Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Serbia

Newsline: Serbia Lashes Out at U.S. After Diplomat’s Warning on Venezuela

Serbia rejected a warning from the U.S. over its support for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a week after Belgrade hosted a delegation from the Latin American state. U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade Kyle Scott tweeted that Serbia is “on the wrong side of history,” noting that more than 50 countries have endorsed Maduro challenger Juan Guaido. Serbia’s foreign minister responded by saying his country had “respect for international law and non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign countries.” The minister, Ivica Dacic, also criticized U.S. support for the recognition of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after fighting a war with its neighbor that was ended by a NATO-led bombing campaign against Serb troops. “As if Americans are on the right side by supporting Kosovo,” Dacic said in comments during a parliamentary meeting (https://www.yahoo.com/news/serbia-lashes-u-diplomat-apos-101226182.html). The disagreement underscores the balancing act that Serbia is performing as it tries to advance toward European Union membership while also keeping close ties with allies including Russia, China and Venezuela, which back Belgrade in its struggle to prevent Kosovo from being recognized as a sovereign state. Many countries in the EU have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader. But this week, Serbia hosted a government delegation from Venezuela, a strong signal that it’s keeping open ties with the Maduro government. Russia and China also back Maduro.

Newsline: Belgrade Court Acquits Suspects In 2008 Attack On U.S. Embassy

A Serbian court has acquitted the suspects in the 2008 arson attack on the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade. The Appeals Court of Belgrade said on January 16 that it had overturned suspended prison sentences for four suspects and confirmed an earlier acquittal of three other people by a lower court. Prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence to back the indictment, a statement said. Demonstrators tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and set part of it ablaze in February 2008 as tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the Serbian capital to protest Kosovo’s declaration of independence a few days earlier. A 20-year-old man died in the incident, which has burdened relations between Washington and Belgrade for years.


Newsline: Serbia withdraws embassy staff from Macedonia

The Serbian government has pulled its entire embassy staff from Macedonia amid claims over “offensive intelligence activities” against Belgrade, in a move that is likely to strain relations between the two Balkan neighbours. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters that the withdrawal from the Macedonian capital, Skopje, was made after intelligence reports of “very offensive acts” planned against Serbian interests in Macedonia. He did not elaborate on the specific acts, adding that “everything will be much clearer” in the next 10 days. The recall was first announced by Macedonia’s ministry of foreign affairs, which said it was “not aware of the reasons for the decision”.


Newsline: US Embassy says no need for diplomatic status for Russian center in Serbia

The U.S. embassy in Belgrade said there’s no need to grant diplomatic status to the Russian staff of the controversial facility in Serbia that some consider a spy base but that Moscow insists is a disaster relief center. An embassy statement obtained Saturday by The Associated Press said its representatives visited the Nis center, 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Belgrade, this week at the invitation of the center’s management. “U.S. representatives were briefed on the current functioning of the center, but saw nothing in the activities that were shown which would indicate a need for diplomatic status,” the statement said. “The consistent demands for inviolability for the personnel and premises of the Center only raise question regarding long-term intentions for the facility.” Russia has denied speculation they are eavesdropping on American military interests in the Balkans from the so-called “Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center,” which was formed in 2011. Moscow says the center is only for humanitarian missions.


Newsline: Serbian embassy to open in Armenia

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said at a press conference with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian that the republic was planning to open an embassy in Yerevan, Armenia Today reports. Nalbandian is on a visit to Belgrade at the invitation of Dacic.


Newsline: Serbia keeps investigating embassy torchings in Belgrade

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that he expects the first results of the task force set up to establish all circumstances of the 2008 embassy torchings in Belgrade to be presented soon, noting that all information will be made public. The task force has been established to investigate all circumstances surrounding the torchings of the embassies in the most serious manner, Stefanovic said. On July 3, minister Stefanovic set up the task force to establish all circumstances related to the torching of the US and German embassies in Belgrade in 2008. The incidents took place following a protest against Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence that was staged under the motto “Kosovo is Serbia”, involving around 600,000 people from all parts of the country. The aim of the task force is to identify all individuals involved in the incidents and clarify the circumstances of the violent acts so that the organisers and attackers responsible for the torching of the two embassies can be legally prosecuted. The trial of 12 suspects for the February 21, 2008 torching of the embassies is underway before the High Court in Belgrade. Washington has said on several occasions that the US expects the Serbian government to identify and punish the perpetrators of the incidents, in which the US embassy in Belgrade was set on fire.


Newsline: 15 embassies urge Serbia to ensure a safe Belgrade Pride

The Netherlands Ambassador to Serbia and 14 other ambassadors have called on the Serbian Government to ensure that Belgrade Pride Week events can be held safely and peacefully. Ambassador Laurent Stokvis sent a statement in support of Belgrade Pride on behalf of the Dutch embassy to Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic. Stokvis wrote that allowing Belgrade Pride to happen would build on the work Serbia had already done around LGBT rights. ‘A successful Pride week and parade would add much to the work already done to promote the rights of LGBT people,’ Stokvis wrote. The European Union will open accession talks with Serbia in January next year and has made it expects candidate countries to do more on LGBT issues. The Serbian Government has not yet anounced if it will allow the event to go ahead.