HARTFORD – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding the current political crisis in Macedonia:
"The unfolding political crisis in Macedonia is a reminder that the United States cannot take peace and stability in the Balkans for granted. In advance of new protests expected this weekend, I urge all parties to refrain from violence and exercise good judgment in line with democratic standards.
“The shocking disclosures of the past few weeks call for sweeping changes in how the government in Skopje operates. While the government has taken initial positive steps in the aftermath of the revelations, broader institutional changes are needed to fight corruption, strengthen the integrity of the electoral system, promote judicial independence, and protect free speech and media freedom. The government must immediately take steps to ensure accountability for the crimes alleged in the disclosed recordings, including full cooperation with the soon to be established parliamentary inquiry committee. Ultimately these grievances must be resolved through dialogue and cooperation with the opposition and civil society.
“I further condemn the actions of any armed groups or parties who would destabilize the Balkans through violence. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the police officers who were killed in Kumanovo and the innocent residents who were affected by the recent violence. Meanwhile, the failure to fully implement the Ohrid agreement and ensure fair treatment for minority communities risks these incidents being used to instigate division within Macedonia and surrounding countries.
“Ethnic harmony and democratic stability are essential for Macedonia's Euro-Atlantic future, which I support. The European Union and the United States must do their part to provide a realistic path forward for Macedonia. In the absence of such incentives, Macedonia's progress will continue to deteriorate at the expense of regional stability in southeastern Europe."