Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said on Friday evening Croatia refused to receive Serbia's protest note Serbia over the burning of the Serbian flag in Knin earlier that day during the marking of the 21st anniversary of Operation Storm, saying that "the inflation of notes creates disorder."
The Serbian Foreign Ministry forwarded a protest note to Croatia on Friday over the burning of the Serbian flag in Knin, saying that it "considers this act of vandalism as an undignified and uncivilised gesture which deserves the harshest condemnation and punishment of the perpetrators."
This was the fifth note Serbia sent Croatia over the past ten days, accusing Croatia of rehabilitating the Ustasha movement and glorifying convicted terrorists, and over Croatian courts' decisions "against the Serb people."
Croatian police said they arrested two men for setting the flag on fire.
Kovac said the ministry was informed of the note sent via fax, but that it refused to officially receive it because "the inflation of notes creates disorder."
"This is obviously Serbia's strategy aimed at creating an impression that Croatia has no credibility when it comes to the rule of law. We are a credible country and let Serbia show how credible they are," Kovac told reporters in Knin.
"Serbia should not divert attention from its obligation, it should meet its obligation in the judiciary, in the context of EU membership and it should focus on itself and leave us alone," the minister said.
According to him, Croatia had shown that it is a law-based state and "Serbia should focus on itself and cooperate with the Hague tribunal."
Commenting on criticism from his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic over the speech Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic gave at the celebration of Operation Storm in Knin, Kovac called on Serbia "not to deal with the president's speech which was excellent."
Dacic described as "sheer impudence" Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic's statement that Operation Storm had been "ethically clean" and that it had "relieved (Serbs) of the heavy centuries-long burden of Greater Serbia projects."
Dacic said such a statement showed that "for Croatia it's ethically clean to kill thousands of Serbs and expel more than 220,000."