Plenković Expects Serbia to Condemn Šešelj Incident

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ZAGREB, April 19, 2018 – Prime Minister and leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) Andrej Plenković on Wednesday harshly condemned the incident by Vojislav Šeselj during the visit by Croatia’s parliamentary delegation to Serbia, adding that in his opinion the delegation “appropriately responded to that sort of provocation.”

The parliamentary delegation abruptly terminated the official visit to Serbia in the wake of an incident by Serbian Radical Party leader and MP in Serbia’s parliament Šeselj who trampled on the Croatian flag in Serbia’s parliament.

“The incident was caused by a convicted war criminal Vojislav Šeselj, who desecrated the Croatian flag and insulted the Croatian delegation during their visit to Serbia’s parliament, which deserves the harshest condemnation,” Plenković underscored after a meeting the HDZ parliamentary group.

In the wake of the incident, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs already sent a protest note to Serbia’s Embassy in Zagreb, Plenković said and added that he had spoken to Speaker Gordan Jandroković who informed him that the Croatian delegation decided by consensus to return to Zagreb, considering the gravity of the incident.

“I think that is an appropriate response to that sort of provocation. I am not glad that this has occurred in the context of a well prepared, organised visit and when the speaker in fact was to have attended the opening of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce office in Belgrade where we would have in that way provided yet another quality investment in the further development of trade and overall economic relations,” Plenković said. He added that Jandroković was supposed to meet with President Aleksandar Vučić on Thursday and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and later he was expected to meet with representatives of the Croat minority for talks. “However, an act of provocation occurred and in my judgement, leaving was the only appropriate response by the Croatian delegation,” he claimed.

Plenković did not wish to comment on the fact that Serbia’s embassy refused to accept the protest note from the Croatian foreign ministry, adding that in his opinion they should have accepted it. The content of the note is absolutely appropriate considering the nature of Šešelj’s incident, Plenković said.

He mentioned that during his conversation with Jandroković he did not get the impression that other officials in Serbia were in any way associated with that unfortunate incident. “On the contrary, I expect Serbia to condemn that incident and after a dialogue is established we will see what next,” Plenković said. He added that he had not spoken with Serbia’s Prime Minister Brnabić and that he “would see whether he would.”

The incident was condemned by the president of the Croatian People’s Party Ivan Vrdoljak, Social Democratic Party (SDP) chief Davor Bernardić, SDP MP Orsat Miljenić, Nikola Grmoja of the MOST party, Branko Bačić of the Croatian Democratic Union, the president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party Milorad Pupovac, officials of the Croatian Peasant Party, and many others.


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