Diplomatic row between Croatia and Serbia

The travel plans of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić have sparked a controversy between Belgrade and Zagreb. Vučić intended to make an unannounced and 'private' visit to the memorial site of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia. Zagreb pointed to a breach of protocol, saying that no head of state is allowed to make a private visit unannounced. Serbian politicians are up in arms.

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Danas (RS) /

No honourable motives

Vučić probably wanted to divert attention from domestic problems with this move, according to Danas:

“People don't make a big song and dance about going to funerals and cemeteries. They go there to mourn the deceased. Unfortunately, this honourable custom has withered away in recent decades and become the butt of jokes. ... Apart from diplomacy and protocol, this is about something else entirely: there are too many problems in Serbia created by those in power. And the bills will have to be paid soon! The marketing gurus know how to keep people entertained: let's get them talking about Jasenovac now.”

Večernji list (HR) /

What was Vučić expecting?

The Serbian president should not be surprised about the Croatian reaction, writes Večernji list:

“Firstly, it should be obvious to him that a plan like this will be seen as a provocation in our country, aimed at causing chaos in Jasenovac. Even if that was not his intention, it is hard to imagine that it wouldn't cause an incident, particularly if there is no protocol in place. Because the hands of the Serbian president are dirty - for more than 30 years the Croatian public has been waiting for the truth about those who disappeared during the war in Yugoslavia, waiting for their bones, praying for the return of their sons, daughters, fathers. Vučić could give them answers and offer them peace, but he is not doing so. So why is he surprised after all that has happened?”