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Macedonia's political leaders hold crisis talks in Brussels; aim to get deal on an early vote

  • People protest in front of a police cordon set at the approach of the Interior Ministry in Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Hundreds of people protested peacefully in Skopje on the fourth anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Martin Neskovski, who was beaten by police during post-election celebrations, demanding resignation of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his cabinet. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    People protest in front of a police cordon set at the approach of the Interior Ministry in Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Hundreds of people protested peacefully in Skopje on the fourth anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Martin Neskovski, who was beaten by police during post-election celebrations, demanding resignation of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his cabinet. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

  • People carry banners reading “Justice For Martin, Freedom For Everyone” and “Resignation” as they protest through a street in Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Hundreds of people protested peacefully in Skopje on the fourth anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Martin Neskovski, who was beaten by police during post-election celebrations, demanding resignation of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his cabinet. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

    People carry banners reading “Justice For Martin, Freedom For Everyone” and “Resignation” as they protest through a street in Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday, June 6, 2015. Hundreds of people protested peacefully in Skopje on the fourth anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Martin Neskovski, who was beaten by police during post-election celebrations, demanding resignation of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his cabinet. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)  (The Associated Press)

Macedonia's main political leaders have started European Union-mediated talks in Brussels in effort to resolve a deep political crisis that has paralyzed the country for months.

Main opposition leader Zoran Zaev and conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, along with two ethnic Albanian political leaders, were holding talks Wednesday with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and EU Parliament member Ivo Vajgl, in a bid to hammer out a deal that will include holding early elections by April 2016.

The crisis, one of the deepest Macedonia has faced since gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, stems from opposition claims that the government illegally wiretapped 20,000 people. Zaev claims Gruevski is behind the wiretapping; Gruevski accuses Zaev of plotting a coup.