Miro Kovac.jpg
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

The Croatian Foreign Ministry said on Friday it had forwarded a note to Serbia rejecting its attempt to meddle in Croatia's internal matters.

The ministry called on Serbia's highest state officials not to use, in communication with representatives of Croatian state authorities, "the language of the failed Yugoslav communist system and the aggressive Greater Serbia policy from the 1990s which was militarily and morally defeated."

It also called on them to communicate with representatives of Croatian state authorities in the spirit of the fundamental European values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and respect for human rights, including those of ethnic minorities.

Serbia's highest state officials can show and prove their genuine commitment to the application of the fundamental European values and to Serbia's officially proclaimed goal to join the European family by complying with the commitments undertaken in the EU accession negotiations, notably regarding the judiciary and fundamental rights, which requires Serbia, among other things, to conduct meaningful regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in dealing with war crimes by avoiding a conflict of jurisdiction, the ministry said.

In the spirit of good neighbourly cooperation, Croatia expects Serbia to start dealing with outstanding issues in that regard as soon as possible, the ministry added.

On Monday, the ministry sent Serbia a protest note over "unacceptable statements" by Serbian officials about the annulment of a verdict against Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac. On Tuesday, Croatia's ambassador to Belgrade, Gordan Markotic, was handed a protest note by the Serbian Foreign Ministry strongly protesting over the annulment by a Croatian court of a 1946 conviction of Zagreb Archbishop Stepinac, which Serbia sees as a rehabilitation of fascism and the Ustasha-ruled 1941-45 Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

On Thursday, Belgrade news agencies reported that the Serbian Foreign Ministry sent Croatia a protest note over a Supreme Court decision quashing a verdict against Branimir Glavas for war crimes against Serbs in the early 1990s. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said this indicated "Croatia's clear policy not only to rehabilitate the fascist, Ustasha NDH, but also criminals from the last war."

"The message of that shameful act is that it is allowed and normal to commit crimes against Serbs with impunity whereby, aside from the constant hate speech, it's open season on Serbs. Such a policy by Croatia has led to an increase in incidents and violence against Serbs from Croatia and Serbian citizens," the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a press release carried by Beta news agency on Thursday.

The Tanjug agency said today that the Serbian ambassador in Zagreb, Mira Nikolic, refused to accept Croatia's protest note because of its "offensive content regarding Serbia."

According to Tanjug, Dacic said on Thursday that Serbia sent a note to Croatia after the news on the quashing of the Glavas verdict and "what happened in Srb (Croatia) and over numerous other incidents in Croatia lately."

Latest news

At least 20 injured in Serbian ammunition factory blast

At least 20 persons were injured in an explosion at the ammunition factory in the central Serbian city of Kragujevac on Tuesday, public broadcaster RTS said in the afternoon.

Germany calls in Turkish ambassador over detained reporter

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called the Turkish ambassador into the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on Tuesday for talks over German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who was remanded in custody in Turkey.

Ukrainian minister wants to remove blockade of rebel-held east

Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Tuesday that he has requested permission for the police force to disband an activist-enforced blockade of the country's rebel-held east.

Israeli police nearly finished evicting West Bank settlement

Israeli police were nearly finished evicting an Israeli settlement in the West Bank slated for demolition on Tuesday as they pulled dozens of protesters from the last of nine houses.

Serbia to hold presidential election on April 2 - media

Serbia will hold a presidential election on April 2, and the vote will be formally called by Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic on March 2, media in Belgrade said on Tuesday.

India to remain fastest growing economy despite demonetization

India's economic growth fell to 7 per cent in the quarter ending December, taking a hit from the government's recent demonetization move, but the country remains the world's fastest growing major economy.

Investigating judge lifts precautionary measures on ex-Dinamo boss

A Zagreb County Court investigating judge on Tuesday lifted the precautionary measures that had led to the pre-trial detention of former Dinamo Zagreb Football Club manager Zdravko Mamic and if the decision becomes final, Mamic will also be paid back 14 million kuna (2 million euro) bail.

Erdogan lashes out at newspaper over report on military unrest

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday slammed Hurriyet newspaper over a report saying that military top brass was "restless" over criticisms against its leadership.

Serb ministers end boycott of Bosnian government

Serb ministers in the Bosnian Council of Ministers on Tuesday attended a session of the body, ending a boycott they began last week because of a request to revise an International Court of Justice ruling Serbia of genocide.

As Europe hardens its line on migration, children bear the brunt

The number of children arriving on their own in Europe doubled in 2016, and is set to increase this year. But the response by governments has not matched the need, pushing some into criminality and prostitution.

China considers subsidies for second child

The Chinese government is mulling paying parents to have a second baby, a year after it did away with its controversial one-child policy, state media reported Tuesday.

Business group urges Britain to delay Brexit if negotiations stall

The British government should push to extend Brexit negotiations if it is unable to agree a deal on leaving the European Union within two years, a business group said on Tuesday.

At least 1,500 child soldiers ensnared in Yemen war, UN says

Some 1,500 boys have been verified as child soldiers in Yemen, but the actual number of children who have been drawn into the war is probably far higher, a UN spokeswoman said Tuesday.

President says Croatia tolerant, marginal groups shouldn't be given attention

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Tuesday condemned the frequent incidents motivated by hate and intolerance and said marginal movements and isolated cases should not be given too much attention.

Austria identifies US-based Turk as source of cyberattacks

A string of cyberattacks against Austrian institutions has been linked to a Turkish suspect operating out of the US state of Kentucky, an Austrian newspaper reported Tuesday, citing an investigation by the army's intelligence agency.

Italy restores, returns IS-vandalized busts to Syria

Two ancient Roman busts, which were transported to Italy after being vandalized by the Islamic State extremist group in the Syrian city of Palmyra, have been restored and returned to Damascus, the Italian ministry of culture said Tuesday.

Norwegian state pension fund almost doubles return in 2016

The Norwegian state pension fund reported a return of almost 7 per cent in 2016 on the back of strong stock markets in the second half of the year, the Scandinavian country's central bank said Tuesday.

Croatian PM says sports needs to be given back to athletes

Commenting on an ultimatum the Bridge party made on Monday when it asked for a replacement of the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) leadership, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday that "sports needs to be given back to athletes."