MINORITY GOVERNMENT UNTILL NATO SUMMIT
Macedonia's main political parties agreed on Friday to keep the minority government intact until a NATO summit next month, when the country is expected to be invited to join the alliance, the foreign minister said.
"The government of Macedonia will keep functioning as a minority government during the next two or three weeks, till the (NATO) summit in Bucharest," Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told reporters after a meeting called by President Branko Crvenkovski.
The coalition government led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski came on the verge of collapsing after one of the partners, the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), decided to pull out of the cabinet as its demand that Macedonia recognise Kosovo's independence was not met.
"We agreed that the (minority) government will be supported by the parliament," Milososki said. Two main opposition parties, SDSM and DUI, have supported the accord, officials said.
The DPA's defection on Thursday means the Gruevski government, in power since August 2006, has lost a slim parliamentary majority, but it is expected to remain in power unless the assembly votes for its dismissal.
The European Commission on Friday urged Macedonian political parties to set aside differences and to "work in the spirit of consensus, and engage in continuous dialogue in order to ensure success of the reform process." "We are following the situation in Skopje as it evolves," said a commission spokeswoman, adding: "We expect the government to remain focused on the EU reform process."