( dpa )- Macedonia's prime minister struggled Friday to maintain the Balkan country's stability after an ethnic Albanian party said it would quit the governing coalition for failing to recognize Kosovo's independence.
Macedonia is in "a deep crisis," said President Branko Crvenkovski, seven years after ethnic Albanians took up arms against majority Slavs. That fighting lasted for several months until a Western-mediated ceasefire in July 2001.
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, whose pro-Slavic party has governed in an alliance with the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) and several others since July 2006, insisted that Macedonia would withstand the renewed turmoil.
"I am telling the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia that I will not allow any politician or any political party to harm the country," private Telma television quoted him as saying.
Crvenkovski planned to hold emergency talks late Friday with Gruevski and DPA leader Menduh Thaci in a bid to calm the crisis. Possible solutions include a Slavic-led minority government or early elections.
In threatening to bring down the government Thursday, DPA cited the government's failure to make Albanian the country's second official language and renewed demands for an agreement on the display of the Albanian national flag.
But the dispute over recognizing Kosovo, which borders north- western Macedonia, was the most immediate grievance. Overwhelmingly Albanian, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, creating Europe's newest country.
Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of the population of Macedonia, which declared independence in 1991 and has avoided the large-scale bloodshed that marked much of former Yugoslavia's breakup.
Crvenkovski also expressed concern about neighbouring Greece's refusal to recognize Macedonia's name, a dispute that is blocking Macedonia's efforts to join the NATO military alliance and the European Union.
Greece says the name could imply claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia. The country is officially known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Last week, several thousand Greeks demonstrated in the northern port city of Thessaloniki against any compromise over the Macedonia name.