In an interview with Kanal77, US Ambassador to Macedonia Angela Aggeler repeated her call for urgent measures to fight the “epidemic of corruption” in the country. Aggeler also discussed the tragic murder of 14 year old Vanja Gjorcevska, asking how was it possible that the culprits were allowed to roam free even after previous criminal allegations. She announced that additional officials and businessmen will be placed on the US black lists, and discussed Zoran Zaev’s move to publicly defend the latest entry to the list – his former Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angjusev.

The former Prime Minister is somebody who I’ve spoken with – not recently – and you know, he spoke out on behalf of a friend. He’s certainly entitled to do so. But I will say that as with the designation of Orce Kamcev and his organizations, what we saw was that frequently with these designations and with corruption, who you do business with can affect you and your family. He is absolutely within his rights to say anything he would like to about his friend, Aggeler said. Zaev himself was mentioned in a previous, region-wide blacklist, not directly as a person who would be banned from entering or doing business in the US, but as an associate of a corrupt Montenegrin businessman.

Regarding the recent visit of top US diplomats, one of whom, Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien called on the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party to accept the Bulgarian demands, Aggeler said that different parties should be able to come together on crucial issues.

I won’t parse his words, he’s a very very smart person. He wanted to understand the views of all of the political players on the scene, and certainly wants to understand the opposition’s plan. I think that was a reflection of the fact that, to his satisfaction, he had not heard it yet, Aggeler said.