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news 14 Jan 14

Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia Mull Joint Embassies

To cut costs, Montenegro said it was interested in setting up more joint diplomatic representatives offices with other countries in the region.

Dusica Tomovic

Montenegro's Foreign Ministry said Podgorica is already conducting talks with countries in the region concerning joint embassies.

It has already signed a bilateral agreement on joint accommodation for diplomatic and consular offices with Macedonia.

Based on an earlier agreement, from 2007, Serbia also already represents the interests of Montenegro in more than 40 countries in which Podgorica has no diplomatic missions. Similar agreements are in place with Croatia and Bulgaria.

This form of representation usually includes consular affairs and protection, and assistance with visas, passports or in cases of accidents.

“The new arrangements will contribute to greater cost-effectiveness and improved efficiency of the work of diplomatic and consular offices and they also make room for faster expansion of the diplomatic network with visibly reduced costs," the Foreign Minister, Igor Luksic, said on Monday.

Serbia launched its own initiative on estabishing joint embassies in the region last year. Serbia said that it was making such an offer to cut the costs of the diplomatic network.

“We are closest to an agreement on the matter with Macedonia and Montenegro, but we will also make the same offer to all those who are interested in joining us," Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic said last week.

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski last week also confirmed that Skopje had discussed the idea with some of its neighbours.

However, he said Macedona was interested only in sharing office space but not in merging the diplomatic misions.

“Our diplomatic missions will stay apart. But for the sake of saving money on rents, the idea is to give away space [to other countries] where we have more than is needed and for others to do the same where they have extra room,” Gruevski told Macedonian media.

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