A senior US official has urged Macedonian political leaders to end a protracted crisis that is one of the worst since the country declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters in Skopje on Monday after meetings with country's top political leaders that "now is the time to bring the crises to the end." Her appeal came after main opposition leader Zoran Zaev declared talks for resolving the crisis "unsuccessful" and blamed conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Macedonia has been in turmoil over claims that the government illegally wire-tapped 20,000 people. The government denies wrongdoing.

Zaev and Gruevski agreed last month to hold a new election before May 2016, but a final agreement still needs to be worked out.