The invitation that the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has made to the leaders of the Albanian political parties of North Macedonia for a meeting in Tirana, on Tuesday evening, has provoked many reactions in Skopje, from political parties, experts in political issues and public opinion. wide.
In the invitation sent to the political parties, the head of the Albanian Government did not mention the reasons for the meeting, but unofficially, the smaller parties say that they have received signals that European integration issues and changes to the Macedonian Constitution are expected to be part of the discussions.
However, some see this meeting as "Rama's need for his promotion as a regional leader and strengthening his position in Albania". Others think that "Prime Minister Rama with this action intends to play the role of the spokesperson of the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) to put pressure on other parties not to line up with the Macedonian opposition for the overthrow of the Macedonian Government".
Macedonian political parties, too, are divided in assessments. For the ruling Social-Democratic League (LSDM) "Edi Rama is a proven friend of (North) Macedonia and the Macedonian people, while we have no open issues with Albania. Therefore, every meeting, formal or informal, that is in the interest of both countries and both peoples is for us in the direction of building a European region".
The VMRO DPMNE, which is in the opposition, estimates that the meeting in Tirana takes place at the request of the SDSM, which, according to VMRO's vice-president, Aleksandër Nikollovski, "is in a panic about the overthrow of the Government and the failure of changes to the Constitution.
"The LSDM and Dimitar Kova?evski are looking for help to save themselves, so they are ready to accept everything to the detriment of the Macedonian people through different agendas just to save themselves," Nikolovski declares.
The leaders of the Albanian political parties, the chairman of the DUI, Ali Ahmeti; of the Alliance for Albanians, Arben Taravari; of PDSH, Menduh Thaçi and of Alternativa, Afrim Gashi will participate in the meeting.
Meanwhile, Bilall Kasami, chairman of the Besa Movement, has said that he agrees to meet with Prime Minister Rama, but not to sit at the same table with the chairman of the DUI, Ali Ahmeti.
Bilall Kasami, who is also the mayor of Tetova, the largest municipality inhabited by Albanians in North Macedonia, accuses the government of "corruption and organized crime and the defactoring of Albanians", while he sees the solution to the crisis in the resignation of the Government and elections premature.
Other parties have not commented on the invitation and agenda of the meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama. But, for the independent deputy, Skënder Rexhepi, "Edi Rama is behaving in the capacity of DUI's spokesperson, the same as in the last meeting in January 2017".
"It is very clear that Edi Rama does not have the legitimacy to gather the Albanian parties on the issues that affect the Albanians here in [North] Macedonia." This is because, even after this meeting, there will be another trick...", Rexhepi wrote on the Facebook social network.
Xelal Neziri, an expert on political issues, in a statement for Radio Evropa e Lire, sees the meeting in Tirana in favor of Rama, who, according to him, aims to promote himself as a regional factor.
From this meeting, the Albanian parties will not gain anything, on the contrary, they appear without any weight and without any influence on the political scene, says Neziri.
"These meetings cannot bring any political benefit for internal use to any of the Albanian political parties of North Macedonia. I say this because collective invitations to visit Tirana of this type speak of a paternalistic approach of Prime Minister Rama when it comes to Albanian political leaders in North Macedonia. This paternalistic approach is known to imply a kind of limitation of the autonomy of political decision-making. The way he invites them to Tirana has a dominant symbolism of his own, a symbolism that can go in his favor, but to the detriment of the political parties", Neziri assesses.
He estimates that if Rama aims to bring the Albanian leaders closer or even help him with the European agenda, it would be good for him to pay a visit to Skopje and organize a meeting with everyone or meet them separately.
Petar Arsovski, an expert on political issues, sees the meeting in Tirana more as an attempt to preserve the parliamentary majority that is already endangered by divisions within the DUI, therefore Rama can also do favors to its leader, Ali Ahmeti, by manifested the support or the need for unity in the name of European integrations.
"This meeting can also be seen as a service that can be done to Ahmeti by Rama at a time when the Democratic Union for Integration is facing dissatisfaction in its ranks. This discontent can also endanger the stability of the Government, therefore the DUI aims to unite other Albanian political parties because otherwise they will also be against it. All this will be done in the name of European integration or geostrategic policies of the country. But, this will be difficult since the opposition parties will hardly agree to be in such a role", says Arsovski.
The leaders of the Albanian political parties held such a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama on January 7, 2017. After this meeting, they approved a joint statement, which was called the "Platform of Tirana" by Macedonian opinion, which according to their goal was the destruction of Macedonian citizenship.
The Albanian parties, as stated in the declaration that was approved at the time, were committed to raising the status of the Albanians in Macedonia as a state-forming people, with an official language, which would have equal status with the Macedonian language, and the resolution of many other ethnic issues.
The parties are also committed to "comprehensive debate on the flag, anthem and state coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia so that state symbols reflect social multi-ethnicity and ethnic equality".