According to Balkan Insight, Albanian police confirmed that former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski crossed the Albania-Montenegro border at 7.11 pm on 11 November (via Hani I Hotit/Bozaj) using a Hungarian diplomatic vehicle.
The ex-Prime Minister was one of three passengers traveling in the diplomatic car with the license plate CD 1013A, owned by the Hungarian Embassy in Albania. Gruevski used his regular identification document – as his passport was confiscated last year – and left Montenegro on the same day, 11 November, before the warrant was issued on 13 November. He may have crossed the Macedonian-Albanian borders illegally by foot either near lake Prespa or the city of Debar.
According to Podgorica-based newspaper Vijesti, the former Prime Minister also passed through Montenegro and crossed the Montenegro-Serbian border at 10.16pm on 11 November in another Hungarian diplomatic car with the plate number 55A05. According to the paper, Gruevski was accompanied in the car by Deputy Head of Mission József Császár and consul Csaba Félegyházi.
Hungarian news portal hvg.hu writes that Gruevski supposedly continued his journey to Hungary in another diplomatic vehicle owned by the Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade. Serbian police have yet to comment.
At his weekly press conference, Gergely Gulyás said that “the Hungarian state had nothing to do with him leaving Macedonia,” and today the Hungarian government released another statement in response to the “allegations and fake news” in the media. The government claims that neither the Hungarian state nor Hungarian authorities assisted Nikola Gruevski in leaving his country.
Allegedly, Gruevski indicated his intent to apply for asylum at a Hungarian diplomatic mission and the Hungarian authorities decided that – for safety reasons – the former Prime Minister should apply for asylum in Hungary and his hearing should be held in Budapest. The government insists that relevant procedures will be conducted in line with Hungarian and international law.
The statement says that Gruevski is staying in Hungary legally in line with asylum regulations and that the authorities will not provide further information until the procedures are concluded.
The Macedonian police began searching for the ex-Prime Minister on Monday after he failed to show up to begin his prison sentence for abuse of office. The country’s prosecutors then issued a warrant for his arrest. Gruevski announced on Facebook this Tuesday that he is in Budapest. Since then, several theories have flooded the domestic, Macedonian and international news outlets regarding how he arrived in the country and where he is staying.
via hvg.hu, 24.hu, Vijesti, Balkan Insight, Reuters