Archive for November 2nd, 2017

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Serbia is upsetting the locals (or at least Gov Serbia)

November 2, 2017

Over in the Balkans it appears that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Serbia is upsetting the locals – or at the very least seriously upsetting the Government of Serbia.

Apparently Ukrainian Ambassador Alexander Alexandrovich has been giving “scandalous interviews“, or a t least interviews deemed scandalous by the Serbian government.

Seemingly the Ukrainian Ambassador has had the audacity to publicly raise issues over alleged Serbian involvement in destabilising the Balkan region, drawing the following public rebuke from Ivica Tonchev, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – “The fact that the Republic of Serbia keeps a balanced, correct and consistent foreign policy, which gives serious results to the constant improvement of its reputation and position in the international community, seems to be inadequate to everyone, and encourages certain ambassadors to be extremely biased, not to say display rude behavior towards the country who showed them hospitality.”

Specifically regarding the Ukrainian Ambassador, Mr Tonchev stated – “He presented, without any substantiated evidence, a Serbian factor that destabilised Macedonia, is creating tensions with Croatia, the involvement of Serb extremists in the attempted coup in Montenegro, and he also mentioned separatism in BiH.  Of course, he did not miss the opportunity to support the already famous statement of one western diplomat of ‘sitting on two chairs’.  Happily that the interview did not last longer, as Serbia would probably be accused of provoking the Second World War, of course, in cooperation with Moscow.”

The Serbian government perception being that the Ukrainian Ambassador is implying that Serbian foreign policy is little more than an instrument of Russian foreign policy.

The Serbian government is yet further irked by the Ukrainian Ambassador continuously politicising the issue of Serbian volunteers fighting in eastern Ukraine against the authorities in Kyiv.  It is unclear quite how the Ukrainian Ambassador is supposed to ignore that issue, despite Mr Tonchev stating the officially position of Serbia is supportive of Ukrainian territorial integrity.  Perhaps Mr Tonchev would prefer any prickly comments over such matters to remain behind the diplomatic curtain within private conversation.

In a summary it appears that the Serbian government consider the actions of the Ukrainian Ambassador to Serbia nothing more than an attempt to disrupt its relations with The Kremlin.

According to Mr Tonchev the Serbian government is of the opinion that “the role of ambassadors is to improve bilateral relations, primarily political and economic, but also all other forms of cooperation, which the Ambassador of Ukraine to Serbia seems to have forgotten.”

Well perhaps that is one way to view the role of an Ambassador – it is at least part of the role of an ambassador.  Essentially however, an Ambassador is there to represent the interests of their government/nation.  Those national interests do not necessarily always facilitate the warm and fuzzy job description provided by Mr Tonchev.

Naturally the Serbian government will have made a formal demarche to Ukraine regarding the Ambassador’s public statements – which it claims are engagements outside the provisions (and presumably spirit) of the Vienna Convention.

So, is the Ukrainian Ambassador running somewhat amok with personal public commentary, or is he doing his job and representing the views of his government within the nation to which he has been sent to serve?

Clearly if his public statements, be they his own personal opinions or those he is instructed to convey, continue to irk the Serbian government it is a possibility/probability that Ambassador Alexandrovich will be made persona non grata – or perhaps Ukraine will recall him for consultations allowing waters to clam, and/or re-post him elsewhere and replace him to avoid such a significant Serbian diplomatic step.

Then again, perhaps Ukraine won’t – at which point a reader will ponder the risks and rewards of diplomatically falling out with Serbia – if not the risks and rewards now, then those of the near future.

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