Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman said Wednesday that his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic’s response to a Croatian letter of protest over threats against Croats in Vojvodina was “unprecedented in diplomacy” and was “neither European nor good neighbor”.
“We have been waiting for several days for the Serbian authorities. “They did not respond to or condemn those personal threats sent directly to Croatian community websites and e-mail addresses,” Grlić-Radman told Croatia’s state-run HR radio on Wednesday.
“The Croatian community did not receive the support of the Serbian authorities, so it returned to Croatia,” he added.
On Saturday, Selakovic called Croatia’s protest letter “one of the most stupid and meaningless notes I have received so far” because, as he put it, Croatia was complaining about ugly explosions on social media while at the same time Croatian media were making “the most monstrous and brutal insults” against senior Serbian politicians, particularly President Aleksandar Vucic.
Grlić-Radman said on Wednesday that the letter was not just about random comments made on social media but was addressing direct threats, adding that Selakovi përgjig’s response “is unparalleled in diplomatic practice”.
“The fact that the Subotica authorities subsequently arrested one or two citizens shows that our letter made sense. It was welcomed by Croats in Vojvodina, “he said, adding that Selakovic ‘s statement” is not conducive to the progress of our relations “and was” neither European nor good neighbor “.
“If Serbia wants to join the European Union, it certainly cannot go on with this story,” Grlic-Radman said, adding that building good neighborly relations requires resolving outstanding bilateral issues, such as the issue of persons disappeared from 1991-95 war and the status of the ethnic Croatian minority in Serbia, which does not enjoy the rights of the Serb minority in Croatia.
The latest Zagreb-Belgrade dispute erupted on March 4th when the Subotica City Council adopted a decision to change the city’s statute and began introducing Bunjevci as the official language in the northern province of Vojvodina, despite opposition from the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina. , The Croatian National Council and the Institute for the Croatian Language.
The ethnic Croat community in Serbia considers the Bunjevci idiom to be only a dialect spoken by ethnic Croats in the northern Balkan region of Serbia and not a separate language.
Croats in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina called on Serbian authorities to apply the same logic used by the Subotica City Council – the percentage of the population represented – and to introduce Croatian as a co-official language throughout Vojvodina.
The Croatian community began receiving threats afterwards, prompting Croatia’s letter of protest.