On Monday, November 20, 2023, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the expulsion of Hrvoje Šnajder, the first secretary in the Croatian embassy in Belgrade. The decision was made in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. According to Večernje Novosti, evidence of espionage and recruitment for work with Croatian intelligence services led to Šnajder’s designation as persona non grata.
The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not provided any further details about the reasons behind Šnajder’s expulsion. However, Večernje Novosti reported that documents confirming his involvement in espionage and intelligence work were found in his office at the embassy. This led to a decision to expel him from Serbia without any explanation or justification.
The Croatian government expressed regret over the expulsion of their diplomat from Serbia, stating that it represents a significant step towards deteriorating mutual relations and destabilizing sensitive regional political and security conditions in Southeast Europe. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs emphasized that this decision puts additional pressure on Croatian embassy staff during pre-election period in Serbia.
In response to Serbia’s decision, MVEP stated that they reserve the right to respond “in time and manner they choose.” This situation has led to strained relations between Croatia and Serbia.