U.S. Voices 'Concerns' at Macedonia's Political Crisis

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The United States on Monday voiced its concerns over a political crisis in Macedonia and called on the government to probe opposition claims of corruption.

"We remain in close consultation with the Macedonian government and with political leaders to convey our concerns about the current political crisis," the State Department's press office director Jeff Rathke told reporters.

Washington had been following the events in Macedonia "closely" as tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski have taken to the streets in past days in the Balkans country.

The center-left opposition is seeking the conservative premier's resignation, accusing him of corruption, mass wiretapping and fomenting ethnic tensions to hang onto power.

Washington is urging "the authorities to make progress toward accounting for allegations of government wrongdoing that arise from the recent disclosures," Rathke told reporters.

"We also have urged the opposition party to return to parliament so that it can take part in strengthen parliamentary oversight of Macedonian government institutions, including an inquiry committee into these disclosures."

On Monday, Gruevski repeated that he did not intend to step down, although he admitted "mistakes and omissions" that he pledged to correct.

Rathke said Washington also called on all sides "to respect the rights of freedom of assembly and peaceful protest."

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