BELGRADE – Fighting for a place in UNESCO has undermined the relations between Serbia and Macedonia. Following the statement of the head of Serbian diplomacy that Serbia could vote against interests of the neighbors who voted for Kosovo’s independence or its membership in UNESCO, reaction came from FYROM (Macedonia).

“Politicians should be responsible and not turf friendship between Macedonia and Serbia… This should also be applied in conditions when it is obvious that the atmosphere is being warmed up for the next vote on Kosovo’s membership in UNESCO,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic agrees that politicians should bear the responsibility, but also recalls that the same applies for Macedonia. Serbia, he said, made a mistake because it accepted the country that recognized Kosovo under its constitutional name, although it is in contradiction with Greek interests.

“We should develop our relationship with Greece to enable Greece keeping its stance on Kosovo, because it did not recognize Kosovo. On the other hand, we slapped them by representing Macedonia with the name which is not internationally recognized, and again on the other hand, Macedonia recognized Kosovo,” Dacic said.

Athens reacted to the statement of Serbian foreign minister. Printed media, but also televisions with national frequency, cited part of his statement concerning the name of the Macedonian state. The announced policy of reciprocity and message sent to Macedonia, they believe is a message sent to the whole region.

“Consequences can only be positive for Serbia, because countries in the region will realize that, if they vote against Serbia, this will have negative consequences for them. On the other hand, we gain legitimacy in international relations, because we will be guided by principles, and not some ad-hoc policy,” said Stevan Gajic from the Institute for European studies.

In November 2015 Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro voted for the membership of Kosovo in UNESCO.