Serbia withdrew its diplomats from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) earlier this week.
The incident coincided with reports that Skopje had been making diplomatic effors to help Kosovo membership of UNESCO.
Serbia does not recognise the independence of Kosovo, and opposes all attempts of its former province to join international organisations as a sovereign country.
However, Serbia spoke of wider “offensive actions” on the part of FYROM. Speaking in an interview, Aleksandar Vučić said:
“The problem is that someone is trying to create a political problem and to involve Serbia in it. And I will not allow that to happen. They gather information in order to harm Serbia by saying, for example, that Serbia is a kind of black hole in the Balkans, that we are plotting with Russia.
This is a way for Serbia to tell Macedonia, ‘we know what you are doing’: Please, don’t.
We wish you no ill; we wish you all the best, although you have recognized Kosovo, although you will vote for Kosovo`s accession to UNESCO, because such is the final decision of Macedonian government.
We have never done you any harm, we have recognized your country under your constitutional name and that, against the will of the European Union countries.”
Response from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In a speech that seemed to try to damp down the dispute, the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister, Bujur Osmani, said he’d learnt in a telephone conversation that Pristina hadn’t even applied for UNESCO membership.
“Of course we’re closely following the situation, however we wouldn’t like to jump to conclusions. What we can do is to welcome the statement of Serbian officials”.
A subsequent press release notes that, in a long telephone conversation, the leaders of the two countries have agreed to try and improve relations through dialogue.