A permanent solution is required for the “phantoms”, the Parliament remains blocked

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Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Wednesday said he had a ‘constructive’ working meeting with MP Skender Rexhepi, coordinator of the Alliance for Albanians/Alternativa parliamentary group, over the citizenship law, which has been deadlocking Parliament.

“We held a constructive working meeting at which executive branch officials listened to the arguments of the Alliance for Albanians (AA) and Alternativa, presented by their representatives, on the draft-law. We found a solution on one segment right away, but for a majority of the issues we concluded that the government should review the arguments presented by the parliamentary coalition and they also need to discuss the arguments presented by the responsible ministers,” Zaev said after the meeting, where he was accompanied by Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski, Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj, Agriculture Minister Arjanit Hoxha and MP Jovan Mitreski, coordinator of the SDSM parliamentary group.

He said they would meet again in a week at the latest in a bid to find a permanent solution.

The PM also said meeting participants agreed that the number of people without citizenship – although registered at being about 1,500 – was different because state records showed that there were 800-850 people holding no citizenship.

“We made a distinction between people having birth certificate and citizens entitled to citizenship after marrying and we agreed how to approach the matter,” Zaev said.

He voiced commitment to finding a permanent solution to allow citizens to be issued citizenship in line with the international regulations on citizenships.

“The European convention has to be respected because the country is a hopeful for joining the EU and we mustn’t risk losing visa liberalization,” Zaev stressed.

PM Zaev also said that talks were due with VMRO-DPMNE and Levica party after they have blocked the amendments to the law on citizenship, proposed by AA and Alternativa.

MP Rexhepi said the stakeholders were on the right track to finding a solution to the citizenship issue.

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