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Macedonia: Ethnic Albanian Party Quits Parliament

Skopje, 25 March (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia's main opposition ethnic Albanian party said today it is pulling out of the parliament in protest at what it called the "aggressive" attitude of the army. The Party for Democratic Prosperity, or PDP, made the announcement as Skopje launched a ground offensive against rebel positions in the hills above the northwest town of Tetovo.

A PDP statement accused the army of escalating the conflict, causing civilian casualties, and destroying villages.

It said it is withdrawing from parliamentary activity in protest. The party has 10 seats in the 120-seat chamber. PDP leader Imer Imeri today also called on the ethnic Albanian rebels to lay down their arms and for the government to halt its offensive.

The PDP called on the other 25 deputies representing the ethnic-Albanian community in Macedonia to follow their example.