Serbian Minister of the Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic has described as scandalous his Croatian counterpart Vlaho Orepic's statement that once people who had falsely registered their residence in Vukovar were removed from registers of residents, there would no longer by any grounds for bilingual, Latin-Cyrillic signs in Vukovar.

In a statement carried by the Serbian public broadcaster RTS, Stefanovic said this was an attempt to "deny the few Serbs who have not been expelled from Croatia the right to use their language and script."

According to a report carried by the regional N1 TV network, Orepic has accused the Serb minority of manipulating residence registrations, saying that "after false registrations in Vukovar are deleted, the legal grounds for the setting up of Cyrillic signs" in that eastern city "will no longer exist".

"No one wants to say the truth, but I believe that if all false registrations of residence are removed, the Serb minority will not have the 30% (share in the local population entitling it to the equal use of its language and script). If that has been the only ground for using the Cyrillic script in Vukovar, after this, it will no longer exist. The Serb minority has manipulated residence registration," Orepic told the Vecernji List daily.

"The wish to find any reason, regardless or how false it may be and how little sense it may make, to strip Serbs in Croatia of their guaranteed human rights - the right to use their own language and script and the right to live without fear of repression by state bodies - only shows that the Croatian leadership does not understand European values," Stefanovic said in his statement.

He also resented the Croatian leadership's interpretation of the rule of law.

"They obviously also do not understand the meaning of the fight for equality and the rule of law just as they do not understand what is the best way to show that you do not support fascist regimes, which communicated with the Serb people exclusively with mallets, knives and pits," the Serbian minister said.

In the new Serbian government, which was sworn in on August 11, Stefanovic kept the post of Minister of the Interior and was appointed one of four deputy prime ministers. In the Serb Progressive Party (SNS), he is considered to be a close associate of SNS leader and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.