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Zaev: Prank phone calls don’t necessarily mean Russia is waging special war

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“I deem the funny prank calls that I was tricked into are private, i.e. the Russian Federation has nothing to do with it,” Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Thursday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Aracinovo gas station.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Bazdnikin attended the event today.

“We must not allow such things stand in the way of our friendly relations with Russia,” PM Zaev said. Russia is not waging a special war against North Macedonia, he added.

PM Zaev is set to meet with the Russian Ambassador today, a meeting the prime minister claims was agreed 10 days ago.

Zaev told the reporters Thursday that he spoke with presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, to apologize for any inconvenience that might have been caused by his saying during the conversation with the fake Poroshenko, alluding to the prank phone call made by Russian comedians.

Russian Ambassador, who attended the opening ceremony at Skopje’s nearby village of Aracinovo, left the event with no statement for media. During his speech, Ambassador Bazdnikin said Russia is interested in boosting investments in North Macedonia, “furthering cooperation between the two countries and their brotherly nations”.

Zaev admitted earlier this week that he was deceived by two Russian pranksters, but rejected opposition calls to resign for being tricked. Pretending to be Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko, Russian comedy duo famous for hoax phone calls, had reportedly called Zaev three times in the past two years. A 54-minute audio recording of phone calls with Zaev, who was speaking English, was released on YouTube on Tuesday, July 9.

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Macedonia

Arrest warrant issued for Spasov

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Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.

Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.

The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.

The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.

The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.

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Macedonia

Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today

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The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.

Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.

In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.

US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer  as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans.  In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

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Macedonia

Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron

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We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.

“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.

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