"Politicians shouldn't spoil Macedonia-Serbia friendship"
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia has said that politicians "should be responsible and not undermine the friendship between Macedonia and Serbia."Source: B92, Beta
"That should be valid even when the atmosphere is obviously being heated up ahead of the next vote on Kosovo's UNESCO entry," the ministry said, reacting to Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic's interview earlier in the week.
Dacic said that his country would not allow others to humiliate it, and regretted that Serbia recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name.
Beta has reported that sources in the Macedonian MFA told the website mkd.mk unofficially that Dacic's statements are "in a way a warning ahead of the new round of Kosovo's efforts to join UNESCO, which should take place in the spring."
During Pristina's failed November 2015 bid, Macedonia, Croatia, and Montenegro voted in favor, causing criticism from Belgrade.
The Macedonian MFA stressed that "Macedonia and Serbia have close and deep friendly relations, while citizens of both countries have positive mutual feelings, and all politicians have to do is deepen that historic friendship."
"If that is not possible, then they should be responsible and at least not undermine the friendship that exists between Macedonia and Serbia," said the Macedonian ministry.
Reacting to this late on Tuesday, Dacic said he agreed that friendship should not be undermined - adding, "only, this should be the case both in Belgrade and in Skopje."
"Need I remind my colleagues in Skopje how much Serbia has invested in that during all these years, recognizing Macedonia under its constitutional name, risking its relations with Greece, even though the name FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is in use both in the UN and in the EU? After this, Macedonia recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo," he said.
"My colleagues in Skopje know very well how much I contributed to the development of friendly relations, both as interior minister and as prime minister, and now as foreign minister. They also know Serbia is one of a few countries that have so far not interfered in Macedonia's internal affairs. The colleagues in Skopje know very well that I personally spoke with both Gruevski and Poposki, but also with President Ivanov about the Kosovo UNESCO vote, a vital state and national issue for us. Macedonia in the end voted against the Serbian position, in favor of Kosovo's admission, in favor of those who burned down and destroyed Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries now being in charge of them," said Dacic.
He stressed that "the colleagues from Skopje must have known that this undermined our friendship."
"That was also a clear message that they consider Albanian, or somebody else's interest more important than the friendship with Serbia," Dacic stressed.
Saying that his statements are "the least of the problems," Dacic asked, "what shall we do about the concrete political decisions in the coming period?," and added that this was "a chance to demonstrate that politicians, too, think like the two friendly peoples."
"Belgrade never has and never will do anything to harm Skopje, we wish the other way around was true as well. And if it isn't, then nobody has the right to be angry at Serbia for protecting its interests," the minister said.