Serbian President Boris Tadic slammed the most recent statement by Croatia’s outgoing president Stjepan Mesic, accusing his Croatian counterpart of warmongering and threatening the stability of the region.
During an informal meeting with journalists on Tuesday, Mesic said he would intervene militarily if Milorad Dodik, Republika Srpska’s prime minister, made a move to secede from Bosnia.
“If Milorad Dodik scheduled a referendum for secession of Republika Srpska from Bosnia and if I were the president… I would send the army,” said the president, who will step down in February.
Tadic responded by saying that “such pronouncements are threatening the security of all people and nations that live in the region”. He said he will bring the issue up at a UN Security Council session in New York.
His statement is the latest in a series that show a visible deterioration in relations between Serbia and Croatia. Earlier this week, Tadic said he will not attend the inauguration of Croatia’s new president Ivo Josipovic, siting the attendence of his Kosovo counterpart as the reason.
The two countries have not yet settled a number of open issues related to the conflicts of the 1990s, including missing Croat combatants allegedly held captive in Serbia during the war, the extradition to Croatia of persons suspected of war crimes in Croatia, and the return of Serbian refugees to Croatia.
Serbia is also resentful of Mesic’s recent official visit to Kosovo.
After years of waiting for Croatia to withdraw its genocide suit against Serbia, Serbia on 4 January filed a countersuit. Relations deteriorated also after Mesic on 7 January cut one year off the jail sentence of a convicted war criminal.
Tadic will address the UN Security Council on 22 January.