Diplomatic scandal: Croatian delegation cuts visit to Serbia short because of Seselj

The Croatian parliamentary delegation has visited Serbia were they met with their Serbian counterparts and the Serbian Parliament Speaker, Maja Gojkovic.

“Croatia is intent on continuing the EU enlargement process and moving Serbia along the European accession path”, the Croatian Parliament Speaker, Gordan Jandrokovic said, adding that Croatia was ready to help Serbia along that path.

At a joint press conference with Maja Gojkovic, Jandrokovic also in the Serbian Parliament that the meeting was also about the measures to protect the Serbian national minority in Croatia and the Croatian national minorities in Serbia.

“It is important for us to implement the Minority Protection Agreement, guaranteeing the participation of the Croatian minority in the authorities in Serbia. We hope that, in the future, the Croatian national minority will have one representative in the National Parliament and will be represented in other bodies, “he said.

Jandrokovic underlined that he was honored for visiting the Serbian Parliament and that parliamentary cooperation would improve the relations between the two countries.

He thanked the Parliament Speaker, Maja Gojkovic for the invitation and pointed out that he was the first Speaker of the Croatian Parliament who came to visit Serbia.

The Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic added that the visit of the President of the Croatian Parliament Speaker, Gordan Jandroković to the Serbian Parliament had a historical importance, because so far, no senior officials from the parliaments of the two countries came on an official visit.

 She said that the two sides wanted to improve relations and encourage their development at other governmental levels, which were initiated during the February visit of the Serbian President, Aleksandar to Croatia at the invitation of the Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

However, the visit of the Croatian parliamentary delegation was cut short when the leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS), Vojislav Seselj trod on a Croatian flag in front of the Parliament. “At the entrance of the (Serbian) parliament, Seselj desecrated the Croatian flag and then, passing by members of the Croatian delegation, insulted them,” read a statement by the delegation led by parliamentary speaker Gordan Jandrokovic.

Security guards unsuccessfully tried to take away the flag. The Croatian delegates led by Gordan Jandrokovic looked on. Another SRS deputy joined Seselj in the incident.

According to a statement from Seselj’s Serbian Radical Party (SRS), he threw the flag on the floor and stepped over it.

In Belgrade, the incident was “strongly” condemned by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and parliamentary speaker Maja Gojkovic and other senior Serbian officials.

“An attempt to tear a Croatian or anybody else’s flag … and insulting members of official delegations visiting our country is not a behavior that represents Serbia, values of Serbian government and majority of our citizens,” Brnabic wrote on her Twitter account.

The Croatian government announced on its Twitter account that the entire delegation returned to Croatia, while the Zagreb media reported about the statement given by Gordan Jandrokovic’s cabinet. of President Sabrino Jandrokovic.

“The delegation of the Croatian Parliament, led by the Speaker, Gordan Jandrokovic, has decided to end the official visit to the Republic of Serbia following an incident that was caused by the president of the Serbian Radical Party and a member of the Serbian National Parliament, Vojislav Seselj desecrated the Croatian flag”, the statement read.

“Despite the very good start of the official visit and our determination to make do our best on improving relations between the two countries, because this act has severely damaged the dignity of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Parliament, we have decided to terminate the visit”, the statement added.

(Vecernje Novosti, N1, B92, 19.04.2018)




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