United States Ambassador Angela Aggeler says the people of Macedonia deserve integrity from their public officials and a system that holds them accountable, following the designation of Struga Mayor Ramiz Merko and his family as ineligible for entry into the United States, based on findings of significant corruption.

“The people of Macedonia deserve integrity from their public officials, and a system that will hold them accountable. The United States will continue to call out anyone – regardless of position or political party – who undermines the rule of law, threatening the progress and stability of Macedonia,” says Ambassador Aggeler in a statement at the US Embassy Facebook account.

Earlier, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press statement that while serving as Struga’s mayor, Merko misappropriated funds and interfered with judicial and other public processes, damaging the public’s faith in Macedonia’s democratic institutions and officials.

“Today’s action sends a message that the United States stands with Macedonia to foster stability through the strengthening of democratic institutions and addressing rule of law deficiencies. This designation reaffirms the commitment of the United States to combat corruption, which harms the public interest, hampers countries’ economic prosperity, and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people,” reads the statement.

The Department is also designating Merko’s wife, Shpresa, and three adult children, Genc, Nazmije, and Drenushe as ineligible for entry into the United States.