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Archive for Serbia

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.


Newsline: US embassy officials in Serbia threatened over visa dispute

A McHenry man is accused of threatening to kill State Department officials, including the U.S. Ambassador in Serbia, as well as Serbians in Chicago because of a visa dispute involving his wife in Serbia. Russell K. Gordon, 48, was born in the United States but lived for several years in Serbia, where he met a woman who had a child with a Serbian national. Last September, the courts in Serbia awarded custody of the child to the biological father. In February, Gordon sent threatening text messages to a U.S. Embassy consular assistant in Belgrade, Serbia, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. On April 15, and again on May 12, the FBI in Chicago received emails from Gordon that were also threatening, the office said. Last Friday, Gordon’s wife went to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade to request a visa for entry into the United States and told embassy officials that Gordon had detailed plans to shoot Serbian citizens in Chicago, including diplomats, at places he believed Serbians routinely congregated, the office said. On Saturday, Gordon’s wife told the consulate chief at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade that Gordon was enraged upon learning that his wife would receive only a two-week guest visa and that he was going to kill the U.S. ambassador, his wife, their two daughters and another State Department employee, according to the criminal complaint. Gordon was arrested by federal agents at his home.


Newsline: Serbian diplomat passes away in Turkey, body sent home

A funeral ceremony was held at the capital’s Esenboğa Airport yesterday for the Serbian Embassy’s Minister Counselor Milorad Sekulic, 58, who lost his life on Dec. 31. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu attended the ceremony after which Sekulic’s body was sent to Belgrade on board a plane provided by the Turkish General Staff. Sekulic lost his life on Dec. 31 following a short illness, the Serbian Embassy said in a brief statement. A ceremony for Sekulic will be held today in Belgrade at the Serbian Foreign Ministry, while a book of condolences will be available at the Serbian Embassy in Ankara today and Jan. 4.