Brussels-based euractiv.com website.

According to the report, the diplomat “did not say concretely what Russia can offer to those states instead.”

Chizhov on Wednesday “invited selected journalists” to discuss a wide range of topics, and supported Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, who has refused to give the mandate to form a government to SDSM leader Zaev despite the fact he has a sufficient number of MPs.

Asked to explain the Russian position on Macedonia, Chizhov replied:

“What could Russia offer? Of course, there is always an alternative to Euro-Atlantic integration, as some countries are contemplating, others chose not to. But of course, I will not say that the Euro-Atlantic path is the only one available for any country of the Balkans, or any other.”

According to him, unlike the US and the EU, Russia is not interfering in the political crisis in Macedonia, and that it was his personal understanding that there should probably be a new round of election in the Balkan country.

“We believe that the ultimate goal is to preserve Macedonia as a single country, to preserve its Constitution and allow the political forces to agree on how to proceed,” Chizhov said.

According to him, the Tirana Platform, agreed on by Albanian parties from Macedonia, and accepted by the SDSM, it went “much further” that what the website termed “the Western-brokered Ohrid Agreement of 2001 which had put an end to the armed conflict between the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army and the Macedonian security forces, and set the groundwork for improving the rights of the ethnic Albanians.”

Both the SDSM and Albanian parties claim there is nothing contentious in the Tirana Platform.

But the Russian diplomat thinks that it goes against the constitutional order of Macedonia, “which could be detrimental to the country.”

As for the election of Talat Xhaferi as president of the Macedonian Assembly, Chizhov said it was “in clear violation” of the assembly rules and the existing legislation.

He described Xhaferi as “an ethnic Albanian with a long record of participation in armed activities in the country.”

“When the next morning the European Union puts out a statement in support of those developments, that, I am afraid, was not conducive to alleviating the tensions and promoting a peaceful outcome of the crisis,” he said, adding that “you cannot create an exit from a political crisis by destroying the pillars of a country, we have seen that in other places in recent years, quite a lot.”

“The Balkans is a contagious disease”, Chizhov said, smiling – euractiv.com reported.

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