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10 Oct 08

Serbia Expels Macedonia Envoy over Kosovo

Belgrade _ Serbia has declared Macedonia's ambassador to Belgrade a 'persona non grata' and expelled him, a day after Skopje recognised Kosovo, sources from Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry say.
Ambassador Alesandar Vasilevski is expected to leave the country as soon as possible.

In addition, the Serbian ambassador to Skopje handed a protest note requesting Macedonia to reconsider its decision to recognise Kosovo. So far there are no indications that Serbia is planning to withdraw its diplomat form Skopje, the Ministry added.

Last night, Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic announced that Belgrade is also expelling Montenegro's ambassador in retaliation to its decision to recognise Kosovo. Read more: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/13886/.

Jeremic added that Serbia would continue to apply harsh measures.

Aleksandar Konuzin, the Russian ambassador to Serbia, also expressed dismay at Montenegro's decision. He said that Russia will support Serbia and its people.

“Citizens of Serbia, let the results of the political victory increase your belief in the justness of what you are defending and encourage new efforts. There is a lot of work ahead,” Konuzin told the Serbian state run television network.

“I would like to repeat the words of the great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who said ‘Serbs, do not give up your country.’ Be sure that Russia will remain beside Serbia in the future,” Konuzin said.

Reaction elsewhere in Serbia to Montenegro and Macedonia's decision varied in degree from disappointment to anger.

Serbia’s Kosovo Minister, Goran Bogdanovic, told Serbia’s daily Blic that he was saddened by Montenegro’s decision.

“There are a lot of both Serb and Montenegrin refugees from Kosovo in Montenegro. I live in Kosovo and I know that a majority of people look to Montenegro as a county that would offer help but this is something that was least expected by everyone,” said Bogdanovic.

Serbian Parliament President Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic told Blic that Montenegro’s move is a “stab in the back”.

The recognition came a a day after the United Nations General Assembly approved Serbia's bid to ask the International Court of Justice's opinion on the legality of Kosovo's independence. Read more: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/13847/

Serbian Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic, told reporters that the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro will be forever changed.

“The decision is not in the interest of Montenegro because Serbian and Montenegrin roots in history, tradition, and literature are tied to Kosovo. The decision comes a day after the UN decision and I can view this move only as an attempt to return the blow by Kosovo lobbyists,” Dacic said.

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