First big slap on the wrist for Croatian diplomacy.
As Telegram.hr reported on May 5, 2016, US secretary of state John Kerry refused to meet with the Croatian foreign minister Miro Kovač. According to the official protocol and the report in the Wall Street Journal, Kovač had a scheduled meeting with Kerry yesterday at 5PM, Washington time. However, at the very last minute, the American side announced that the scheduled meeting with Secretary Kerry will not happen and sent Kovač to meet his deputy Thomas Shannon. Telegram newsroom team contacted the State Department and they officially confirmed that the meeting between Kovač and Kerry never took place.
The same newsroom also contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia but they declined to answer by phone and requested that they send any questions via official email At the time the article as published they did not receive an answer from the Ministry.
The word among the diplomatic core is that minister Kovač travelled to Washington only cause of the important meeting with Secretary Kerry, and the cancellation of this meeting is a serious blow to the Croatian reputation in the world. Telegram.hr adds that Kovač plans to tell the media that both sides had obligations that could not be cancelled and that is the reason why the meeting did not take place. However, relevant sources from the Croatian diplomatic circles are saying the opposite.
“This is an unprecedented event in recent Croatian history,“ said one of the sources with years of diplomatic experience. “In a situation like this, the other side is informed of a problem way in advance and a joint statement is issued. However, Kerry deliberately let the Croatian minister arrive in Washington and then demonstrated the relation of the US administration towards this Government and its policies,“ the source concluded.
Hours after this story appeared in the Croatian media, the American Embassy in Zagreb issued this press release:
“The Embassy of the United States confirms that the only reason for the postponement of Secretary Kerry’s meeting with Foreign Minister Kovač was mutual scheduling conflicts. The relationship between the United States and Croatia remains strong. The United States and Croatia mutually agreed to reschedule this bilateral visit on another date.”