Belgrade ( Associated Press) – Tensions are rising between Serbia and Croatia after Croatia refused to allow Serbia’s president to visit the site where thousands of Serbs were massacred during World War II.
Croatian officials said they learned of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s planned visit to the Janovac camp through “informal channels”.
Foreign Minister Gordon Grilic Redman told reporters that the Croatian government’s failure to give proper notice was “unacceptable”.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to emphasize that any travel plans by foreign officials should be in accordance with communication and agreement between the two sides,” Grilick Redmayne said.
“This is not a beach walk. The president of a country is a protected person,” he said.
The Croatian decision caused anger in Serbia, where officials called it “reprehensible”. Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin announced that from now on any Croatian official who wishes to visit will have to announce the visit in advance and will be placed under “a special control regime”, which he did not elaborate on. .
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said it was “an anti-European and anti-civilization decision, a violation of the right to relocate.”
“I don’t know how our relationship will be in the future… It leaves a terrible message,” Branabic added to the pro-official Pink station.
Relations between Serbia and Croatia have been strained since the breakup of Yugoslavia and the 1991–95 war, which took place in Croatia after the Serbian-backed Serb minority took up arms against Croatian independence.
More than 10,000 people died in the war. While Croatia and Serbia have promised to try to resolve outstanding issues, diplomatic disputes do arise from time to time.
Serbian officials say Croatia failed to adequately address its fascist past during World War II, while Zagreb criticized Serbia in using the issue for politics and its role in the 1990 war. accused of failing.
“We see this as a provocation,” declared Grillick Redmayne. He said that “this visit is not honest, it is not to honor the victims” of the Jasnovac camp, where thousands of Serbo-Croats, Jews and Roma were killed by pro-Nazi authorities during World War II.