In a major change of the diplomatic guard, new ambassadors from three very important countries are settling into Belgrade this week.Carrying flags and flowers, about a hundred people gathered in front of the Russian embassy in Belgrade on Monday to say farewell to the outgoing ambassador, Aleksandr Konuzin, who thanked them in Russian for coming to see him off.
His successor, Aleksandr Cepurin, is to represent the Russian Federation in Serbia for the following five years.
Cepurin is presently head of the department for work with co-nationals abroad at the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was previously Russian ambassador to Denmark.
Apart from being an important country in its own right, Russia is a key diplomatic ally of Serbia’s in the struggle over Kosovo and an object of veneration as Serbia’s Slavic big brother on the nationalist right wing of politics.
Friday was the last working day for the outgoing ambassador of another important country, albeit one regarded with less affection by Serbian nationalists.
US ambassador Mary Warlick is leaving and her successor, Michael Kirby, is due in Belgrade on Tuesday.
Kirby was the US ambassador to Moldova from 2006 to 2008. Before, he was US consul general in South Korea and in Poland. He also served in Germany, Denmark, Tanzania and Guyana. He dealt with the Caribbean region at the start of his career.
Wolfram Mass, the outgoing German Ambassador to Belgrade, is meanwhile to be replaced by Heinz Wilhelm. He will present his credentials on Wednesday.