President meets with Macedonian counterpart

BELGRADE -- Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov say similar obstacles that the two countries face in the EU integration pointed to the need to have closer cooperation.

Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov (Tanjug)
Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov (Tanjug)

The presidents of Serbia and Macedonia met in Skopje on Friday.

Nikolic and Ivanov also agreed that all issues between the countries of the region should be settled through dialogue.

The two officials assessed that relations between Serbia and Macedonia were at a high level and the issues they had were not unsolvable and they were not an obstacle to a joint European future.

"Since Serbia and Macedonia have a similar problem to solve in order to become EU members, I think it points us to the closest possible cooperation," Nikolić said after the meeting.

He noted that he did not choose Macedonia as his first visit to the region by accident and that Serbia wanted to show that both those who had recognized Kosovo and those who had not were its dear friends.

Ivanov agreed that dialogue was the only way to solve the problems Serbia and Macedonia had in EU integration, as well as all issues in the region.

“We need to talk because we reach solutions through talks,” the Macedonian president stressed and added that it was in Macedonia's best interest to communicate with Greece, which is creating obstacles for its EU integration.

“I hope a solution will be found if there is readiness to solve the problem,” Ivanov pointed out.

The two officials called for talks to settle the problem between the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, adding that they would assist in the process.

Nikolić met with Macedonian parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski on Friday as well.

This is Nikolić's first official visit to Macedonia since he assumed office as the president.

He laid a wreath at the Monument Honoring Macedonian Fallen Heroes on Friday.

On the third day of the visit, Nikolić will attend the ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Kumanovo and lay a wreath to honor fallen heroes.