Croatia Slams Vučić’s Plan for Impromptu Visit as Being Against Protocol, Malicious

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The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry sent a protest note to Belgrade on Friday over this case, the minister told the press outside the ministry’s building today.

The protocol has been violated, said Grlić Radman elaborating that visits by presidents and office-holders must be announced to the host country and require planning for weeks and months.

Making an appointment for a visit by foreign officials implies that the time frame, the character, and program of the visit should be a subject matter of official communication and the outcome of the agreement by both sides, the minister said reading excerpts from Croatia’s protest note.

Following Croatia’s demarche, Serbia’s authorities tried to hand their protest note to the chargé d’affaires in Croatia’s embassy in Belgrade, however, she refused to receive it, the Croatian minister said.

He said that Croatia had invested a lot of effort in the improvement of the dialogue with Belgrade, however, there has been no sincere response from the other side.

Croatia’s refusal to allow Vučić to pay a private and impromptu visit in such a way to Jasenovac caused an uproar among Serbian officials, who are close aides to Vučić.

Grlić Radman believes that the issue of Vučić’s possible visit to Jasenovac, a WW2 concentration camp, had been made topical in Belgrade for the sake of the ongoing talks on forming the new Serbian government. 

He also sees this as Belgrade’s attempt to blur unresolved issues stemming from the Homeland War and Croatia’s insistence on answers from Serbia about what happened with 1,834 unaccounted-for people who went missing in that war.

The Jutarnji List daily reported that Vučić had contacted Croatian Serb leader Milorad Pupovac to tell him that he would arrive in Jasenovac from Bosnia and Herzegovina where he planned to visit the Serb entity.

According to the Zagreb-based daily newspaper, Pupovac conveyed that information to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and the government found Vučić’s plan to dodge the appropriate protocols outrageous.

Grlić Radman today declined to confirm or refuse the claims about Vučić’s attempt to implicate the SDSS party leader Pupovac in this affair.

The Jutarnji List daily also comments that Vučić’s intention to come on such an impromptu visit to Jasenovac and Pakrac, without official notification to Croatia’s authorities and circumventing the embassy is perceived as his attempt to play a role of a victim, who is allegedly denied access to Croatia, ahead of the anniversary of the 1995 Operation Storm and to provoke Croatia’s authorities.

Croatia criticizes Serbia’s authorities for avoiding the official channels for providing information about plans for Vučić’s arrival.

“We see it as ill-intentioned and not as a sincere visit or sincere act of paying respect to victims,” Grlić Radman said.

Ex-president says Vučić is lying for propaganda purpose

Following this entanglement about Vučić’s plans for paying a visit to Jasenovac and his claim that not any of the previous Serbian presidents had ever been to Jasenovac, former President Boris Tadić told local media outlets that this was a morbid lie made by Vučić. 

Tadić recalled that in 2010 he had visited Jasenovac and Jadovno, two sites of the suffering of ethnic Serbs in World War Two in Croatia, and accused Vučić of exploiting war victims for his propaganda purposes and for satisfying his personal ambitions.

Tadić said that the difference between Vučić and him was the fact that he had not made use of his visits to such sites for one-upmanship or for inciting hatred and fake patriotism.

For more, check out our politics section.

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