Several regional leaders refuse to attend the inauguration of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic due to his controversial past and recent inflammatory comments.
Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk and the Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, have joined Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in his refusal to attend the inauguration of Tomislav Nikolic today in Belgrade.
Croatian media carried unofficial reports from Josipovic's office that the Croatian president intends to ignore Nikolic completely.
Josipovic has already cancelled an agreed trip to Belgrade in June, where he was to participate in the annual meeting of the Southeast Europe Cooperation Program, SEECP.
Izetbegovic informed Al Jazeera that Nikolic personally called him last week to invite him to the ceremony, but he declined citing the necessity to see if Nikolic to change his rhetoric on politically sensitive issues.
Nikolic caused controversy with his statements denying genocide in Srebrenica and calling the Croatian city of Vukovar ‘a Serbian city’ where displaced Croats should not return.
The only leaders from the region attending will be Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska and Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic.
For those who will attend the inauguration ceremony, President Nikolic has in store a special treat. He ordered a special rakija (Serbian traditional brandy) to be brought from his home village.
Jasmina Mitrovic Maric, the chief of protocol, said that all the best of domestic products will be on the menu for the inauguration ceremony.
"The presidential office will serve all of the most delicious things that Serbia has to offer," Mitrovic Maric said.
The inauguration ceremony will take place at 1700 local time.