Excerpt from report by Goran Momirovski entitled "Macedonian government prepares counter-blow against Serbia"posted on Macedonian A1 TV website on 18 August
The Macedonian trade and economic office in Pristina, which opened in March, is most probably going to grow into a liaison office, a diplomatic and economic mission of the type that 26 countries have in Kosovo.
We must egoistically protect our interests, the prime minister said last week. This seems to have heralded the government's intentions to put an end to its age-old dependence on Belgrade and to place Pristina on the same level with Belgrade in terms of its priorities in the Balkans, even if this annoys Serbia.
According to A1 Television reports, the government's initial plan to open a liaison office in Pristina was changed only because of the opposition coming from Belgrade, which sees this act as recognition of Kosovo's independence.
In an attempt to assume a favourable position ahead of the final talks on Kosovo's status, [Prime Minister] Buckovski's office is trying to develop a positive policy towards Kosovo, free of the conservative views of the president, who advocated tough relations with the province.
An additional reason for our changed attitude towards Kosovo is Belgrade nationalist circles' pressure and intention to radicalize relations with Macedonia through the Vraniskovski [imprisoned Bishop Jovan] affair.
Contrary to the opinions expressed by experts and by the government that Skopje-Belgrade relations are at the lowest possible level since 1991 owing to Vraniskovski, today President Crvenkovski tried to alleviate the aggravated communication between Serbia and Macedonia. [Passage omitted]
The Foreign Ministry says that according to the government's decision in May the Macedonian office in Pristina continues to have merely economic powers.
It is nevertheless symptomatic that, starting from 1 September, the new coordinator in our mission in Pristina will no longer come from the Economy Ministry, but from the Foreign Ministry - a professional diplomat who previously served as consul in the Macedonian embassy in Brussels.
Source: A1 TV website, Skopje, in Macedonian 18 Aug 05