World Bulletin / News Desk
Croatia's president said on Wednesday he would not attend the inauguration of his new Serbian counterpart next week in the first sign of regional fallout from the election of nationalist Tomislav Nikolic.
Last month's surprise election of Nikolic, long depicted in the West as the ideological heir to late Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic, sent a chill through a region still coming to terms with the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia, in which over 125,000 people died.
The European Union, which Nikolic says he wants Serbia to join, made clear he was on probation. Brussels hopes a coalition government currently being negotiated - with liberal leader Boris Tadic possibly in the more powerful post of prime minister - will be able to keep Nikolic in check.
Nikolic immediately stirred controversy by denying that the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was genocide and by saying the Croatian border town of Vukovar "was a Serb town".
"Our relations with Serbia have been improving in recent years and I want this trend to continue," Croatian President Ivo Josipovic told reporters. "Unfortunately, for reasons I have already explained, I cannot go to the inauguration, but I want this trend to continue," he said.
Josipovic had earlier told Reuters he would only go to Monday's ceremony in Belgrade if Nikolic renounced his past ultranationalist rhetoric.
Vukovar was reduced to rubble during a three-month siege by Serb militia and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army at the start of Croatia's war of independence in 1991.
The Croatian leader, whose country joins the EU next year, told the Anatolia news agency: "Unfortunately, the views he held before, and which he repeated in his first comments, from Vukovar being a Serb town to Srebrenica not being genocide, are far from reflecting European values."
The Muslim chairman of Bosnia's rotating presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, was also expected to stay away from the inauguration. An official in Izetbegovic's cabinet said he had not yet received an invitation but had other engagements on Monday anyway.
Izetbegovic had hit out at Nikolic for a television interview last week in which he said the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War Two, did not constitute genocide, despite rulings by the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal for the ex-Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice that it did.
The EU, which is weighing up whether to open membership talks with Serbia, condemned the remark and the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it was deplorable.
"President Nikolic has an opportunity to set a constructive tone within the region, but such unfounded statements about Srebrenica and other war crimes are counter-productive to promoting stability and reconciliation in the region," it said.
A former cemetery manager nicknamed "Gravedigger," Nikolic was propelled to victory by Serb frustration over economic stagnation, high unemployment and the perceived cronyism of Tadic's Democratic Party.
One month since an inconclusive May 6 parliamentary election, Tadic said on Wednesday he was days away from securing a majority in the 250-seat parliament.
Parties have until September to produce a deal or hold new polls.
Source close to Hamas says no longer accepts Egypt as Israel mediator
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that the country faces a long, hard battle against militancy, days after one of the bloodiest attacks on security forces in years.
Historic handwritten documents and archived texts burned as firefighters battled to save the library. 10 million books were saved.
Podemos was formed just a year ago by university professor Pablo Iglesias, but produced a major shock by winning five seats in elections for the European Parliament in May.
Hadi made his statement during a meeting with general secretaries of several Yemeni political parties.
The shelling created panic among residents with many presuming that Boko Haram was making attempts to storm into the city.
The passports of the 72 nationals were revoked after Bahrain's cabinet had approved the move to protect Bahrain's security and stability and fight "terrorist threats."
Last year "a degree of cooperation" allowed aid to enter after several months of being blocked, but access has again vanished with a deterioration of security
On Friday, the AU Peace and Security Council approved the deployment of 7,500 troops to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram
Gaps in on the ground intelligence could cut off key resoures of information for drone-missile attacks.
A roadside bomb went off near an army patrol in the city of al-Baydaa,
A young boy in need of urgent medical treatment died when Egypt and Israel refused to open the border gates.
Kim Jong-un appears to accuse US of trying to undermine regime
Muslims concerned that community outreach programmes are used as a cover to gather intelligence.
Ahmed Megahed, director of the General Egyptian Book Organisation, confirmed that Dar El-Shorouk withdrew the books from its wing.