By Oisin Sweeney • 29 November 2020 • 7:05
TENSIONS have flared in the Balkans as Serbia and Montenegro expel each others’ ambassadors over a historical dispute stretching back to World War One.
Serbia’s ambassador to Montenegro was given 72 hours to leave the country when he described the decision made by the small Adriatic state in 1918 to unify with Serbia as a ‘liberation’. This sparked anger in an already volatile corner of Europe, with the country’s foreign ministry describing the comments as interfering in Montenegro’s affairs’.
Ambassador Vladimir Bozovic made his comments at a meeting of a Montenegrin Serbs association, where he described the 1918 decision for the state to joining the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes as a ‘free expression of people’s will to unite with fraternal Serbia’. The union of Balkan states, which later became Yugoslavia, collapsed into a brutal civil war in the early 1990s and tensions have remained high in some regions. In 2006 Montenegro became an independent state for the first time since World War One.
Montenegro said Bozovic’s comments ‘belittled the state which gave him diplomatic immunity’. In August a coalition of pro-Serb parties narrowly won the country’s election, and are expected to form a government next week. In retaliation to the expulsion of Bozovic, Serbia decided to expel Montenegro’s ambassador to Belgrade Tarzan Milosevic.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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