Croatia’s President Zoran Milanović said that he would recall Croatian Ambassador to Belgrade, Hidajet Biščević after the ethnic Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov criticised the diplomat for working against the Croats in Serbia.
But, his wish opposed by FM Gordan Grlić Radman and it is now obvious that Croatia will have another problem in political life.
The problem emerged when media outlets have reported that Ambassador Biščević did not react to the developments in which ethnic Croats received death threats and that he also failed to even make phone calls to those members who received threats to express support and sympathy with them.
Žigmanov, who is the leader of the Democratic party of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), recently stated that the Croatian ambassador had made a “tepid reaction” to attempts by Serbian authorities in Subotica to introduce the Bunjevci vernacular as an official language in that city. Bunjevci are an autochthonous Croatian community in Serbian northern province Vojvodina. He added that the ambassador communicated with people whom Žigmanov described as persons “who are actively working on the destabilisation and dissolution of the (ethnic Croat) community.”
All that prompted President Milanović to say that he did not know whose policy Biščević “is pursuing there.”
“I cannot know whether all those headlines are true and I will summon him back to Zagreb for consultations,” Milanović said in his address to the press.
Reacting to the Milanović statements, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said that Croatian Ambassador Hidajet Biščević enjoys support from the Croatian government.
He says that exclusively Croatian institutions are in charge of assessing the performance of Croatian diplomats.
The minister said that the status of the Croatian community in Serbia is one of Biščević’s priorities.
“Media speculations and such statements in media about Croatia’s diplomats are not the best way of communication. Croatia’s diplomacy does not deserve that and furthermore, this could also be an indirect attempt from outside to impact the political relations in Croatia,” said the minister who will travel to Subotica on Wednesday.
He also said that it was also inappropriate to disseminate reports against Biščević after the recent incident in which the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador in Belgrade.
Minister Grlić Radman also rejected Milanović’s claims that it was him who appointed Biščević to an ambassadorial post saying that he had been employed for diplomatic tasks for the first time in 1991 by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and since then he has been an official in the foreign ministry.