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Serbian, Macedonian Foreign Ministers Discuss Ties Following Tensions

The Serbian ambassador is due to return to the embassy in Skopje on August 31.

The Serbian and Macedonian foreign ministers have met to try to resolve issues between the two neighbors following diplomatic tensions that saw Belgrade abruptly recall all staff from its embassy in Skopje.

Serbia's Ivica Dacic and Nikola Dimitrov of Macedonia had agreed to hold talks in the southern Serbian city of Nis during a telephone call on August 24.

After the discussion on August 25, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said the sides "will resolve all open issues through dialogue with the aim of improving friendly relations between the two countries and the two nations."

Meanwhile, embassy staff have returned to Macedonia, with the Serbian diplomatic mission confirming that it had resumed regular consular activities on August 25.

The Serbian ambassador is due to return to the Macedonian capital on August 31.

In a joint press release issued on August 23 following a "lengthy and open" telephone conversation, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev agreed to promote dialogue and to "jointly strive" to improve ties.

Earlier this week, Serbia recalled its Skopje Embassy staff for consultations regarding what Vucic called "offensive intelligence activities" against Serbia. Macedonian officials denied carrying out such activities.

The move coincided with reports that Macedonia was joining diplomatic efforts to secure Kosovo's membership in the UN cultural agency UNESCO.

Serbia has not recognized Kosovo's independence and opposes its attempts to join international organizations.

A former province of Serbia, Kosovo has been independent since 2008, but is not recognized by Belgrade.

It applied to join UNESCO in 2015, but its application did not secure enough votes.

With reporting by AP