Albania could impose a veto on the NATO membership candidacy of Macedonia if the country continuously fails to respect the rights of its ethnic Albanian minority, PM Edi Rama has said.
At a regional anti-terrorism and security summit held in Albanian capital Tirana on Wednesday, he warned that the inability of Skopje to abide by the 2001 Ohrid Agreement and to ensure that minorities' rights are taken into account would make Macedonia unfit for alliance membership.
In his words quoted by ABC News and local Macedonian media outlets, notions such as "terrorism" and "Albanians" have been misused with regard to the recent attack in Kumanovo which claimed the lives of eight police officers.
The Skopje government said earlier in May, after the incident unfolded, that the attack had been carried out by one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the Balkans and also that the assaulters had entered the country from abroad, most likely from Kosovo.
Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of Macedonia's population of about 2 million. However, some experts claim the figure has been artificially lowered to avoid fuelling ethnic tensions.
In 2009, Albania joined NATO, a step Macedonia is unable to take due to its name dispute with Greece.