Skopje open to Serbian "joint embassies" proposal

SKOPJE -- Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski says that ideas to share premises of diplomatic facilities " have no political background."

Instead, such proposals are aimed "simply at ensuring financial savings," Tanjug has quoted him as saying.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said that Skopje has been conducting negotiations with the authorities of Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Montenegro and Croatia for a while now concerning the realization of the idea to share the premises of diplomatic facilities "the potentials of which have not been fully exploited."

The idea is not aimed at setting up joint diplomacy, there is no political background to this decision, it is simply based on financial savings and nothing more, Gruevski said.

Such a decision by Macedonia comes as a response to the initiative of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, who made an offer to countries in the region to set up joint representative offices abroad following the Scandinavian model.

According to the Belgrade-based daily Večernje Novosti, contacts have already been established with Skopje, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Ljubljana about possible joint diplomatic missions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"An agreement could be reached by the end of this year. We are close to an agreement with the Macedonians and Montenegrins," Mrkić said in a statement to Novosti on Saturday.