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News 22 Aug 17

Serbian Media Synchronise to Accuse Macedonia of Tapping Officials

Serbian media has accused Macedonia of tapping Serb officials’ communications amid an ongoing diplomatic scandal between Belgrade and Skopje.

Maja Zivanovic

Serbian media have accused Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev of declaring war on Serbia and tapping the communications of Serbian officials.

Pro-government Serbian tabloid Informer published a front page Tuesday alleging that Macedonians even tapped Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, accusing the Macedonian secret service of “cooperation with the West”.

“There is evidence that even people from top state [levels] in Serbia have been tapped by Skopje,” Informer said.

The media furore exploded after the Serbian government’s decision Sunday to withdraw diplomatic staff from Macedonia.

Vucic said Monday that Serbian embassy staff were being withdrawn from Macedonia after Belgrade obtained “evidence of very offensive intelligence against the institutions of Serbia.”

In their statements on Monday, both Vucic and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic accused “foreign powers” of meddling in the affair, without providing any further details.

State-owned publication Vecernje Novosti accused the US of  “helping in the operation of tapping officials from Serbia” on Tuesday, while Serbian daily Blic published a front page stating that Macedonian secret services “followed and intimidated” Serbian diplomats.

Tabloid Srpski Telegraf went even further and published an article stating that Zaev had declared war on Serbia, adding that Macedonia planned to support Kosovo’s UNESCO membership.

Kosovo failed to secure enough support in a vote in November 2015, but Kosovo officials announced they are considering a renewed bid to join the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence and still considers the former province part of its own territory.

Regarding another vote on Kosovo's UNESCO membership, the new Macedonian government added that "it will bear in mind the positions of the majority of EU member states."

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