Diplomatic incident between Albania and Serbia

Diplomatic incident between Albania and Serbia

Tirana, 9 October 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

A diplomatic incident which will bear consequences for the months to come, has occurred between Albania and Serbia.

Belgrade claims that before the football match between Serbia and Albania, for the France 2016 Euro qualifiers, several incidents have taken place.

The case in question refers to the fact that the bus on which the Serb team was travelling, was attacked with stones, on the way from the Tirana airport to the hotel where the team was going to be accommodated. The incident caused a small damage to the bus and the suspected teenager was later caught.

Based on these incidents, Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a protest note to the Albanian embassy to Belgrade. Ambassador Ilir Bocka was asked to receive this note of protest, but he refused to accept it.

This act caused a strong reaction by the Serb government. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic declared the Albanian ambassador to Serbia a non grata person for six months.

Vucic declared that during the next six months, there will be no diplomatic contacts with the Albanian ambassador, Ilir Bocka, because the Albanian embassy refused to accept the note of protest of the Serb Foreign Ministry.


“In the next six months, he will not be able to meet with me or any other official. Such non diplomatic behavior cannot be understood”, was the stance of the Serb PM during the joint press conference with the British Foreign Secretary.

For the Serb Prime Minister, the attack on the bus was not the only incident that led to the unprecedented decision against the Albanian ambassador. According to him, there were also other problems which have obliged the Serb government to deliver the note of protest.

“It was not just one stone, but there were also other acts which were against the spirit of sport”, Vucic said.

Bocka’s reaction

The Albanian ambassador to Belgrade, Ilir Bocka, explains the reasons, why according to him, he hasn’t accepted the note of protest, an action which led to the Serb government to penalize him and to suspend diplomatic relations with him for six months.


Bocka says that he considered the incident with the Serb national team bus as insignificant. For Mr. Bocka, if this protest note was accepted by the Albanian side, then every effort that the Albanian authorities had made for everything to go well, would be wasted. “This is a known diplomatic tactic, which expresses the discontent of the Serb authorities against my positioning. However, I believe that this doesn’t affect relations.  According to us, there was no reason to accept a note of protest which related to a stone that was thrown and to put a question mark to all the efforts of the Albanian authorities to take the necessary security measures for this activity. It was something exaggerated and this was the reason why I didn’t accept the note”, the Albanian ambassador said.

As far as this diplomatic incident is concerned, the spokesman of the Albanian Foreign Ministry, Glevin Dervishi, told IBNA that this ministry “is disappointed by the actions of the Serb authorities, as they undermine the good will of the Albanian authorities to guarantee the necessary safety measures for the football match and to separate sport from politics”.


“The arbitrary reading of diplomatic immunities and privileges, go beyond the accepted rules of international law and remind us of past practices”, Dervishi says. /ibna/