The Serbian foreign ministry said that the first secretary of the Croatian Embassy was proclaimed persona non grata for “gross stepping outside the framework of diplomatic norms” during his service.
Media close to the populist Serbian government said that the diplomat, identified as Hrvoje Snajder, is accused of “spying activities” and “recruiting” of people for work for Croatian secret services.
The Croatian foreign ministry rejected the grounds for the diplomat’s expulsion and said that it is “a step toward the deterioration of mutual relations” at the time “when the stability of southeastern Europe is of exceptional importance for the whole of Europe.”
The Croatian ministry said that it reserves the right to respond to the expulsion “at the time and the way it chooses.”
Tensions between the two Balkan neighbors have off and on been tense since the Balkan wars in the 1990s when the Serbian-led troops intervened in Croatia in a land grab operation that ended in a defeat of Belgrade and the expulsion of tens of thousands of ethnic Serbs who lived there.
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