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Thursday, April 24, 2014, 

Reeker: Some Balkan leaders trying to divert focus from real issues in their countries

Brussels, 16 January 2013 (MIA) - U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Reeker delivered Wednesday in Brussels a statement that can be interpreted as a new message to opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski and his 'street activities' in Macedonia. Reeker  at a briefing at the U.S. embassy in Brussels as part of a U.S.-EU meeting on Western Balkans said Washington was disappointed with the actions conducted by several leaders in the region.

"The United States is a little bit disappointed with several political leaders who with their behaviour are diverting the focus from real issues in their countries in favour of their personal programs. In this sense, 2012 could be seen as a year of disappointment for some things," said the U.S. diplomat.

Reeker, who is also a former ambassador to Macedonia, is holding meetings today with the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and NATO, MIA reports from Brussels. He welcomed the EU engagement in relation to Macedonia.

"Macedonia is facing a specific challenge in its relations with Greece, which has caused a standstill in the country's accession process to EU and NATO. But, the European Commission has adjusted to the case and found a way to launch the High Level Accession Dialogue with Macedonia allowing the country's integration to the Union and NATO to be continued while a solution to the name issue is being sought," Reeker stressed.

Moreover, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary conveyed Washington's concern over the nationalistic rhetoric by politicians in Albania, emphasising that populism and nationalistic messages "do not contribute to the opening of jobs and developing of the economy." He urged Kosovo and Serbia to resume their dialogue.

"After many years of joint work with the EU to establish peace, develop democracy, etc, now Western Balkans are focused on its Euro-Atlantic integration, Reeker concluded. ba/14:28

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