The ministry in Belgrade declared the first secretary of the Croatian embassy, Hrvoj Šnajder, persona non grata because he “grossly stepped outside the framework of diplomatic norms”, without giving further details.
“We completely reject the grounds for expelling the accredited Croatian diplomat. The aforementioned decision of the Republic of Serbia represents a step towards the deterioration of mutual relations, as well as further destabilization of sensitive regional political and security situations at a time when stability in the south-east of Europe is of extreme importance for the entire continent.“, it was stated in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) of Croatia.
It is emphasized that this step represents “additional pressure on the employees of the Croatian embassy in Belgrade, which is especially manifested during the pre-election period in the Republic of Serbia”.
“In this regard, we express our regret that the anticipated escalation of relations by the Republic of Serbia at this time was realized with a drastic decision to expel the diplomat“, MVEP adds in the announcement.
The Ministry of the Interior of Serbia explained its decision to expel the Croatian diplomat by referring to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, without specifying any additional details.
According to Article 9 of the Vienna Convention, the state in which the diplomat is accredited “may at any time and without the obligation to explain its decision” inform the state that accredited that “the head of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the mission’s staff is not acceptable “.
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in Zagreb said that it reserves the right to respond to this move “at the time and in the way it chooses”.