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news 19 Mar 13

Serbia Opposition Slams Embassy Shake-up

Serbia is recalling scores of diplomats in a spring embassy clean-out, which the opposition describes as politically inspired.

BIRN
Belgrade

More than half of 65 Serbia's embassies will undergo personnel changes by March 31, Balkan Insight has learned from the Foreign Ministry.

All diplomats in their last, fourth year of office, or who are not seen as up to the task, will be recalled, a Ministry source said.

Last November, the Foreign Ministry announced that it was recalling more than 30 heads of diplomatic and consular missions.

These include "those whose mandates expire in 2013 and several others who have fallen short of the mark," the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry website indicates that some 18 Serbian embassies are still awaiting ambassadors, including key addresses such as Brussels, NATO and the Council of Europe.

President Tomislav Nikolic has already dismissed more than 20 ambassadors in the past eight months.

The opposition Democratic Party has dubbed the changes a politicaly inspired purge. The recall of diplomats was aimed at removing all those appointed under the Democrats, it said.

A new government comprising the Progressive Party, the Socialists and the United Regions of Serbia took power following general elections on May 6, 2012.

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