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Tensions escalate after Montenegro declares Serbian ambassador 'non grata', comes 'flame for flame' reaction from Serbia
Written by SOT.COM.AL 29 Nëntor 2020
Montenegro and Serbia expel each other's ambassadors
The outgoing Montenegrin government has declared the Serbian ambassador a non grata and asked him to leave the country, the Foreign Ministry announced on November 28th.
Serbia responded a few hours later by declaring the Montenegrin ambassador an undesirable person and expelling him from the state.
The Montenegrin Foreign Ministry cited "continued interference in Montenegro's internal affairs" as the reason for the decision.
A Foreign Ministry statement said Serbian Ambassador Vladimir Bozovic had "shown direct disrespect" for Montenegro, describing the 1918 decision to join the then-Serbian-dominated Kingdom as an act of "liberation" and "Free will" by Montenegrins.
The Montenegrin parliament has declared the decision invalid in 2018, saying it has stripped Montenegro of its sovereignty.
The statement said Bozovic's comments on November 27 were "inconsistent with the standards of the diplomatic office".
The Serbian Foreign Ministry has announced a reciprocal response.
"Due to the announcement of the Serbian ambassador to Montenegro, Vladimir Bozovic, as an unwanted person, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acted reciprocally," the ministry said in a statement.
State media reported that Montenegrin Ambassador Tarzan Milosevic was asked to leave Serbia within 72 hours.
Montenegro continues to be deeply divided among people seeking ties to its traditional allies, Serbia and Russia, as well as those who see Montenegro as an independent, Western-linked state.
Montenegro and Serbia were part of a joint state until before the 2006 independence referendum, which resulted in the secession of Montenegro from Serbia.
The country will now be led by a pro-Serb coalition, expected to be voted on during next week's parliamentary session.
The most powerful coalition party is the Democratic Front.
The change it could cost Montenegro
However, its partners insist that Montenegro continue on the pro-Western path.
This change has left the Democratic Party of Socialists led by President Milo Djukanovic out of power for the first time in almost 30 years.
His party, which was defeated in August, led the country towards independence from Serbia and NATO in 2017./REL/