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Albanian, Macedonian Presidents Call For Calm After Murders

Albanian President Bamir Topi (left) and his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in Skopje
The presidents of Macedonia and Albania are appealing for calm after the murder of five Macedonians last week.

The bodies of the five men were found lined up with gunshot wounds near the Macedonian capital, Skopje, on April 13.

The attackers remain unidentified and their motive unclear.

But the killings have triggered violent clashes and sparked fears that tensions between the majority Macedonians and the Albanian minority could flare.

In Skopje on April 19, visiting Albanian President Bamir Topi said: "Every nationalist or ultranationalist reflex or any climate of prejudice harms the harmony and relations between Albanian and Macedonian citizens."

He spoke after talks with his Macedonian counterpart, Gjorge Ivanov, who also called on people to refrain from violence, as it was "in the interest of all to find the perpetrators of the murders."

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa