Croatia Protests Against Serbia Servicemen's Attempt to Enter Croatia

By 10 September 2019

ZAGREB, September 10, 2019 - Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Monday summoned Serbia's ambassador to convey protest at an attempt by Serbian servicemen to enter Croatia in an illegal manner and without an official notification, while the ambassador Mira Nikolić rejected the protest note.

Serbia's ambassador Nikolić was summoned to the Croatian Foreign Ministry today after in the early hours of 7 September a van carrying 11 Serbian military personnel, who had army uniforms in the vehicle, was stopped at the Bajakovo border crossing. The Serbian servicemen tried to enter Croatia without notifying Croatia's authorities and therefore the Serbian army delegation was denied entry into the country.

During today's meeting, the Croatian side informed Serbia's ambassador that it condemned this attempted illegal crossing into Croatia without any notification and without being given a consent from Croatia.

Although the Serbian diplomat refused to take in the protest note, the ministry informed her that the event at the Bajakovo border crossing was an act of provocation with an aim of causing incidents.

The ministry also expresses strong condemnation of the fact that Serbia's official institutions were involved in the incident, the Croatian ministry says in a press release.

It criticises responses made by the Serbian leadership after the incident, branding their conduct as inappropriate and a part of the ongoing pattern of public discourse in Serbia directed against Croatia, a neighbouring country that is a member of NATO and the European Union.

"This is yet another evidence of Serbia's inability to deal with its past and its responsibility for the wars in the 1990s," the Croatian ministry underscores.

On Saturday afternoon Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that a group of Serbian army personnel had attempted to enter Croatia at the Bajakovo border crossing unannounced and in violation of international law, with the aim of causing an incident, but were prevented by the Croatian border police.

He said that an unannounced entry of members of a foreign army into the territory of another state was against international law. "This is unacceptable to the Croatian state and we strongly condemned this act," the prime minister said.

Serbia's attempts to provoke incidents with its neighbours in order to divert attention from the difficult situation at home again show how retrograde and irresponsible its policy is, the Croatian President's Office said in a statement on Saturday evening.

More news about relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.