Political crisis in Macedonia / Biafra independence leader released / Hamas accepts pre-1967 borders

28 April to 4 May

Protester in London demands freedom for Nnamdi Kanu, 2016.
Protester in London demands freedom for Nnamdi Kanu, 2016. Author: Alisdare Hickson
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. Hamas’s announcement that it is ready to accept, as a basis for negotiations, the establishment of a Palestinian state provisionally made up of just the West Bank and Gaza means a turning point in the Islamist group’s public approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However important this might prove in the future, the move is not this week’s only highlight. We are also approaching a deep political crisis that has been unfolding in Macedonia for weeks, the challenge that the Biafra independence movement poses to Nigeria, or Kalmyk demands for compensations to Russian authorities.


Hamas ready to accept pre-1967 borders as basis for Palestinian state. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal has unveiled the Palestinian political-military group’s new Charter, in which it admits the establishment of a State of Palestine which is provisionally made up of only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and its readiness to “negotiate”. This does not “necessarily” imply that Hamas renounces to the whole of historical Palestine, or that the group recognizes the State of Israel, Khaled has said. But nevertheless, this is the first time ever that a Hamas document admits the establishment of a Palestinian state on only one part of the Palestinian historical territory. The Israeli government has reacted by saying that Hamas tries to “fool the world”, that the Islamist group will go on with its “terrorist” practices, and that it continues not to accept “Israel’s right to exist”.


Post-election division deepens in Macedonia. Talat Xhaferi, a politician belonging to Macedonia’s Albanian minority, has this week sat for the first time in his new office as president of the Macedonian Parliament. Xhaferi was elected for the post with votes for from the Macedonian social democrats (SDSM) and a coalition of ethnic Albanian parties. This alliance is in fact seeking to form a new government, led by SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, to replace the current government of the Macedonian nationalist right-wing party VMRO. In a country immersed into a deep economic, political and social crisis, Xhaferi’s election has triggered a major conflict as 27 April a group of Macedonian ultranationalists stormed the Parliament and attacked several social democrat MPs. For weeks, the VMRO has been arguing that the deal between the SDSM and the Albanian parties will put an end to Macedonian national unity. The fact that Xhaferi has brought two Albanian flags to his office has not helped to calm the situation down.

Biafra independence leader released from prison. On health grounds, the Nigerian authorities have released Nnamdi Kanu from prison on bail. Kanu, the leader of the pro-independence Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group, was arrested in October 2015, on conspiracy and leading an illegal movement charges. In recent years, several political groups mainly made up of Igbo people have demonstrated demanding independence for Biafra from Nigeria.

Curaçao mulls renewing links to the Netherlands. The new majority in the Caribbean island after the 28 April snap election will adopt a policy seeking to “deepen the collaboration” with the authorities in The Hague, likely-to-be Curaçao PM Eugene Rhuggenaath has said. From 2012 to 2016, the government of Curaçao had said it would be seeking to lead the island towards full independence from the Netherlands.

Kalmyk group demands compensations over Soviet era crimes. The Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk People has said Russian authorities should be compensating “victims of political repression” under Stalinism. The Kalmyk people was deported in 1943 by Soviet authorities, on the grounds it had collaborated with Nazi Germany. In 1956, Kalmyks were allowed to return to their homeland on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea, and the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (now the Republic of Kalmykia) was reestablished.

PNV-PP strike deal on Spanish budget, investments in Euskadi. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV, ruling party in Euskadi) has reached an agreement with Spanish conservative PP party on several public investments and the devolution by the Spanish government to the Basque government of 1,400 million euros. The issue of enlargement of Basque self-government was left outside the negotiations, both sides have said. In exchange for those investments, the PNV agrees to support the annual budget drafted by PP’s Spanish government. Basque pro-independence EH Bildu has said that, by dealing with the PP, the PNV allows the continuation of “corrupt, antidemocratic and antisocial policies”.

Cornwall Council election. Cornish voters have elected, 4 May, the members of the Cornwall Council for the 2017-2012 term. Results were not yet available at the time of publication. Mebyon Kernow, the only pro-autonomy party with members elected to the Council, has vowed to carry on with a campaign demanding the establishment of a Cornish National Assembly, on the lines of the Welsh or Scottish legislatures.