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News 21 Aug 17

Serbia Abruptly Withdraws Diplomats From Macedonia

Serbia on Sunday abruptly revoked all of its staff from its embassy in Macedonia, allegedly for emergency consultations to Belgrade.

Maja Zivanovic, Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje, Belgrade
 

 Serbian Foreign Ministry. Photo: Wikipedia/Dungodung

Serbia unexpectedly withdrew all its diplomatic staff from Skopje, Macedonia, on Sunday.

The Ambassador to Macedonia, Dusanka Divjak Tomic, on Sunday told Beta news agency that she could not comment on the reasons, referring queries to the Foreign Ministry in Belgrade for answers.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic was not available to BIRN on Monday, however.

Macedonia's Foreign Ministry told BIRN on Monday it was not informed of the reasons for the withdrawal of the staff and that it "is establishing communications with the Serbian Foreign Ministry.”

Meanwhile, Macedonia’s Interior Ministry stated that according to the Vienna Convention, upon Serbia’s request, it has boosted the security around the embassy.

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which defines a framework for diplomatic relations between countries, the host nation must protect the diplomatic missions from intrusion or damage.

The two former Yugoslasv republics have generally had good relations.

However, relations dipped after the events of april 27, when a group of men stormed the Macedonian parliament, after which media outlets published photographs showing that a Serbian intelligence officer, Goran Zivaljevic, who worked as an adviser at the Serbian embassy, was present during the violent episode.

This raised suspicions of Serbian involvement in the the violence, which Belgrade categorically denied.

During May, Serbian ministers reacted angrily after Macedonia's incoming Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, then preparing to assume office, accused the Serbian leadership of promoting nationalism.

However Serbia and Macedonia appeared to iron out their differences at the sidelines of the EU-Balkans summit held in Trieste in mid-July.

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