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Thursday, April 19, 2018, 

Macedonia and Serbia exchange diplomatic comments after Kosovo spat

Macedonia and Serbia exchange diplomatic comments after Kosovo spat

Belgrade, 4 January 2017 (MIA) - The Foreign Affairs Ministries of Macedonia and Serbia exchanged statements on Tuesday. It was done in response to a comment by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who said that Serbia made a mistake to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name, taking a position that offends Serbia's traditional ally Greece.

Dacic was speaking angered that Macedonia recognized the independence of Kosovo, which Serbia considers to be its province.

There are deep and friendly ties between Macedonia and Serbia, and it is no accident that citizens from both countries harbor friendly feelings toward the other side. It is up to the politicians to continue to deepen these historic relations, and if they are unable to do so, they should at least not act to bring down the friendship that exists between Macedonia and Serbia. This also applies in times when it is clear that the situation is heating up with regard to the vote to allow Kosovo to enter UNESCO", said the Macedonian Foreign Affairs Ministry in its statement.

Dacic said that Serbia will continue to use the constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia, in bilateral contacts with Macedonia, but will switch to using the temporary reference name "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" in international forums, which Greek nationalists often shorten to FYROM.

"Need we remind the colleagues in Skopje how much Serbia invested in our relations in the past years, recognizing Macedonia under its constitutional name, risking its relations with Greece, even though its relations with NATO and the European Union are led under the FYROM name. And then, Macedonia unilaterally recognized the independence of Kosovo", Dacic said, sparking the diplomatic row. Macedonia recognized Kosovo in 2008, just as most Balkan countries did. Greece, due to traditional friendship with Serbia, still hasn't recognized Kosovan independence. Dacic said that Serbia will be prepared to act against the interests of Macedonia or Montenegro, who also recognized Kosovo, at times when they need support in international fora.

In the statement issued by the Serbian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, it is agreed that the two countries need to work on building their friendly relations, but that Serbia can't ignore the fact that Macedonia recognized Kosovo and voted to support its initial failed bid to join UNESCO. Serbia is attempting to block future international recognitions of Kosovo, as well as its joining of international organizations.cc/09:37


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